Bill  Birnbauer Author of Evaluating Organization Development

Bill Birnbauer

Adjunct Senior Lecturer
Monash University

Bill Birnbauer is a former award-winning journalist and academic, specialising in public interest and investigative journalism. He was one of the first non-US journalists invited to join the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists and continues involvement with the organisation. He is a former John S. Knight Fellow at Stanford University. His particular interest is the philanthropic funding of nonprofit investigative reporting, its sustainability and ethics.


Bill Birnbauer was a print journalist in Melbourne, Australia, for 33 years. He worked at The Herald, The Age and The Sunday Age. His roles included investigative reporter, feature writer, State political reporter, medical reporter, chief of staff, news editor and night editor. Following a buyout, he moved to a tenured research and teaching role at the School of Media, Film and Journalism at Monash University. He completed a PhD at Swinburne University, then did further research and rewriting to publish, The rise of nonprofit investigative journalism in the United States.
He is retired but serves as the vice chair of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists network committee and has roles at several other public interest journalism and university organisations.

Areas of Research / Professional Expertise

    Nonprofit investigative journalism
    Business models for journalism
    Ethics of foundation funding

Personal Interests

    Aikido, tai chi.


Featured Title
 Featured Title - The Rise of NonProfit Investigative Journalism in the United States; Birnbauer - 1st Edition book cover


Nonprofit Quarterly

Is Funding for Nonprofit Journalism Predetermining its Lack of Local Diversity?

Published: Jan 29, 2019 by Nonprofit Quarterly
Authors: Rob Meiksins and Ruth McCambridge

... the numbers and the on-the-ground reality of a grinding but passionate starvation cycle for smaller local news operations can be pretty stark. In Birnbauer’s book, he cites Mc Nelly Torres, an Emmy award-winning journalist and co-founder of the small Florida Center for Investigative Reporting, who says that she figures that her chances of receiving a big grant from a national foundation are “one to a million. [sic] The big guys are always on top…so the little guys always struggle.”

The Conversation

The biggest nonprofit media outlets are thriving but smaller ones may not survive

Published: Jan 17, 2019 by The Conversation
Authors: Bill Birnauer

I’ve found a huge disparity between the most successful nonprofit news organizations and the smaller outfits, with some operating on the “sweat equity, heart and hope” of journalists who struggle to raise funds.

Poynter Institute

A fresh look at the rise of nonprofit journalism — and the issues that remain

Published: Jan 06, 2019 by Poynter Institute
Authors: Rick Edmonds

To quote from the review: "Birnbauer delivers a sober perspective on a distinctly American phenomenon: what journalism funders want, what non-profit entrepreneurs can deliver, the scope of the sector after 20 years of growth and tough questions about its ethics and sustainability''.

International Consortium of Investigative Journalists

How nonprofit newsrooms have featured in a ‘comeback’ year for investigative journalism

Published: Dec 27, 2018 by International Consortium of Investigative Journalists
Authors: Hamish Boland-Rudder

Americans who are politically engaged and civic minded are disgusted by the lies, misrepresentations and general shenanigans of the political class, epitomized by U.S. President Donald Trump and his attacks on media companies and journalists.

The Conversation (Australia)

Philanthropy is funding serious journalism in the US, it could work for Australia too

Published: Jun 16, 2017 by The Conversation (Australia)
Authors: Bill Birnbauer

Non-profit investigative journalism centres have invigorated watchdog reporting in the United States over the past decade, a period commonly associated with despair over the state of serious journalism.