Mother Jones, The Center for Investigative Reporting Announce Merger of Storied, Trusted Investigative Newsrooms

Mother Jones, The Center
for Investigative Reporting
Announce Merger of Storied, Trusted Investigative Newsrooms

Two of America’s most storied and trusted investigative news organizations, Mother Jones and The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), are poised to merge and become a multimedia nonprofit news outlet, providing in-depth reporting across every platform where people get their news, from online and social media to video, radio, podcast, and print.

“Journalism is in crisis just when democracy needs it most,” said Monika Bauerlein, CEO of Mother Jones. “By combining these two organizations’ deep track records, we can deliver the hard-hitting journalism that Americans so urgently need. Together we will reach an audience of 10 million monthly, including 3.5 million across digital platforms, 1.8 million on radio and podcast platforms, and nearly 500,000 print or newsletter subscribers.”

The two organizations have a long and interwoven history. Mother Jones was founded in 1976, and CIR in 1977, and they have frequently produced joint reporting projects over the years. Both are based in San Francisco, and Mother Jones has additional offices in New York City and Washington, D.C.

“Ethical, fact checked investigative reporting is one of the pillars of our democracy, and by merging into one newsroom we will increase our ability to deliver stories that would otherwise not be told,” said Robert J. Rosenthal, CEO of CIR. “We will also enhance our ability to work with other newsrooms large and small and support a robust and sustainable business model. At a time when journalism is under assault, I am energized by the opportunity to continue to make a difference at this critical moment for our nation.”

The merger is expected to take effect early in 2024. The two organizations will integrate their newsrooms, and will continue to produce Mother Jones’ magazine and website and the Reveal radio show and podcast, as well as video storytelling and documentary film. Bauerlein will serve as CEO and Rosenthal will serve as CEO emeritus in a strategic leadership capacity. Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones’ Editor-in-Chief, will lead the combined newsroom, and Al Letson will continue as host of Reveal, which is distributed nationwide to more than 500 radio stations. CIR’s TV and film storytelling arm, CIR Studios, will continue to produce documentary films and news reports. Mother Jones and CIR secured an initial $21 million in funding commitments over the next three years to implement the merger, and will continue developing support from individual and institutional donors for the combined organization.

Both organizations have created award-winning journalism that influences public policy and national opinion, including a joint project in 2021 about labor conditions on sugar plantations that led the U.S. government to ban imports from the company in question. Mother Jones has won 10 National Magazine Awards, including for General Excellence three times; three National Press Club Awards; and has won the Hillman Prize, and George Polk Award. CIR has been selected as a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in journalism five times; nominated for an Academy Award; won seven national Emmys; and won 19 national Edward R. Murrow Awards.

Notable reporting from Mother Jones includes its investigation in 2016 of the country’s private prison system, which led to major reforms by the federal government; its 2012 scoop about then-Presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s disparaging “47%” comments about voters, which were widely seen as having influenced the outcome of that election; its ongoing series on abuses in the child welfare system; and its Climate Desk collaboration, which since 2009 has brought together multiple news organizations to ramp up climate coverage.

Standout reporting from CIR includes its recent episode about the Mormon Church’s handling of sexual abuse claims; its reporting about sexual assault victims being wrongfully charged with false reporting, captured in the documentary film “Victim/Suspect;” its 2019 expose of high injury rates sustained by Amazon warehouse workers, which led to new worker protection laws in several states; and its 2018 investigation about how banks keep people of color from becoming homeowners.