The Center for Investigative Reporting will fold its three different brands under one roof beginning May 29. The CIR moniker will now incorporate the Bay Citizen, which covers local stories in northern California, as well as California Watch, which covers the entire state.
Two years after its launch as a new online news organization covering the San Francisco region, the Bay Citizen is reconsidering its mission and editorial focus under new management. As of May 1, it merged operations with the Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting, one of the granddaddies of the nonprofit news world, and ended its editorial partnership with the New York Times. The combined newsroom now marshals a staff of 70 and an annual budget of $11 million for news reporting from the San Francisco Bay Area. But differences between the news organizations’ editorial priorities and funding structures point to many challenges ahead, according to journalists from both the Bay Citizen and CIR. The Bay Citizen, which was founded and launched in 2010 by the late San Francisco philanthropist Warren Hellman, focused on timely news about Bay Area communities and tried to compete with other local news outlets to break stories.
Two high-profile news nonprofits in the San Francisco area, The Bay Citizen and the Center for Investigative Reporting, will make a final decision early next month about whether they’ll merge. If they do, job losses appear certain. The two announced Feb. 7 they had signed a formal letter of intent to merge and have given their respective boards 30 days to approve or reject the merger. If the boards consent, management of The Bay Citizen will be turned over to the Berkeley-based CIR, whose board chairman, Phil Bronstein, would become executive chair of the combination, The Bay Citizen reported.