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The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit news organization based in Washington, D.C., that produces investigative journalism on public-interest issues.
The center was founded by Charles Lewis in 1989, who was its director until 2005. Its staff has fluctuated between 25 to more than 50 throughout the 2000s and 2010s; most recently, it laid off 14 staff members in 2011. It is funded by a variety of grants and donations, including the MacArthur, Park and Ford foundations, as well as the Carnegie Corp, and it also sells its work to various organizations. The center has won numerous awards for its investigative reports, including a Pulitzer Prize in 2014.
The center primarily publishes its own articles and books in print on its website, and it runs a blog on investigative projects. It also collaborates with news organizations like The New York Times, The Washington Post, and Financial Times to produce stories that run in those publications. The center has been doing such collaborations for years, though they have increased in recent years.
The center absorbed the Huffington Post Investigative Fund in 2010, around which time it embarked on a new business plan centered on producing its own daily investigative news and dramatically increasing its budget and advertising sales. It launched a new site, iWatch, in early 2011, though its traffic and revenue were lower than expected. It shut down the site and reverted to its original name in August 2012.
The center also runs the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, a group of 100 journalists in 50 countries that collaborates on international investigations. The consortium was founded in 1997. In 2013, it received $1.5 million from Australian entrepreneur and Global Mail founder Graeme Wood to improve the consortium.
In 2010, the center began experimenting with crowdfunding investigations through the social micropayment service Kachingle, as well distributing its content through the AP’s non-profit investigative news wire, both to lackluster result. It has also published some works under a Creative Commons license to encourage other outlets to reprint them.
Creative Commons is a nonprofit organization that allows content creators to designate how they want to exercise their intellectual property rights, primarily online. Creative Commons was founded in 2001 by a group of law and intellectual property experts that included Lawrence Lessig, Hal Abelson, Eric Eldred, and Eric Saltzman as an alternative to the “all…