Investigative Reporting Program receives $1.5 million MacArthur grant

The MacArthur Foundation today announced almost $25 million in unrestricted, five-year general operating grants to journalism programs, including $1.5 million for the Investigative Reporting Program (IRP) at UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism.

Lowell Bergman

IRP’s Lowell Bergman.

“We are honored to be chosen for long-term support,” said Lowell Bergman, the program’s Logan Distinguished Chair, who established the IRP in 2006. “It’s going to be vital as we expand and develop innovative ways to promote, protect and practice the art of reporting in the public interest.”

Dozens of IRP stories have appeared in numerous leading news outlets. Its award-winning reports include exposés of poor worker safety in the metal industry, the hidden history of credit cards, corruption in Mexico, the California energy crisis and a prescient look at Osama bin Laden.

“Independent media plays an important role in how Americans understand their community and the world, the decisions they make, and whether and how they exercise their responsibility as citizens,” said MacArthur president Julia Stasch, who announced the new commitments at the Public Broadcasting Service’s annual meeting.

She said the investments will strengthen and expand independent journalism, enabling more entrepreneurial work that makes available factual reporting, authentic stories and diverse voices that contribute to a robust public civic dialogue.

“Unrestricted funding is especially vital to helping well-led nonprofit news organizations experiment and innovate, and enables journalists and editors the independence to pursue important stories that do not make commercial sense, particularly in the costly realms of investigative and international reporting,” said Kathy Im, MacArthur’s director of journalism and media.

Among other grant recipients are American University, the Global Press Institute, National Public Radio, Public Radio International and the Center for Investigative Reporting, which is based in Emeryville.

MacArthur has supported journalism since 1983 — with a focus on independent and diverse perspectives on broadcast television and the production of independently produced documentaries — assisting investigative journalism and deep and analytical reporting on television, radio and online since 2000.