Mother Jones Weds CIR: Nonprofit Newsrooms Agree To Merge

Two nonprofit news outlets, Mother Jones and The Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), will merge next year, the two announced on Thursday. 

Details of the transaction were not disclosed, but the organizations have secured an initial $21 million in funding commitments over the next three years to conduct the merger. 

The legal name 
will be The Center for Investigative Reporting, but the Mother Jones and "Reveal" brands will keep their names. 

They continue, "The news industry has been battered economically, and investigative reporting which is labor-intensive and expensive, is most at risk. We wanted to create a counterweight to that by combining forces and showing that in-depth reporting can reach a broad audience and make a difference when it's sustained by those who want to hold the powerful accountable."  



The two San Francisco newsrooms have worked together on several projects.  

“Together, the two will reach an audience of 10 million monthly, including 3.5 million across digital platforms, 1.8 million on radio and podcast platforms, and nearly 500,000 print or newsletter subscribers,” 

Bauerlein will serve as CEO and Rosenthal as CEO emeritus in a strategic leadership capacity.

The combined newsroom will be led by Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones editor-in-chief. Al Letson will continue as host of "Reveal," a show distributed to more than 500 radio stations nationwide. 

The new entity will continue producing the Mother Jones magazine and website, the "Reveal" radio show and podcast, video storytelling and documentary film. 

CIR will produce documentary films and news reports through CIR Studios, its TV and film storytelling unit. 

“Ethical, fact checked investigative reporting is one of the pillars of our democracy, and by merging into one newsroom we will increase our ability to deliver stories that would otherwise not be told,” Rosenthal says. “We will also enhance our ability to work with other newsrooms large and small and support a robust and sustainable business model." 

Mother Jones was founded in 1976, and CIR a year later. In addition to its San Francisco headquarters, Mother Jones has offices in New York and Washington, DC. 

In 2016, Mother Jones did an investigative report on the country’s private prison system, which led to reforms by the U.S. government.

Mother Jones also scored a scoop in 2012 when it reported on Mitt Romney’s disparaging comments about “47 percent” of voters, and probably helped sink his presidential bid against Barack Obama that year. 

CIR recently reported on the Mormon Church’s handling of sexual abuse claims in the documentary film "Victim/Suspect." And in 2019, it conducted an investigative report about the high injury rates sustained by workers in Amazon warehouses.  

In one joint project in 2021, they reported on labor conditions on sugar plantations. The result was that the U.S. government banned imports from the company in question. 

“Journalism is in crisis just when democracy needs it most,” Bauerlein says. “By combining these two organizations’ deep track records, we can deliver the hard-hitting journalism that Americans so urgently need.”


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