Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
In a corner of Brazil, local reporters are switching to government jobs and the state is achieving “media capture”
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 31, 2009, 11:22 a.m.

The promise of a newspaper’s investigative spinoff

The latest edition of American Journalism Review has an in-depth piece on the thinking behind the San Diego Union-Tribune‘s willingness to spin off (though that’s not the official phraseology) its investigative team as an independent nonprofit, the Watchdog Institute.

Rather than wait for the ax to fall on her four-person team, investigative editor Lorie Hearn did the deed on her own terms — terms that allow her team to publishing their work in the U-T, but also getting the team off the publisher’s books. As part of the new relationship, the Union-Tribune will pay the new nonprofit a substantial amount of money. In return, the U-T gets first dibs on a specified number of investigative stories. But Hearn also has freedom to shop stories around to other media — and to develop her own philanthropic base. She already has one donor.

(Hearn made the deal with a representative of Platinum Equity, the Beverly Hills buyout firm that recently bought the U-T and currently is bidding for the Boston Globe.)

Can this kind of partnership help work, for both journalists and publishers on a broader scale? We’ll see. But Hearn clearly sees the arrangement as a win-win. “I’m not abandoning the Union-Tribune,” Hearn tells AJR. says. “I am actually doing this because I want to help it survive.”

POSTED     Aug. 31, 2009, 11:22 a.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
In a corner of Brazil, local reporters are switching to government jobs and the state is achieving “media capture”
A strategy of “capturing the main professionals from the newspapers, in their respective fields of work, and thus reduce the tensions of being disturbed by the journalists every single day.” “Memory is crucial for journalism, and we are losing it.”
Focus here, not there: These are the gaps in political misinformation research
“Persistent debates about what constitutes ‘fake news’ and distinctions between other types of false information are mostly distracting.” Plus: A guide to covering misinformation without burning your news org or your readers, and a discussion of filter bubbles as not-really-a-thing.
How are paywalled news outlets preparing to serve residents in California’s mega-power shutoffs?
“If we’re going to have news that is paid for by audiences, we have to talk about the news that should never be behind paywalls.”