Nieman Foundation at Harvard
HOME
          
LATEST STORY
Local news projects rush to fill The Vindicator’s void, with the McClatchy-Google network putting down roots
ABOUT                    SUBSCRIBE
April 24, 2014, 9:30 a.m.
Business Models

Philanthropy Magazine, the magazine of the Philanthropy Roundtable, dedicated its newest issue to a question very familiar to Lab readers, albeit usually expressed in a less absolutist form: “Can Philanthropy Save Journalism?”

The upheaval in the traditional business model for journalism has meant a rapid rise of nonprofit news outlets. That, in turn, has led to questions about how those outlets can find sustainability for the long term — or just gain 501(c)(3) status.

The magazine wanted to pull back and ask a few big questions:

Can philanthropists and businessmen with a taste for “social investing” do more than just soften the losses at news-reporting organizations whose business models have collapsed? Can they subsidize certain kinds of investigating and publishing to serve public interests? Can they help discover and extend new formats, new reporters, and new subjects that will strengthen journalism’s role in maintaining the health and freedom of American society?

The issue features a contrarian take from the oft-contrarian former New York Sun editor Seth Lipsky, who argues that news organizations need a profit motive to be self-reliant. Lipsky writes:

From the Bolshevik revolution to the golden age of newspapers, the lesson of history is that self-supporting profitability provides both the entrepreneurial force and the absolute autonomy that make a powerful and independent press possible. Philanthropists who want to keep journalism vigorous might therefore want to spend less energy setting up ersatz newspapers and more time building up the profitability of our marketplaces, and protecting the right to private property — which is what the press ultimately is.

Another feature goes around the horn to take a look at the state of nonprofit newsrooms and the funders behind the scenes, including ProPublica, the Texas Tribune, First Look Media, and MinnPost. The issue also looks at how a donor-funded conference, the Faith Angle Forum, provides reporters with insight into religious issues that may cross into their coverage areas. You can find all the stories here.

Show tags Show comments / Leave a comment
 
Join the 50,000 who get the freshest future-of-journalism news in our daily email.
Local news projects rush to fill The Vindicator’s void, with the McClatchy-Google network putting down roots
“We’re ultimately trying to do this as small and nimble as possible so that we can be seeing what’s working and throw out what’s not — and quickly being able to shift in a way that’s a little bit harder when you’re working with a 150-year-old newspaper.”
Hey comment mods, you doin’ okay? A new study shows moderating uncivil comments reduces the moderator’s trust in news
“The toll of moderating uncivil comments may be much stronger for moderators putting in several hours or a full day.”
Attempting a meta-network for local news, Facebook announces community-building grantees
Recipients include 100 Days in Appalachia, Block Club Chicago, Chalkbeat, and the Tyler Loop, among others.