Sasha Chavkin’s piece for the Columbia Journalism Review is a really good example of how to go a little further with a developing media story. Rather than pile on with some sort of vague doomsday Koch brothers op ed, the correspondent for CJR’s United States Project took a look at the duo’s closest current equivalent of Tribune Co./LA Times ownership.
It’s called the Franklin Center for Public and Government Integrity. It was founded in 2009. And, from a prospective LAT standpoint, the key is the organization’s offshoot watchdog.org:
The Franklin Center, in turn, created a website of state-based reporting, called watchdog.org – fed by “a network of journalists reporting on state and local governments.” The watchdog.org site serves as a hub for stories from Watchdog outlets in 23 states…
The Franklin Center’s vice president of journalism, Steven Greenhut, told CJR that its donors play no role in shaping its coverage. When we sent Greenhut a list of questions for this piece, Greenhut responded in depth—and promptly published his answers in a strongly worded piece disputing any notion that conservative donors taint Watchdog’s coverage.
Chavkin writes that that two aspects of the Franklin Center’s approach to issues-oriented journalism are particularly noteworthy in this context. To find out what these are, click here.