After eight years at the helm, Center for Public Integrity Executive Director Bill Buzenberg announced today that he will be stepping down from the nonprofit, investigative news organization at the end of this year. Following a distinguished 40-year career in journalism, capped off last month when the Center won its first Pulitzer Prize, Buzenberg will make way for new leadership at the Center in 2015.
“My tenure here has been the most rewarding, demanding and invigorating time in my career. I am extremely proud of the Center for Public Integrity’s many accomplishments. I wish to express my sincere gratitude to the reporters, editors and the entire staff who have helped make the Center one of the best investigative news organizations in the nation and the world,” Buzenberg said.
Buzenberg informed the Center’s Board of Directors of his plans in February. The Board has formed a search committee and hired a firm to seek out the organization’s next executive director. To ensure a smooth transition, Buzenberg has agreed to serve as CPI’s chief until a replacement is named.
“I want to extend the Board’s thanks and appreciation to Bill Buzenberg for his remarkable leadership as executive director of the Center,” said Bruce Finzen, chairman of the Center’s board of directors. “Bill’s decision to step down comes at a time when the Center has just experienced one of the most successful years, editorially and financially, in its 25-year history. Bill is definitely leaving on a high note.”
In his tenure as executive director, Buzenberg worked with the Center’s talented journalists on some of the most important investigative articles the organization has ever produced. Last year, the Center’s International Consortium of Investigative Journalists produced “Secrecy for Sale,” a massive project exposing a global network of offshore tax havens. And the Center won its first Pulitzer Prize for “Breathless and Burdened: Dying from Black Lung, Buried by Law and Medicine,” a landmark investigation detailing the controversial denials of black lung benefits to coal miners.
In addition to the Pulitzer, in recent months the Center has won the Goldsmith Prize for Investigative Reporting, the Edgar A. Poe Award from the White House Correspondents’ Association, a George Polk Award, an Overseas Press Club award, an Investigative Reporters and Editors award, a Scripps Howard award and the Paul Tobenkin Memorial Award from Columbia Journalism School.
“Bill has taken the Center to its greatest heights yet,” said Charles Lewis, Center founder, and now executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University. “I deeply appreciate his important leadership these past years. Bravo and thank you!”
Buzenberg leaves the Center in solid financial shape. Working with the Center’s development department and board of directors, he has helped raise more than $50 million over the past eight years.
“As I move on to a new stage in my journalism career, I can truly say the Center has never been in a stronger position,” Buzenberg said.
Buzenberg was named executive director in January 2007.
Previously, he was vice president of news for National Public Radio, as well as London bureau chief from 1978-1997. He was responsible for doubling the size of the NPR news audience during his tenure. He launched “Talk of the Nation,” expanded “All Things Considered” and extended NPR's newscast services to 24 hours a day.
He was also senior vice president of news at American Public Media/Minnesota Public Radio from 1998-2006 where he won his second DuPont-Columbia gold baton. A former Peace Corps volunteer in South America, Buzenberg has been recognized for his work numerous times, including winning the prestigious Edward R. Murrow Award, public radio's highest honor. He was co-editor of the memoirs of the late CBS News President Richard Salant (Salant, CBS, and the Battle for the Soul of Broadcast Journalism).
A graduate of Kansas State University, Buzenberg has also been awarded fellowships for graduate studies at the University of Michigan, the Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies in Bologna, and the Institute of Politics at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government.
“My passion while working in newspapers, on public radio and at the Center has always been to report and disseminate tough, accurate, independent reporting on significant issues. I am certain the Center will continue in that essential tradition in the years ahead,” Buzenberg said.