After months of anticipation, the merger agreement between the Bay Citizen and Center for Investigative Reporting was signed today.
The term “merger,” though, brings thoughts of equality and partnership. This joining of organizations is essentially an acquisition.
According to a Bay Citizen article published Tuesday, CIR is assuming a dominant role on the board and in the management of the combined organizations. Not a single member of the Bay Citizen’s editorial or technology management staff will have a leadership role.
The Bay Citizen also reported it will most likely “no longer cover breaking news or culture, as CIR leaders have said they see those as commodities that don’t fit the expanded organization’s core mission.”
CIR will operate three brands divided by the interests they serve. The two-year-old Bay Citizen will continue covering the local region. California Watch (founded in 2009) will cover statewide issues, and CIR will continue to operate much as it has been for the past 30 years.
Current Chairman of The Bay Citizen’s board of directors Jeff Ubben and the family of the late Bay Citizen founder Warren Hellman have committed more than $4 million in additional funding to the now-merged publications.
On Tuesday, the boards of directors of both organizations approved the merger. Under California Law, California Attorney General Kamala Harris oversees mergers of non-profit organizations and has 20 days to review and choose to approve or terminate the merger.