Today, Issue One announced the creation of The Firewall, the only digital news publication dedicated exclusively to covering political reform issues and efforts at the local, state and national levels. Veteran CQ Roll Call editors David Hawkings and David Meyers will lead the publication as it builds out a reporting team and kicks off coverage ahead of its formal launch in Spring 2019. The first two years of the planned $2.5 million project are supported by the Hewlett Foundation and the Bridge Alliance Education Fund, as the editors continue talking to funders about growing the site beyond its initial capabilities and eight staff.
The Firewall will be a hub of original reporting, profiles, video explainers, opinion pieces, the best coverage from around the country and more for readers seeking to learn more about efforts to strengthen American democracy – including reporters and editors, philanthropists and the general public. It will be editorially independent of Issue One and its funders.
“We are launching The Firewall at a time of intense interest in fixing our country’s political system. Across the country, Republicans, Democrats and independents are fighting to make our democracy less tribal, elections more competitive, policy-making more evidence-based and Congress more effective,” said Issue One CEO Nick Penniman. “The Firewall will make it easier for everyone to tune in — and get plugged in — to the political initiatives and efforts in their own state and at the national level.”
Last election cycle, nearly two dozen reform initiatives passed at the state and local levels — but stories about these complicated and diverse efforts are increasingly difficult to find in today’s media landscape.
“American democracy has become fundamentally challenged since I started covering Washington three decades ago,” Editor-in-Chief David Hawkings said. “A career spent decoding policy and politics for the voters has made me most passionate about the need for more clear-eyed, unbiased reporting that boosts understanding of the dysfunction, explains why it’s threatening our collective future and illuminates efforts to help our government serve everyone.”
“Now is the time to launch a one-stop shop like The Firewall that is dedicated to exhaustively covering political reform issues and efforts around the country,” said Publisher and Executive Editor David Meyers. “So much of today’s media coverage is focused on politicization of debate that the core underlying issues go underreported. We aim to change that.”
David Hawkings has been a reporter, editor and columnist focused on the policies, politics and people of Congress for the past three decades. Most recently he was the senior editor of CQ Roll Call, wrote the “Hawkings Here” column, and hosted a series of videos and podcasts dubbed “Roll Call Decoder.” He is a regular guest on Fox News, Federal News Radio, Newsy and WJLA’s “Government Matters” and has appeared as an analyst on CNN, MSNBC and NPR. Follow David Hawkings on Twitter.
David Meyers has spent the past two decades immersed in political media. He was most recently vice president of business operations for CQ Roll Call, and prior to that was the organization’s vice president of research and content development. Meyers served as director of StateTrack, managing editor for Roll Call, and ran the day-to-day newsroom operations and led development of RollCall.com. He served as president of the Washington Press Club Foundation from July 2013 through June 2015. Follow David Meyers on Twitter.
Nick Penniman is the founder and CEO of Issue One, the leading cross-partisan political reform group in Washington that unites Republicans, Democrats, and independents in the movement to fix our broken political system. He co-authored “Nation on the Take” in 2016 and was previously the founder and executive director of the Huffington Post Investigative Fund, Washington director of the Schumann Center for Media and Democracy and publisher of Washington Monthly.