Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism tells its story via video on #GivingNewsDay

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If you’re marking Giving Tuesday, which is today, by donating to nonprofit and philanthropic causes, we have a suggestion: Just watch us.

The Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism today is unveiling a four-minute video that tells the story of our efforts to increase the quality and quantity of investigative journalism while training current and future investigative reporters.

Like more than 100 nonprofit local and investigative newsrooms nationwide, the Center is participating in News Match—the largest-ever grassroots campaign to strengthen nonprofit journalism across the United States. Paired with Giving Tuesday, the first Tuesday after Thanksgiving, today’s fundraising effort by newsrooms is being billed as #GivingNewsDay.

From now until Dec. 31, all donations to the Center, up to $1,000, are doubled by News Match.

Better yet, individuals and businesses donating at least $1,000 a year become eligible for the Center’s new Watchdog Club, where members receive “behind the story” insights, events and benefits, such as a recent intimate chat with Eric Deggans, NPR’s TV and culture critic. Thanks to the generosity of several charter members, combined with News Match, donations of $1,000 or more are tripled.

Featured in the new video are several members of the Center’s staff and board of directors, plus David Maraniss, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist at The Washington Post who highlights the nationwide scarcity of high-quality local investigative journalism. “So the Center for Investigative Journalism is providing an incredibly important service,” Maraniss says.

The video was produced pro bono by John Roach Projects, a Fitchburg-based media production company, with creative work by Roach and his colleagues, Erin Hallbauer, Becky Mahan and Joe Feng.

It calls attention to three values that have guided the Center’s journalism since its launch in 2009: Protect the vulnerable. Expose wrongdoing. Explore solutions.

“We’re deeply grateful to John Roach and his talented crew for their extraordinary efforts to spread the word about the Center’s work,” said Andy Hall, the Center’s executive director.

“The Center depends, more than ever, on the support of the public as it shines a light into issues that the powerful prefer to cloak in darkness.”

Hall added that the Center operates efficiently, supporting its full-time staff of four professionals, several paid interns and part-time news and business specialists on an annual budget of about $500,000.

Its award-winning work, often produced in collaboration with University of Wisconsin-Madison journalism students, has investigated a wide range of issues, including regulatory agencies’ failures to protect drinking water from contamination, and holes in Gov. Scott Walker’s high-profile attack on waste, fraud and abuse of taxpayers’ money, such as weakened protections for whistleblowers.

Since July 2009, the Center has produced more than 300 major news reports that have been cited, published or broadcast by more than 600 newspapers, radio and TV stations and news websites in Wisconsin and nationwide. The estimated audience of the Center’s reports exceeds 61 million people.

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