- Kirsten Ballard
Jim Hummel started as a reporter at The Providence Journal 35 years ago. He spent over a decade there before moving on to ABC6, where he became well-known for his “You Paid for It” segments. Now, thanks to a new partnership, he’s going back to his start.
This October, The Journal will begin publishing investigative stories from The Hummel Report, which Hummel started in 2008 after becoming uncomfortable with the sensation turn in news. The Journal and providencejournal.com will also begin carrying stories about Rhode Island institutions that do good works, created by a Hummel Report affiliate, The Rhode Island Spotlight.
The Hummel Report focuses primarily on exposing government waste and corruption. Hummel’s series of stories in 2010 led directly to state and federal investigations into – and eventually jail time for – former Central Falls Mayor Charles Moreau. An investigation in June detailed how the General Assembly spends its $42 million annual budget.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have spent my entire career in the same media market and changed mediums to reflect the profound changes in journalism: from print, to broadcast, to online and now back to incorporating print into our work again,” Hummel said. “I’m particularly excited that the collaboration with The Journal will give us a wider audience for our long-form video investigations and feature stories.”
The articles will be published in The Journal, online and at hummelreport.org. Executive editor of The Journal, Alan Rosenberg, says they are still working on timing because newspaper and website ideal timing isn’t always the same. The publication timing might change from piece to piece. “Sometimes we don’t want to give anyone a heads up before it hits the paper,” he explains.
So far, the reaction to the partnership has been almost unanimously positive. There will be two investigative pieces each month and nine Rhode Island Spotlight pieces. Rosenberg says readers have wanted to see more investigative journalism and local stories.
“Jim’s stories really hit those requirements,” he says. “A lot of his work is about local officials, local people who are abusing their office in some way.”
The coverage will be supplemental to the investigative pieces done by The Journal staff.
“We have a lot of good local stories coming our way,” Rosenberg says.