When the Watergate story broke in 1972, it was the Washington Post that spearheaded the expose. That event may have been the high water mark for investigative journalism in the print media. With the advent of online media, newspapers have hit on hard times, with many scaling back their staffs or closing altogether. This vacuum has been partially filled by public media, but some critics believe that more needs to be done. Today, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting gave investigative journalism a huge boost in the form of a $1.5 million grant to American Public Media.
The grant will finance an initiative for APM’s documentary group APM Reports to partner with four public radio stations, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), Kansas City Public Media (KCUR), New York Public Radio (WNYC) and Public Broadcasting Atlanta (WABE). Together, they will produce a series of investigative stories from a broad geographic sweep of the country.
APM Reports will complement the stations’ journalism with research, data, and reporting support. APM will also organize ongoing training for journalists at the partner stations. Each partner station will devote current or newly hired journalists to pursue investigations that will resonate regionally or nationally. Chris Worthington, managing director and editor-in-chief at APM Reports, will serve as editor-in-chief of the project.
As Worthington concludes, “A healthy democracy needs investigative journalism. Without it, the powerful go unchecked and the voiceless have no voice. This initiative strengthens public media’s role in the Fourth Estate at a time when trusted, fact-based news is more important than ever.”