WASHINGTON, March 7, 2022 – The Center for Public Integrity today announced that Jin Ding, an experienced journalism fundraiser, has joined its leadership team as chief of staff, part of a strategy of hiring that has transformed one of the oldest investigative newsrooms into an organization whose staff is majority people of color.
Public Integrity also announced that Maya Srikrishnan will join the staff as a reporter, after six years at the Voice of San Diego, where the fluent Spanish-speaker covered housing, land use and U.S.-Mexico border and immigration issues.
Public Integrity’s transformation is part of a deliberate culture shift designed to create journalism that connects with diverse communities and resonates with the young audiences who are journalism’s future, said Public Integrity CEO Paul Cheung.
“This is how journalism can win,” he said. “If you look at the shows streaming on Netflix or Hulu, the inclusive storylines and diverse cast reflects today’s audience. Yet journalism, especially investigative journalism, lags behind in inclusive storytelling.”
Two decades of diversity initiatives in the news industry have had mixed results, with numerous journalists of color reporting that their hiring didn’t change the top-down culture that undervalued their experience. Cheung – the child of immigrants who operated a Chinese restaurant in the New York area – is determined to do things differently.
“We’re building a culture of journalism that’s done in partnership with the communities we cover. I’m convinced that’s where our next Pulitzer is going to come from,” Cheung said.
Public Integrity won Pulitzers in 2014 and 2017, and continues to be recognized with numerous journalism awards each year. With the latest hires, people of color make up over half of the organization’s staff and 37% of leadership. Women make up more than 70% of leadership. In 2016, Public Integrity’s staff was 85% white and 59% men.
Ding comes to Public Integrity from The Associated Press, where she co-managed AP’s fundraising efforts and maintained relationships with funders. Last year at the AP, Jin raised more than $3 million for inclusive journalism, education, climate, and investigative journalism. In her role, she liaises between funders and various editorial departments at the AP to operationalize grant executions.
Ding is also the current elected vice president of finance for the Asian American Journalists Association, where she works with the association’s Executive Director and CFO on a range of financial oversights such as fundraising policies to setting annual budgets to endowment planning. Prior to AP, Jin managed a portfolio of journalism grants at The International Women’s Media Foundation and was the communications and inclusion manager at the Pulitzer Center and a research and marketing analyst for NBC Sports.
“I’ve built paths for news organizations to better understand their audiences, leverage diverse perspectives, strengthen resource pipelines, and empower communities,” Ding said. “It is my honor to join an inclusive newsroom that is countering America’s inequality issues through powerful investigative journalism. ”
Srikrishnan most recently served as associate editor for civic education at the Voice of San Diego, and was leading the organization’s diversity, equity and inclusion work. She has a bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and history from the University of Texas at Austin and two master’s degrees from Columbia, in international affairs and journalism. She is fluent in Spanish and served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Panama for two and a half years, where she trained Panamanian teachers in teaching English, math and more. She has led the Asian American Journalists Association’s student journalism program and was a member of the Online News Association’s Women’s Leadership Accelerator last year.
Founded in 1989, Public Integrity is an independent, nonpartisan and nonprofit news organization dedicated to investigating systems and circumstances that contribute to inequality in the United States. Last year, investigative projects that won awards included Hidden Epidemics, a series that revealed the unequal impact of climate change on communities, and Hidden Hardships, which showed how the migrant agricultural workers who assure the country’s food supply were unable to access COVID protections.
The new season of its Ambie Award-winning podcast, “The Heist,” confronts a centuries-long injustice: the propagation of the enormous wealth gap between Black and white Americans, and how a tenacious and entrepreneurial woman in Iowa is fighting back using the tools of the banking systems that helped perpetuate it.