Freedom of the Press
Innovative partnerships to support independent, investigative journalism in underserved communities.
Expanding National Initiative to Protect Journalism
The Protecting Journalists Pro Bono Program (“ProJourn”), an innovative partnership founded by DWT and Microsoft in 2020 to support independent, investigative journalism in underserved communities, continued to flourish and expand throughout 2022. ProJourn provides journalists with pro bono prepublication review and access to public records. In its pilot phase, ProJourn paired Microsoft in-house counsel with lawyers from DWT’s renowned media team to serve clients in Washington state and California.
ProJourn’s successful pilot program led the Knight Foundation to award the program a $1.3 million grant. In addition to this grant, ProJourn receives critical support from the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of Press, which houses the program. ProJourn’s growth includes expanding by onboarding more law firms and, in the near future, other corporate legal departments.
Defeating Efforts to Destroy an Investigative Nonprofit
For five decades, the Center for Investigative Reporting (CIR), through its news platform Reveal, has been an essential journalistic voice in the U.S. But the organization faced a fight for its survival after its reporting raised important questions about an international charity called Planet Aid.
In response to Reveal’s 18-month investigation, the charity sued for libel and litigated the matter aggressively, with discovery alone unfolding over two years and encompassing hundreds of thousands of documents, plus audio recordings of 200 interviews conducted around the world. As CIR’s insurance dwindled, DWT and Covington & Burling LLP kept the newsroom alive by taking the matter on pro bono and then winning a crucial anti-SLAPP motion in the U.S. District Court in San Francisco.