Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Nonprofit news?

At a time when newspapers are reeling from cutbacks and layoffs, there's still one segment that's not only surviving, but in some cases even thriving - nonprofit news. It's an area that's gained attention with reports like this one, especially in the wake of industry-wide layoffs.

It's not a new phenomenon. The St. Petersburg Times, the MinnPost, even the ubiquitous Associated Press, the largest wire service in the world, is a not-for-profit cooperative.

Then there's ProPublica. Since their inception in 2007, the New York-based newsroom has done well enough - even in today's market - to announce that not only are they not laying off employees, they're actually hiring new ones.

Nonprofit news exists even in Southern California's fast paced economy. San Diego's Voice of San Diego was founded in response to a perceived lack of coverage (a sentiment that should resonate with many readers) to provide the city with investigative journalism and relevant community news.

There's no telling if this is a solution that will work for most of the industry, or just a small part. But it certainly holds the potential to become an important part of journalism's future. The mere idea is an acknowledgement that journalism is a public service, because without an informed populace, we lose one of the fundamental pillars of democracy - the ability to make an informed decision. Cities within the MediaNews coverage area in particular have found themselves increasingly disconnected from the day-to-day events that shape their lives. It's crucial we find a solution that provides the quality journalism these cities deserve. We're determined to see that it happens.

1 comment:

Gary Scott said...

Nonprofits may be one answer to the dwindling coverage in Southern California and elsewhere. I'd also like to see a resurgence of locally owned papers, or websites or whathaveyou, that hold to the mission and standards of good journalism. It's now a time to build things up after long years of tearing things down.