Sinclair Broadcast launches national investigative team

Sinclair Broadcast Group plans to launch a national investigative team of reporters and producers, the Hunt Valley-based broadcaster said Tuesday.

Sinclair, the nation’s largest broadcaster, said a staff of reporters and producers from Sinclair-owned stations and from Circa, Sinclair’s news and entertainment website targeting millennials, will produce local and national stories.

“We are having incredible success with accountability reporting in multiple markets,” Scott Livingston, Sinclair’s vice president of news, said in an announcement. “Viewers want an honest presentation of the news and appreciate the hard work and dedication required to research and uncover the truth regarding the issues that impact their lives.”

Sinclair plans to shift some daily news coverage resources in many markets to investigative journalism and boost the total number of investigative reporters to more than 100. Twenty-two of Sinclair’s news operations have investigative reporters, including the largest team of 11 investigative journalists at WJLA in Washington.

Livingston said Sinclair’s planned $3.9 billion takeover of Tribune Media Co. “will add more opportunity to collaborate with our local newsrooms to create even more investigative content that benefits all of our viewers.”

In 2015, Sinclair launched a weekly national investigative news show, Full Measure with Sharyl Attkisson, which is entering its third season. The company said the show’s viewership has jumped more than 100 percent among viewers ages 25 to 54, outperforming cable news programming while only reaching 38 percent of the country.

Six months ago, Sinclair launched Project Baltimore, an ongoing investigation of the public schools systems in Baltimore and Baltimore County, led by four journalists at WBFF Fox 45 in Baltimore. The team is looking into test scores, underperforming schools and high dropout rates.

“We are exposing why and are focused on being the mouthpiece for parents who want something better,” said Chris Papst, the team’s chief investigative reporter.

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