By Steve Outing
The decline of the newspaper industry and its continuing spate of layoffs is bad news for investigative journalism. As publishers cut back operations to deal with ad revenue declines, investigative projects become a luxury. I’ve written before about this problem, and suggested that non-profits and foundations may be one way to save this important watchdog role of the press.
Here’s an example of that scenario beginning to play out. A new non-profit group called Pro Publica is being formed to fund and produce investigative journalism projects, which it will pitch to newspapers and magazines. One of the founders is Paul Steiger, who was top editor of the Wall Street Journal for 16 years.
While non-profit, foundation-funded news may not be the complete answer to the inability of the newspaper industry to sustain an adequate level of watchdog journalism, I do expect that we’ll see more of this. We have to.