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The Center for Public Integrity officially announced the spinoff of The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) today.

“We’re intensely proud of the success of the consortium and also proud to have birthed it, nurtured it and sustained it for nearly two decades,” said John Dunbar, chief executive officer of the Center for Public Integrity. “We wish them nothing but continued success.”

The ICIJ has tremendous momentum and its leaders believe it is ready to capitalize on its record of global collaboration and grow independently.

“As we begin this new chapter, we remain grateful to the Center for Public Integrity for its 19 years of collaboration and its ongoing support as we make this transition,” said Gerard Ryle, director of ICIJ. “We believe this new structure will allow us to extend our global reach and impact even farther and build on the lessons we’ve learned and the successes we’ve enjoyed.”

ICIJ was the creation of the Center’s founder, Charles Lewis. The ICIJ reached new heights in 2016 with the worldwide reverberations from the Panama Papers investigation, which it coordinated across a network of more than 400 journalists around the world. The effort recently won a George Polk award for financial journalism.

The spinoff received board approval earlier this month and the separation was finalized Friday, February 24, 2017. The Center’s board of directors decided that enabling the ICIJ to chart its own course will allow it to pursue new opportunities and options for funding and continue to pursue its crucial work.

“We wish Gerard and the consortium the best of luck in their independent adventure, and we at the Center look forward to creating other such great enterprises in the future,” said Scott Siegler, Center board co-chairman.

Begun in 1997 as an effort to expand the Center’s model of watchdog journalism worldwide, the ICIJ has developed into an unprecedented international network of reporters and media organizations, culminating in some of the largest and most complex journalistic collaborations in history.

The Center for Public Integrity has been a pioneer in the field of non-partisan, nonprofit investigative journalism since its founding 27 years ago by Lewis, an investigative journalist and former producer for 60 Minutes.

The organization won the Pulitzer Prize for investigative journalism in 2014 for its Breathless and Burdened investigation and has been a leader in tracking the influence of money in politics, adding teams on the environment, national security, justice, economics and technology.

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