Today, the Center for Investigative Reporting is making some big leadership announcements. We’re elevating Mark Katches to editorial director for all of CIR and naming Chase Davis our director of technology.
One of our goals at CIR is to align the story and the technology. What does that mean? For us, it means how we maximize and create new forms of storytelling for evolving platforms with the three-pronged strategy of building audience, growing revenue and engaging as many people out there as possible.
The promotions of Mark and Chase are an important step as we manage this strategy and deal with what we call "opportunity on the run."
Previously, Mark, who just turned 48, had overseen our California Watch newsroom. Before coming back to California, he served as the primary editor on two Pulitzer-winning projects and three other Pulitzer finalists, all since 2004. His promotion will solidify and integrate our CIR and California Watch operations. Mark will continue to oversee California Watch as well as CIR projects and editorial initiatives.
Chase, who will turn 28 in a couple of weeks, has been an investigative reporter on our California Watch team, but he’s also helped develop new websites and tools, including our first iPhone app MyFault, which locates earthquake faults and seismic hazard zones across California.
Our goal is to reach an audience through a big network of partners. They include newspapers, public and commercial radio, public and commercial television, hyperlocal websites, national news websites and ethnic media. We even recently did a coloring book that got a fair amount of attention.
Mark's promotion allows me to, I hate to say this, become more of a publisher in the old world model. Mark will be able to focus his efforts on our editorial product, while I spend more time helping to tell our story, raise revenue and develop our business.
Chase, who I really wanted to give the title “Chief Wizard,” has played an integral role in developing strategies around new products, data and technology – all while he has primarily served as a reporter in our Sacramento office. He has worn several hats. After all, this is really a startup in many ways with all hands on deck. Although he will continue to do some reporting, Chase will be fully engaged in leading our multiplatform opportunities, especially as mobile usage explodes and new mobile platforms are created.
What does it mean that I am morphing into the publisher's role? It means that my focus is on continuing to grow CIR and to be part of figuring out ways to ensure its sustainability with our three-pronged approach.
My goal is simple: It's to have the funds, through multiple streams of revenue, to hire as many ambitious, talented, and passionate risk-taking journalists as possible and let them do bulletproof, "holy shit" stories that make a difference for all of us.