News Startups Guide

Watchdog New England

A catalyst for investigative reporting in Boston and beyond

July 11, 2011

watchdog_new_england.pngBOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS — Watchdog New England, the website of the nonprofit Initiative for Investigative Reporting at Northeastern University, aims to revive and strengthen investigative reporting throughout New England’s six states–not as a news outlet in its own right, but as an ally to the region’s more than eighty daily newspapers and countless weeklies. For now, the site primarily exists as a compendium of links to databases, informational documents, and other online resources that inspire and fuel in-depth, hard-hitting reporting. Eventually, the site hopes to produce investigative stories in-house and syndicate them to news organizations throughout New England. Though the initiative is still in its budding stages, New England journalists will be happy to know that two of the veteran reporters behind the website are no strangers to in-depth investigations–nor the Pulitzer Prize.

  • Read more about Watchdog New England
    • “The ultimate goal is to make it possible for smaller community news organizations–which do not have substantial resources–to do serious watchdog and investigative reporting,” says Walter V. Robinson, the website’s director, who, after a more than thirty-year career with the Boston Globe, is now a professor of journalism at Northeastern.

      The site is currently partnered with two area news organizations, the online-only Cambridge Day and the print weekly Dorchester Reporter. Watchdog New England received grants from both the Knight Foundation and the Ethics and Excellence in Journalism Foundation in order to help these organizations produce investigative stories. One example of the fruits of these partnerships: In May 2011, Rachel Zarrell, at the time one of Robinson’s students, teamed up with Cambridge Day editor Marc Levy to look at a

      City: Boston

      Isaac Olson is a contributor to CJR.