Shedding a light on U.S. companies


Maddy Roth of American Journalism Review writes about the Southern Investigative Reporting Foundation, a nonprofit journalism organization started by former Fortune writer Roddy Boyd to conduct investigative reporting on companies.

Roth writes, “Boyd saw that as media budgets shrank and investigative reporting sagged under the weight of the financial crisis and the impact of the digital revolution on traditional journalism, business reporting in particular took the hit. And because of this, as SIRF’s brochure reads, ‘concerned citizens, legislators and regulators have had little insight into the workings of investment and commercial banks, rating agencies and other powerful financial institutions as they have expanded, embarked on complex fiscal arrangements, raked in billions of dollars in profit and, in some cases, abruptly collapsed.’

“And so Boyd, author of ‘Fatal Risk: A Cautionary Tale of AIG’s Corporate Suicide,’ launched SIRF last month. He built a board of directors, hired a lawyer and accountants, and is taking the first steps toward constructing a nonprofit news outlet from scratch.

“He settled on the nonprofit model because he was determined to avoid conflicts of interest. He wants to make it clear that the foundation and its future employees will possess no economic interest in any companies they report on.

“‘We do not feel that anyone else is doing anything like this in the mainstream media,’ Boyd says. ‘While some short-sellers do brilliant research, they are doing it to make a short-term profit. We do it for free.’”

Read more here. DISCLOSURE: I am on the SIRF board.