Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
How The Seattle Times is working with the Seattle Foundation to raise millions for its investigative work
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
Aug. 17, 2010, 4 p.m.

Seeking Sustainability, Part 1: Voice of San Diego’s Woolley and others on the role of the “venture mindset”

Seeking Sustainability: Presentation on entrepreneurialism and venture mindset from Knight Foundation on Vimeo.

This spring, the Knight Foundation hosted a roundtable discussion exploring a crucial issue in journalism: sustaining nonprofit news organizations after an initial injection of funding gets them off the ground. The Seeking Sustainability conversation sought to examine nonprofit outfits not just as recipients of philanthropic funding, but also — and more so — as businesses that share many of the same concerns that their for-profit counterparts do.

“Traditional media companies have been particularly distressed by shifts in the markets and business models that historically supported them — and the conversation about how to ‘save’ or ‘reinvent’ journalism has been largely focused on their concerns,” Knight noted in its summary of the roundtable. But

to a growing group of practitioners, funders and observers…the challenge is not saving traditional news organizations or traditional forms of journalism. The challenge is creating, strengthening and protecting informed communities and local information ecosystems, of which journalism is a necessary component.

Thus enters the nonprofit model, which allows organizations to pursue a journalistic mission without the competing demands of operating a for-profit business. Nonprofit news startups have been created in communities across the country, most with funding from major donors or foundations. The Knight Foundation alone has funded more than 200 experiments with what it calls a “build to learn” approach.

Knight convened the Seeking Sustainability conversation, in turn, to benefit from the education those startups have been receiving: to share practical insights about improving and sustaining nonprofit journalism. And the foundation, thankfully, recorded the discussion. In a series this week, we’ll pass along some videos of those talks (and, as always, we’d love to continue the discussion in the comments section).

In today’s first pair of videos, Buzz Woolley, chairman of Voice of San Diego, discusses the power of what he calls the “venture mindset” in journalism (above). In the second video (below), Woolley is joined by an all-star panel of nonprofit startup leaders, including — in general order of appearance — J-Lab‘s Jan Schaffer, the Chicago News Cooperative‘s Peter Osnos and Jim O’Shea, the St. Louis Beacon‘s Margaret Wolf Freivogel, Texas Tribune‘s Evan Smith, Voice of San Diego‘s Andrew Donohue and Scott Lewis, Knight president Alberto Ibargüen, the Center for Investigative Reporting‘s Robert Rosenthal, the Connecticut Mirror‘s James Cutie, The Bay Citizen‘s Lisa Frazier, Oakland Local‘s Susan Mernit, and the New Haven Independent‘s Paul Bass.

POSTED     Aug. 17, 2010, 4 p.m.
SHARE THIS STORY
   
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
How The Seattle Times is working with the Seattle Foundation to raise millions for its investigative work
Hint: It starts with impactful, inclusive journalism.
Here’s what The New York Times’ The Upshot looks like five years in
“You look all over the paper, in all kinds of different ways, and it’s clear that readers had a demand for this sort of journalism. This funny mix of really substantive on really big, complicated topics, but presented in a really approachable way.”
What the EU’s copyright overhaul means — and what might change for big tech
The reform seeks to ensure publishers and other copyright holders are paid their fair share when their work appears online. But critics fear it could have broader implications.