CIR Reaches Out To New Audiences With ‘Redaction’ Campaign

The Center for Investigative Reporting has launched a re-branding campaign with advertising agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners.

The campaign includes a new logo, along with recent projects like ‘Reveal’,  a one-hour investigative show for public radio, a video game called Hairnet Hero, made to teach children and their families about healthy eating, and celebrated an Emmy win for their graphic novel video ‘Jennifer’s Room,’ for new approaches to journalism.

Not that what CIR does is anything new. They’ve been producing quality, investigative journalism for 36 years, and many outlets, such as CNN and other large organizations, use their research and stories on a regular basis. The problem was that the CIR didn’t feel like they were connecting with the public directly. And so, the campaign.

The pro-bono creative from GSP focuses on the idea of redaction, which is sort of what investigative journalism is all about; filling in the blanks.

Executive chairman, Phil Bronstein, told me over the phone that, “[the idea of] redaction  is something that resonates with people — you don’t have to explain redaction to people. People understand it, especially with things like Snowden and the NSA recently. These are things that are of interest to people, its not just us saying ‘you need to know.’ In the past few decades, there’s been this focus on telling people what to pay attention to, we want to make it easier for people to consume this stuff and understand it.”

Bronstein has a bit of a self proclaimed ‘pet peeve’ with journalism that just tells people what to pay attention to and thinks journalism has become a bit separated from the public it is meant to serve.

“Investigative journalism has a sensibility and a certain inaccessibility. This campaign is really designed to fix that. Reporting often involves very long and complicated pieces, and we want to provide that in a multifaceted and multimedia way; we want people to know that the material, the stories we cover, are very accessible,” Bronstein says. 

That mission is completed in the newsroom, and outside of it. The CIR hosts a number of programs. One called StoryWorks, produced in conjunction with Tides Theatre, takes stories reported by the CIR and dramatizes them in an effort to show the “emotional truth” of a story, and maybe, move people to action. That is, after all, what good journalism should do.

“I’m not saying we’re going to change the world with this relationship, but it gets us out there in a way in which we make use of their artistry and they make use of ours,” Bronstein says.

Bronstein hopes this campaign isn’t just about branding, but about “establishing an identity that’s consistent and that resonates with people…We do want results from our reporting. We don’t have  a ‘here’s the story, see you later approach.”  We want a good relationship with the public we serve and the audience we have and we want a larger audience.”

Nothing like some new projects and a new look to get the public, outside of the established media community, to pay attention.