The Center for Investigative Reporting in Berkeley, California announced its reporting and editing team today for an intriguing experiment - a non-profit, investigative reporting organization focused on state affairs to be called California Watch.
CIR, which has focused on national and international projects until now, has been around for decades, pioneering a non-profit approach to journalism that has come into vogue in recent years with the decline of the traditional media.
The Voice of San Diego and MinnPost, in the Twin Cities, are leading the way on metropolitan, non-profit journalism. The New England Center for Investigative Reporting at Boston University is taking a regional approach. And ProPublica has joined CIR in looking at national issues. But California Watch most resembles what might flourish in Rhode Island - a statewide approach.
One wonders, though, if we'll see anything along those lines soon. The ProJo, however diminished, is still humming along. And there is plenty in this recession-weary state for the handful of big Rhode Island philanthropists to focus upon. Still, keep an eye out. For a state long obsessed with local news, this may be the model that eventually emerges.