For Glenn Greenwald’s quickly revealed billionaire backer Pierre Omidyar, it started in Honolulu and continued in Washington D.C.
In a telephone conversation with NYU prof and journalism seer Jay Rosen, Omidyar explained how his experiences with the website Honolulu Civil Beat led to a failed attempt to buy WaPo and a successful attempt to commit to the next (other) big thing:
Omidyar said that his involvement in Civil Beat whetted his appetite to do something larger in news. “I have always been of the opinion that the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy.” He said he had watched closely over the last 15 years as the business model in journalism collapsed but had not “found a way to engage directly.”
But then when the idea of buying the Washington Post came up he started to think about it more seriously. “It brings together some of my interests in civic engagement and building conversations and of course technology, but in a very creative way.”
The to-be-named Greenwald venture, which formally came together earlier this month, joins Jeff Bezos’ Washington Post, Robert Allbritton’s Capital New York and Aaron Kushner’s Orange County Register as a 21st century media concern to most definitely watch. Several more details about how this all came together in the Rosen post; read it here.