May 11, 2010

New nonprofits are breaking investigations, but are they sustainable?

A new report in Columbia Journalism Review explores the operations of nonprofit investigative newsrooms, including the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism.

While “The New Investigators” are producing high-quality investigative journalism and are developing new models for collaboration, doubts remain about their economic viability.

“The overwhelming question faced by each organization is how to build multiple, stable sources of funding while maintaining journalistic integrity,” according to the report by Jill Drew, a fellow at CJR and a former associate editor at The Washington Post. “It’s way too soon to know what those answers will be, except to say that there likely will not be a one-size-fits-all solution.”

Included is a chart summarizing key facts about nonprofit investigative centers, whose annual budgets range from $10 million to $160,000.