Monday, March 30, 2009

HuffPo Funds Investigative Reporting -- Including Video

Arianna Huffington announced today that she's launching a new venture -- The Huffington Post Investigative Fund.

This nonprofit Fund will produce a wide-range of investigative journalism created by both staff reporters and freelance writers. As the newspaper industry continues to contract, one of the most commonly voiced fears is that investigative journalism will be among the victims of the scaleback. And, indeed, many newspapers are drastically reducing their investigative teams. Yet, given the multiple crises we are living through, investigative journalism is all the more important. As a result, all who recognize the indispensable role good journalism plays in our democracy are looking for ways to preserve it during this transitional period for the media. For too long, whether it's coverage of the war in Iraq or the economic meltdown, we've had too many autopsies and not enough biopsies. The HuffFund is our attempt to change this.
American News Project's Nick Penniman will be executive director of the new entity. The Web site is collaborating with philanthropic donors to generate an initial budget of $1.75 million. That will pay 10 staff journalists and freelancer contributors. (The current HuffPo news/opinion blog has seven staff reporters.) "It will also provide new opportunities for seasoned journalists who have been laid off or forced into early retirement," Huffington said. First assignment: the economy.

Work that the journalists produce will be available for any publication or Web site to use at the same time it is posted on The Huffington Post, she added. The Huffington Post leans liberal, but she pledged that the work done by the investigative fund would be nonpartisan.

The best news, from our perspective: "The pieces developed by the Fund will be presented in a variety of media, including text, audio and video."

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