Center for Public Integrity – Digital Transitions

Publication Date April 20, 2011

GRANT DESCRIPTION

To help transform the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) into a prominent leader in the field of digital nonprofit journalism by supporting new tools, approaches and staff to keep pace with industry changes, and by enabling CPI to grow its online marketing and outreach efforts.

ASSESSMENT PURPOSE & APPROACH

Key Questions

•    Does CPI have strong organizational capacity?

•    Is CPI producing relevant and cutting-edge content?

•    Is CPI effectively distributing its content?

•    To what extent are CPI’s online strategies engaging their audiences and where is there room for improvement?

Approach: The assessment included interviews with CPI staff, funders, and industry insiders, as well as an analysis of CPI’s web presence.

Assessment Partner: Julia Coffman, Judy Miller and Victor Acquah

PROJECT FINDINGS

•     Increased Production – CPI is producing hard-hitting investigations even as it transforms its digital presence. In 2009, CPI developed 14 major projects (up from 4 in 2008), had 512 postings (up from 207 in 2008), and worked with 12 computer-assisted reporting databases (up from 3 in 2008). However, the report highlighted that the center might more carefully evaluate its story selection process in favor of those likely to shape the public policy agenda.

•     Distribution – A continuous flow of new digital techniques will give the center more distribution platforms and new ways to engage people.  Meanwhile, CPI bolstered distribution by forming 19 partnerships over the last year, including relationships with the Washington Post, Financial Times, Politico, Huffington Post, NPR and others.

•     Online Engagement – CPI’s website and interactivity have improvement. Total number of unique visitors to the website was up 8% from 2009. CPI has just launched its Twitter account, but is growing and driving more traffic to its website than Facebook.

•     Sustainability –CPI raised its donations from inpidual donors by 23 percent, despite the recent economic downturn. Those interviewed praised CPI leaders for their willingness to experiment and try new things while not losing sight of the organization’s core mission or journalistic values. 

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