Top Investigative Newsrooms Join Public Insight Network to Strengthen Audience Engagement

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Platform Facilitates Watchdog Journalism

American Public Media’s (APM) Public Insight Network has expanded with the addition of three of the nation’s premier investigative newsrooms; ProPublica, Center for Investigative Reporting and The Center for Public Integrity.

American Public Media’s (APM) Public Insight Network has expanded with the addition of three of the nation’s premier investigative newsrooms; ProPublica, Center for Investigative Reporting and The Center for Public Integrity. The combination of the country’s most powerful platform for journalistic audience engagement and the three partners will yield unprecedented efforts in watchdog reporting efforts.

ProPublica will launch Public Insight on Saturday, October 30, followed by the Center for Investigative Reporting and The Center for Public Integrity later this year. The partnerships, announced today at the 2010 Online News Association conference in Washington, D.C., mark a major milestone for the Public Insight Network initiative founded seven years ago by APM. “The addition of these top-tier news organizations will expand opportunities for citizen sources all over the country to participate in newsgathering, to strengthen their own capacity to hold individuals and institutions accountable, and to affect change in their communities,” says Linda Fantin, APM’s director of network journalism and innovation.

The Public Insight Network is funded in part by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, and provides individuals a direct channel for sharing their knowledge, experience and insights with reporters around the country. This collaborative model in turn helps newsrooms improve journalistic context, depth and quality while forging deeper connections with the communities they cover.

Bill Buzenberg, executive director of The Center for Public Integrity, helped conceive the Public Insight model while working at APM and says it will help inform the investigative process, pointing reporters in directions they may not have known to go. “As a founder of Public Insight at MPR, I'm thrilled that the Center can now be a part of this incredible resource and help grow the possibilities it holds on journalism's newest digital frontier."

Robert Rosenthal, executive director, Center for Investigative Reporting, adds, “We realize that newsrooms today must have a culture where innovation around technology is central and married to quality journalism. This network is another arrow in our quiver of information gathering and interactivity. The platform will enable us to expand our ability to collaborate, gather information and reach growing and diverse audiences with high quality, trusted information.”

Amanda Michel, ProPublica’s director of engagement, says that her organization is excited to join the Public Insight Network. “APM's integrated technology and experience will be an asset in our newsroom. But more importantly, joining opens up new opportunities for ProPublica to collaborate with newsrooms around the country and to further evolve our crowdsourcing methodologies."

The investigative news outlets join a growing number of leading news organizations building and engaging the Public Insight Network, from WNYC in New York and The Miami Herald, to Oregon Public Broadcasting and the St. Louis Beacon. Joaquin Alvarado, APM’s vice president of digital innovation notes, “Collaboration is the driving force of the Public Insight Network. The addition of these new partners, each a major innovator in the field, will allow us to invest further in supporting investigative journalism in new and unprecedented ways.”

The Public Insight Network was founded in 2003, and to date has over 95,000 sources from across the country. Source demographic information and insights are stored in a secure, searchable database where participating journalists can search for knowledgeable sources, test hunches, identify trends and support production of major projects. In the last year alone, Network sources informed or unearthed more than 700 stories for Minnesota Public Radio News and American Public Media shows like Marketplace, and powered watchdog projects like KPCC's coverage of a 2009 riot at California's Chino State Prison. The KPCC investigative series relied on knowledge from Network sources to expose substandard conditions at the prison and fuel a state investigation.

To learn more about American Public Media's Public Insight Network, visit PublicInsightNetwork.org.

For more information or interview requests, please contact Jacqueline Cartier at
jcartier(at)americanpublicmedia(dot)org or 651-290-1113.

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