Washington, D.C. — Matt DeRienzo, an award-winning newsroom veteran with over 25 years of experience leading newsrooms, has been named editor in chief at the Center for Public Integrity.
DeRienzo will lead one of America’s most storied nonprofit investigative journalism organizations at a time of unprecedented challenges for the media environment, which has been hard hit by COVID-19. He brings a record of successfully transforming newsrooms, from helming award-winning news coverage to substantively and innovatively growing audience and funding.
“I am excited that Matt will be our new editor in chief,” said Public Integrity CEO Susan Smith Richardson. “He has a strong understanding of the nonprofit media landscape and how to serve and engage audiences. That is critical to our future. The coronavirus pandemic has shown us how policies emanating from Washington affect people across the country. Matt’s deep connections in local and community journalism will help make our work more accessible, relevant and grounded in communities across the country at this unprecedented time in the nation.”
DeRienzo was previously vice president of news at Hearst Connecticut, where he oversaw a national investigation into sex abuse at Boys & Girls Clubs that was recently recognized with an Investigative Reporters & Editors (IRE) national award. As editor of the New Haven Register, he led a team of more than 100 journalists in covering the mass murder at Sandy Hook Elementary School and its aftermath.
During his tenure in New Haven, the Register also received the Robert C. McGruder Award for Leadership in Newsroom Diversity from the American Society of Newspaper Editors. An early leader in reader and community engagement, he also won the Associated Press Managing Editors’ Innovator of the Year Award for launching North America’s first “newsroom café.”
“I’m humbled by the opportunity to serve the Center for Public Integrity’s team of outstanding journalists and by the potential the Center has to assist, amplify and collaborate with local news organizations and new audiences who are passionate about democracy and the public trust working for all people,” DeRienzo said.
DeRienzo was the first full-time executive director of LION Publishers, a mostly volunteer-run nonprofit that supports local independent online news organizations. During his time there, he helped raise millions of dollars in sponsorship and grant funding for the organization and its members and increased its diversity.
Most recently, he co-managed the Facebook Journalism Project COVID-19 Local News Relief Grant Program, which received more than 2,000 applications and is part of $25 million in funding Facebook has earmarked to help local news organizations through the crisis.
DeRienzo has taught journalism at Quinnipiac University and the University of New Haven and is a 2018 Sulzberger fellow at Columbia University School of Journalism. He is also a columnist at Editor & Publisher magazine.
The Center for Public Integrity last year celebrated its 30th year anniversary from its founding by former “60 Minutes” producer Charles Lewis, with the mission of reporting on abuses of power. Among its many noteworthy stories were those that exposed how major political contributors were rewarded with overnight stays at the White House; how doctors and lawyers worked with the coal industry to defeat benefits claims of miners dying from black lung; and how the wealthy have exploited offshore tax havens in the Panama Papers, both of which were awarded Pulitzers.
Recently, Public Integrity’s “Copy, Paste, Legislate” series, which exposed the hidden hand of lobbyists in shaping laws across all 50 states, won the 2020 Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting in partnership with USA TODAY and The Arizona Republic.
DeRienzo joins Public Integrity on June 1. He can be reached at email@example.com.
Read more in Inside Public Integrity
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