Hearst Launches Company-Wide Investigative Project

A Hearst-wide investigative project that includes participation from seven of the chain’s newspapers as well as many of its television stations is set to be published in less than two weeks, according to editors.

The investigative project, the second such chain-wide effort this year at Hearst, is targeting an unidentified health issue and being headed by former San Francisco Chronicle Editor Phil Bronstein. The first project was a January series on the Boy Scouts of America clearing vast acres of forest.

“That has been a plus in this process,” Bronstein said about the variety of newspapers involved, which range from the Chronicle in the west to the Times Union of Albany, N.Y., in the east. “It is a very valuable project when we continue to use a lot of cooperation around the Hearst chain, and including television.”

Times Union editor Rex Smith said his investigative editor, Robert Port, is involved, along with other staffers, including several who are working on a Web piece of the report. “This is a significant new form to try to do an investigative project like this,” said Smith. Bronstein declined to say when the project might be published, but Smith said a July 26 target date had been set.

Along with the Chronicle and the Times Union, the project also has reporting from the San Antonio Express-News, Houston Chronicle, and three Connecticut dailies: Greenwich Time, Stamford Advocate, and the Connecticut Post of Bridgeport.

“It is an important project,” said David McCumber, editorial director of the Connecticut papers and editor of the Stamford and Greenwich dailies. He said three of his reporters are involved.

Bronstein, who holds the title of Hearst editor at large, said more such investigations are likely, including the possibility of bringing in outside investigative organizations: “It is a much more efficient way to start something, from the grassroots rather than top-down. You get people who have different expertise.”

Nielsen Business Media