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CIR facts

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Founded in 1977, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) is the nation's oldest nonprofit investigative news organization. CIR’s mission is to produce and distribute multimedia reports on important topics that are critical to people's lives. CIR distributes its stories directly and through respected television, print, radio and Web outlets. In 2009 CIR launched California Watch, now the largest investigative team in the state, focused on the sweeping challenges facing Californians at community, regional and statewide levels.


CIR was founded by a small group of investigative reporters, including Lowell Bergman (60 Minutes, The New York Times, PBS Frontline, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism), David Weir (KQED, Wired Digital, Salon, Rolling Stone, and the San Francisco Examiner, among others), and Dan Noyes, who was on the CIR staff for 30 years serving as reporter, editorial director, and executive director. Their goal was to create a home where investigative reporters could be given the time and resources necessary to produce stories with the potential for major impact. Hundreds of journalists have worked with CIR over the years, on staff and as freelancers, producing reports that have reached millions on television, radio, in print and through the Web. Our stories appear in outlets such as NPR News, PBS “Frontline,” The Los Angeles Times, “60 Minutes,” The New York Times, USA Today, New American MediaWashington Post, Politico, Harper’s Magazine, Salon.com, “ABC Nightly News,” CNN, and many others.


CIR stories have received numerous journalism awards including the Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Silver Baton, George Polk Award, Emmy Award, Investigative Reporters and Editors Award, and a National Magazine Award for Reporting Excellence. More importantly, its reports have sparked state and federalhearings and legislation, United Nations resolutions, public interest lawsuits and changes in corporate policies.


Journalism demands flexibility to follow a story where it leads, but as a small news organization, CIR attempts to ferret out the most promising investigations. Generally, stories we pursue will:

  • •Reflect CIR's core mission by offering strong potential to reveal injustice or abuse of power.
  • •Add new information, a fresh angle or depth of reporting not found elsewhere.
  • •Have broad relevance and potential for impact.

Whenever possible, we tell our stories through multiple media, use data and documents to deepen stories, and distribute our reporting widely through partnerships with multiple news organizations. We then use social media to help them reach the broadest possible audience.


As newsrooms shrink across the nation, CIR is uniquely positioned to ensure that in-depth journalism, crucial to a functioning democracy, flourishes. Building on its long track record, CIR is working to develop a sustainable model for investigative reporting that takes advantage of cutting-edge storytelling, high-impact collaborations, and revenue-producing strategies to provide citizens – local and global – with actionable information.

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