Thursday, April 5, 2012

Mergers & Acquisitions: It happens with nonprofits, too

It was recently announced that two major Californian nonprofit news organizations will "merge."  Leaders from The Bay Citizen and Berkeley-based Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR) announced that the move will result in the creation of a single newsroom with a staff of 70, that will focus on investigative and accountability journalism that will be published under three brands - The Bay Citizen, which will focus on local Bay Area coverage; California Watch, for statewide reporting efforts; and CIR for national stories.
  One Bay Citizen staffer offered a different perspective -
“While technically a merger, a similar deal in the corporate world would be termed an acquisition, with Berkeley-based CIR assuming a dominant role on the board and in the management of the combined organization. No one from The Bay Citizen’s current senior editorial or technology management teams will have a leadership role in the expanded organization.”
Also: “The Bay Citizen will likely no longer cover breaking news or culture, as CIR leaders have said they see those as commodities that don’t fit the expanded organization’s core mission.”
  The founder of competing community news outlet Oakland Local suggested that in might be a bit of poetic justice, as at one point that Warren Hellman, the sponsor providing start-up funds backing The Bay Citizen, had initially consulted leaders of CIR, but then had decided to start the Bay Citizen with a different editorial team.  With Hellman's death, his foundation has continued to fund the Bay Citizen, but has not committed to long-term support.

Source - Bay Citizen, Center for Investigative Reporting Merge,  Knight Digital Media Center News for Digital Journalists blog


  1. Well, this is a great way to maintain news coverage and these groups' public service function while keeping the most jobs and making the best use of the funds available. It could be worse, they could have just closed one of the places entirely.

    It seems like some people probably do feel screwed over, and I can understand that...but I'm just so excited to see that news organizations dedicated strictly to government watchdog and investigative reporting still exist.

    Additionally, I think a lot of reporters forget that there are possibilities for work at a non-profit. You may not earn as much money, but it can be a good place to start.

  2. It seems odd to me that a non profit would eliminate leadership from a different perspective. It hardly seems like the right direction to eliminate outside perspective but I am sure they had their motives.
    I agree with Beth. It's odd to think about working in nonprofit as a journalist but it is a great place to start a career and develop news gathering techniques connections and skills.
    -Rachel Cade