An intelligent piece by Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson that looks at the realities of running a non-profit journalism venture, in this instance ProPublica.
Despite its Pulitzer Prize win, the site still needs the leverage afforded by partnerships with traditional media, says editor-in-chief Paul Steiger: “[O]ne of ProPublica’s biggest stories: on its own website, it attracted 60,000 page views. But on its partner newspaper’s site it was read 1.1m times.”
Yet business models being tested by other for-profit media may not fit the bill for a non-profit news organisation:
In spite of others’ hopes for “tip jar” models, donations from readers have so far been small. An appeal after ProPublica’s Pulitzer win only paid for the celebratory champagne.
Mr Steiger says the online subscription experiments being launched from News International to the New York Times hold little appeal. “We want our stuff to have an impact. It seems a little counterproductive to say ‘pay us’.”
A useful analysis from the States that tackles some of the tricky ground for non-profit journalistic endeavours.
How can such centers and networks, with their many types of journalists, agree on editorial standards and practices? How can non-profit enterprises be independent if they are closer to, and more dependent on, a small number of supporters? This puts power in the hands of donors.
The Associated Press has signed a deal to distribute the work of of four non-profit journalism groups.
Work by the Center for Public Integrity, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and ProPublica will be free for publication by the agency’s 1,500 newspaper members.