Yesterday, we reported that New York Times media columnist David Carr had downplayed the investigative work of new media companies like the Huffington Post. But this morning, HuffPo made moves to establish a strong investigative team by naming Lawrence Roberts, chief of investigations at The Washington Post, executive editor of its new non-profit investigative unit.
In his new post as executive editor, Roberts (left) will initially lead the Huffington Post’s Investigative Fund’s coverage of the economic crisis, Arianna Huffington said in a statement.
As investigations editor at the Post since 2004, Roberts lead the paper’s Pulitzer prize-winning coverage of the Abramoff scandal and an investigative series about former Vice President Dick Cheney. The Post‘s articles about farm subsidy misuse, also directed by Roberts, was a finalist for the Pulitzer gold medal.
Roberts joined the Post in 1995 as a founding editor of the paper’s Web site. He then went on to work as an editor for the business section before moving to the investigations unit. He has previously worked for The Hartford Courant and UPI in Madrid.
The full release after the jump
THE HUFFINGTON POST INVESTIGATIVE FUND NAMES LAWRENCE ROBERTS EXECUTIVE EDITOR
Washington Post Investigations Editor Joins Nonprofit Investigative Journalism Venture
New York, NY, May 20, 2009 — The Huffington Post Investigative Fund, a nonprofit investigative journalism venture, announced today that Lawrence Roberts, Investigations Editor at The Washington Post, has been named the Fund’s Executive Editor. Arianna Huffington, Chair of the Fundâ€™s Advisory Board and Editor-in-Chief of The Huffington Post, and Nick Penniman, Executive Director of the Fund, made the announcement.
Launched in March with an initial budget of $1.75 million, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund is a nonpartisan, nonprofit initiative whose goal is to produce multimedia investigations.
“We are delighted to have Larry on board,” said Arianna Huffington. “Larry’s background in investigative journalism — including being part of three Pulitzer-winning teams — as well as his experience in online journalism make him an ideal pick to spearhead the Investigative Fund. Plus, his experience as a business editor is perfectly aligned with the Investigative Fund’s initial focus on covering the economic crisis.”
Said Lawrence Roberts: “With all the financial pressures roiling newspapers, it makes sense to replicate their public service and investigative mission in the nonprofit world. I’m excited to be joining Nick and Arianna in this important venture.”
Roberts has served as Investigations Editor at the Washington Post since 2004. During his tenure there, he helped direct coverage of the Abramoff lobbying scandal, a series on Vice President Dick Cheney, and a stream of stories about the waste and abuse in farm subsidies. The Cheney and Abramoff investigations each won Pulitzer prizes, and the farm series was a finalist for the Pulitzer gold medal.
Roberts joined The Post in 1995 as one of the founding editors of its website. He then migrated to the business section as an editor before joining the investigative unit. Before The Post, Roberts was projects editor at The Hartford Courant, where he directed an investigation of the flawed Hubble Space Telescope that won the paper its first Pulitzer Prize. He has also served as UPI’s bureau chief in Madrid.
“We’re honored that Larry will be joining our team, helping us bring the tools of the new media to investigative journalism,” said Nick Penniman. “Integral to this process will be making sure that good reporting has the impact that it deserves.”
The Huffington Post Investigative Fund will produce a broad range of investigative journalism, ranging from long-form investigations to short breaking news stories that will be presented in a variety of media — including text, audio and video. Stories will be free for any media outlet to publish simultaneously. In addition to a full-time editorial staff of 10, the fund plans to spend a substantial part of its resources on freelance investigative journalists, many of whom have been laid off due to the current downturn.
The Fund will leverage The Huffington Post’s large audience, along with the growing audience of other online news outlets, and will also provide a higher profile for the work of existing investigative reporting outfits with which it will partner, including: the Center for Public Integrity, the New England Center for Investigative Reporting, the Center for Investigative Reporting, Spot.Us, NYU School of Journalism, and the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at the Columbia University Journalism School. Additionally, the Huffington Post Investigative Fund will work closely with Eyes & Ears, The Huffington Post’s citizen journalism project, harnessing the power of HuffPost’s engaged readers to yield research, insights, and information.