Center for Public Integrity

Career Beat: Andy Wiedlin leaves BuzzFeed

Good morning! Here are some career updates from the journalism community:

  • Andy Wiedlin will be an entrepreneur-in-residence at Andreessen Horowitz. He’s currently chief revenue officer at BuzzFeed. (Re/Code)
  • Salvador Rodríguez is a Silicon Valley correspondent for International Business Times. Previously, he was a staff writer at the Los Angeles Times. (Media Moves)
  • Peter Bale will be CEO at the Center for Public Integrity. Previously, he was vice president and general manager of digital operations at CNN International. (Center for Public Integrity)
  • Jed Hartman will be chief revenue officer at The Washington Post. Previously, he was group publisher for Time,, Fortune,, Money, and (Washington Post)

Job of the day: The San Antonio Express-News is looking for an online producer. Read more


It matters how Rolling Stone reported its UVA rape story

Good morning. Here are 10 media stories.

  1. Rolling Stone story causes the wrong kind of unease

    Sabrina Rubin Erdely's story finally got UVA's administration to deal with campus sexual assault. But if it "turns out to be a hoax, it is going to turn the clock back on their thinking 30 years,” Caitlin Flanagan tells Allison Benedikt and Hanna Rosin. They found Jackie, the main character of Erdely's story, who "had already been interviewed by the Washington Post for a story that has not yet run." (Slate) | If the men Jackie accuses of rape "were being cited in the story for mere drunkenness, boorish frat-boy behavior or similar collegiate misdemeanors, then there’d be no harm in failing to secure their input," Erik Wemple writes.

Read more

Center for Public Integrity will hire 50 freelancers to probe statehouse corruption

Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity is launching a nationwide investigation into indicators of statehouse corruption, and it’s looking for 50 freelancers to help get it done.

The State Integrity Investigation, conducted first in 2011, is a deep-dive look at factors that cause corruption in each of America’s 50 capitols, Nicholas Kusnetz, the initiative’s project manager, told Poynter in an email.

The last project resulted in more than 1,100 stories and led to reform measures passed in seven states, according to the the Center for Public Integrity. It was a 2013 finalist for Harvard’s Goldsmith Investigative Reporting Prize.

Participants will work part-time starting in fall and through early 2016 and will be expected to answer 200-300 questions using data during the first two months of the project. Read more

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Center for Public Integrity chief will step down

Center for Public Integrity

Bill Buzenberg will step down as executive director of the Center for Public Integrity, the organization announced Friday. Buzenberg was named to the post in 2007 after a long tenure at NPR. He’s helped raise more than $50 million for CPI, the organization says, and he’ll stay on until a replacement is named.

CPI just won its first Pulitzer Prize, for a series about black lung. ABC News contested the Pulitzer, saying its partnership with CPI on the story entitled it to part of the award.

Buzenberg replied to ABC News with a letter that said CPI reporter Chris Hamby “lived and breathed this investigation almost exclusively for a year.” (Hamby recently left CPI for BuzzFeed.) ABC News “has a very very inflated idea of their role in this investigation,” Buzenberg told Poynter at the time. Read more

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Gordon Witkin named top editor at Center for Public Integrity

The Center for Public Integrity has named Gordon Witkin as its executive editor.

Witkin has been serving as the center’s top editor in an acting capacity. He also manages the center’s coverage of health care and juvenile justice and its state integrity project.

Gordon Witkin (The Center for Public Integrity photo)

The appointment comes just weeks after the center’s Chris Hamby won a Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism honoring his stories on black-lung disease among coal miners. The announcement on the prize was followed by a dispute between the center and ABC News, which felt it should be given credit for its part in the investigation. Hamby has since moved to BuzzFeed.

The center announced Witkin’s appointment on its website:

“I am extremely pleased to confirm the solid editorial structure we have been operating under for more than a year,” [Executive Director William E.] Buzenberg said Friday. 

Read more

Despite ABC News/CPI blowup, here’s how news partnerships can work

Journalism organizations might get discouraged about joining partnerships after the public meltdown of the partnership between ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity this week.

CPI’s reporter Chris Hamby won a Pulitzer Prize for stories that exposed how coal miners who were dying from black-lung disease were being unfairly denied health benefits. ABC wanted to get some of the credit for the investigation. What followed was a nasty exchange that played out here on Poynter Online all week.

But let’s not forget the upside to great investigative journalists from different organizations working together. ABC and CPI did affect lives, expose wrongdoing and reach a national audience that neither could have done alone.

Some of the most important journalism in recent years has been the product of partnerships. Read more

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CORRECTION Nobel Peace Prize Auction

Contest entries from ABC, Center for Public Integrity highlight their division

On the same day that ABC News and The Center for Public Integrity won yet another national journalism award for exposing how coal miners were being unjustly denied black-lung benefits, the spat between the two venerable newsrooms heated up. And now you can read the letters that have been flying back and forth between former colleagues who in recent months shared some of journalism’s highest honors for their work.

Wednesday, ABC and CPI won the Society of Professional Journalists’ Sigma Delta Chi award for online investigative reporting (affiliated category).

On March 5, ABC and CPI accepted the coveted Harvard Goldsmith Prize. The Goldsmith judges gushed about how they believed the joint investigation was a model for other newsrooms to follow.


The White House Correspondents’ Association also honored the joint project with its Edgar A. Read more

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ABC News says Center for Public Integrity should share Pulitzer for investigative reporting

This is the top of the letter that ABC President Ben Sherwood sent to William Buzenberg and his organization’s board members Tuesday asking The Center for Public Integrity to share Pulitzer Prize credit.

ABC News President Ben Sherwood sent a four-page letter to WIlliam Buzenberg, executive director of The Center for Public Integrity, asking CPI to share credit for the Pulitzer Prize for investigative reporting awarded to CPI’s Chris Hamby this week. The letter was sent to the CPI board and was obtained by

“You seem to be determined that ABC was simply a megaphone for Chris Hamby’s work,” Sherwood wrote. Sherwood said ABC’s investigative reporter Brian Ross and producer Matt Mosk should “share” in the Pulitzer and Sherwood says he intends to take the matter up with the Pulitzer board. Read more


CPI reduces staff to compensate for $2 million budget hole

The Center for Public Integrity laid off staff today to try to compensate for a $2 million budget shortfall.

Ten positions were eliminated, and five people lost their jobs with the Washington-based nonprofit journalism organization. One of those five people was transferred to a newly-created position within CPI, according to Communications Director Randy Barrett.

Sandy Johnson and Keith Epstein were among those laid off. Johnson started working at the Center one year ago this week. She was the managing editor for politics and government. Epstein was also a managing editor.

“It’s a very difficult position,” said Bill Buzenberg, CPI’s director, who also handled the 2007 layoffs when nine people lost their jobs.

“We started 2011 with a lot of momentum. It was the most money we’ve ever had rolling into 2011. Read more


Ex-NPR news veep Weiss joins Center for Public Integrity

New York Times || Center for Public Integrity
Ellen Weiss, who resigned as NPR senior vice president of news in January after the Juan Williams firing controversy, has been named executive editor at the Center for Public Integrity. She’ll oversee the CPI’s domestic investigations and editorial staff. Weiss tells Tanzina Vega she spent the summer exploring job opportunities in media and non-media outlets before taking the CPI job. “I wanted to be working somewhere that was empowering the public with high quality trusted information.” CPI executive director William Buzenberg says of Weiss: “I have always been impressed but the way she led and her selection of stories and ideas.” She starts her new job on Oct. 3. Read more


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