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The network was founded by 25 nonprofit news organizations at a summer 2009 conference organized by The Center for Public Integrity and The Center for Investigative Reporting. Those two organizations, along with the Investigative Reporting Workshop and ProPublica, had previously initiated a six-month collaborative pilot project.
The group was formed as a way for nonprofit investigative outlets to collaborate on anything from reporting to administration to fundraising. It was granted nonprofit 501(c)(3) status in March 2012.
In February 2010, it released its first collaborative report, on sexual assaults on college campuses. In June 2010, the network received a two-year, $200,000 grant from the Knight Foundation and hired its first CEO. It also receives funding from several other foundations, including the McCormick Foundation and the William Penn Foundation, and from Voice of San Diego founder Buzz Woolley. The site excludes members that don’t publicly disclose all donors on their websites.
In May 2011, the network announced a content syndication deal with Thomson Reuters.
The Houston Chronicle is a daily newspaper owned by Hearst Corp. It is the second-largest newspaper in Texas and 14th-largest in the U.S., with 325,000 in combined print and online daily circulation as of 2012. The Chronicle’s online operation has been praised for its innovation. A 2006 study conducted by NYU professor Jay Rosen named…