Heritage unveils new Scribe investigative journalism feature 

Rob Bluey heads the Heritage Foundation's Center for Media and Public Policy and is a former assistant editor of Human Events. He's also known in conservative circles as among the brightest emerging stars on the Right side of the online news and opinion universe.

Those are all reasons why Bluey now has a new role at Heritage - investigative journalism, the products of which will appear regularly on Scribe, a new feature on the think tank's Foundry blog. Scribe represents a recognition by Heritage that non-profit journalism is here to stay and provides organization's like Heritage with a valuable new avenue of making its voice heard in the public policy debate.

"The addition of Scribe comes at an important time for think tank journalism," Bluey said. "Rapid expansion at the state level — mostly through the work of the Franklin Center and State Policy Network — inspired Heritage to move in this direction in 2010. And as national nonprofit journalism organizations continue to gain prominence, we are paying close attention to the trend."

With that trend in mind, Bluey expects Scribe to feature an interesting mix of "breaking news and analysis with long-form investigative stories. We’ll produce news-oriented video packages and short documentaries on policy issues. We also plan to offer a mix of traditional blog features to complement The Foundry."

If that sounds interesting, it should because Bluey has a solid record of producing important stories. Here's how he describes three of the most recent:

"Take the recent example of Yucca Mountain, in the news of late because Nuclear Regulatory Commission Chairman Gregory Jaczko withheld information from his fellow commissioners about the proposed nuclear waste repository.

"Last fall Heritage requested the NRC’s safety evaluation report. It took months for the agency to respond to our Freedom of Information Act request, but when it was released, Heritage was the first to have it, prompting interest across Capitol Hill.

"Then there’s the case of the Wisconsin public-sector union protests. Heritage’s reporting team was on the ground shortly after the protests began in February, producing a popular myth vs. fact video, securing an interview with Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) and telling a story about labor unions that complements our policy research.

"Oftentimes our work will expose stories that are below the radar and don’t get the type of attention we think they deserve. Take last week’s hearing of the Consumer Product Safety Commission on crib safety.

"In a matter of weeks, an estimated 100,000 cribs face disposal because of a government-mandated deadline the commission refused to move. It’s not that the cribs are unsafe or a hazard to children; the CPSC simply refused to listen to the concerns of business about selling the cribs before the June 28 deadline."

I've worked with Bluey for several years, both on pieces he has done for The Washington Examiner and in the Computer-Assisted Investigative Reporting Boot Camps that Heritage co-sponsors with the Center for Responsive Politics and the Sunlight Foundation.

Keep an eye on this guy because he's smart, works hard and has a take-no-prisoners approach to getting the facts.

For more on Scribe, go here.


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