The boards of the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting and the Bay Area News Project voted today to merge their organizations. The merger, if approved by the state attorney general, will create "the nation’s largest nonprofit organization focused on investigative and accountability reporting and one of the largest data and technology teams in journalism," the entity says in a release. Phil Bronstein, former editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, is executive board chairman. Robert Rosenthal, executive director of CIR, posts at his blog:
Our merger with The Bay Citizen announced today puts us in a unique position as journalists, innovators, technologists and, yes, entrepreneurs. I worked in newspapers for decades, starting as a copy boy and ending up as the top editor. No one ever strung those four words together to describe what we were as an organization.
But to survive, thrive and evolve, the journalism, the innovation, the technology and the entrepreneurial vision all have to be intertwined in the new model.
One issue with California Watch is its DNA is Bay Area-centric, while most Californians live down here and its reporting mandate is statewide. Be interesting to see how this affects that, if at all. Some of the merger inpetus can be traced to the death in December of Warren Hellman, the Bay Area philanthropist who helped fund media innovation up there.