The recently formed Investigative News Network (INN), a collaboration of 32 non-profit news organizations producing public service journalism, today announced digital publishing executive Kevin L. J. Davis as its inaugural chief executive officer. He starts work June 21.
In addition, the Network said today that it has received a new two-year, $200,000 grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation toward the development of business and revenue models to help sustain INN.
Both announcements were made at the annual Investigative Reporters and Editors Conference in Las Vegas, at which many INN members are speaking and meeting.
Davis, whose official start date is June 21st, has served in leadership roles at several leading media Web sites and brings 16 years of specialty publishing experience to INN. He arrives from The Wrap News (TheWrap.com), where he was chief operating officer of the online publication which chronicles the entertainment industry.
Before The Wrap News, Davis served as president and chief operating officer of Hollywood.com, an online movie and entertainment hub. Earlier in the decade, he held a series of high-level publishing positions at Variety Group.
“I am both excited and humbled at the opportunity to harness the collective work of our member organizations to create a sustainable, independent news collaborative that will provide important public service journalism,” Davis said.
He added, “I believe that the very technology that has facilitated the near collapse of the advertiser-driven publishing model provides new opportunities to syndicate and sustain non-profit news.” Davis will work out of Los Angeles.
INN was founded in July 2009 at a conference in Pocantico, N.Y., to bring together the strengths of a growing number of non-profit news organizations, including The Center for Public Integrity, the Center for Investigative Reporting, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, and others. Currently there are 32 member organizations. (For more information, please visit www.inn.org.)
“Kevin brings exactly the right combination of publishing and online media expertise we were looking for,” said Brant Houston, INN’s Steering Committee Chairman and the Knight Chair of Investigative Reporting at the University of Illinois. “It’s an auspicious time to create new business models for the stellar work of the Network members.”
INN is supported by grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, philanthropist Buzz Woolley, the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation, the McCormick Foundation, the Open Society Institute, the William Penn Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Surdna Foundation.
The Knight Foundation supports not only the development of the field-building INN, but, through individual grants, many of its members organizations.
The INN grant is part of Knight’s Investigative Reporting Initiative, announced at last year’s IRE annual conference. The Initiative is a $15 million effort to help this important form of journalism find new media platforms and funding models in the digital age. Reports and publications are available at www.knightfoundation.org.