ProPublica Founder Surveys the Changed Landscape of Investigative Journalism

From South Africa’s The Media Online comes an interesting overview of non-profit investigative news outfit ProPublica.

Reporter Peta Krost Mauder spoke with founder and executive chairperson Paul Steiger, previously a managing editor at the Wall Street Journal. He acknowledged that the Internet has destroyed the business model of high-quality print journalism and that non-profit is just one of several new ways to go:

Steiger has approached numerous philanthropists and convinced them that a portion of their money would be well spent on investigative journalism. “It is a fine way to spend their money because investigative journalism allows [the] public to fix problems of which they would otherwise be unaware,” says Steiger. “Investigative stories are always in the public good…”

With his ProPublica model, you can ‘fundraise’ for your work because it definitely benefits many people and is giving back to society in a way that is not too dissimilar to aiding field-specific research.

Another way ProPublica supports its investigative endeavors is to partner upfront with a major media outlet like the LA Times. A day after that tandem’s joint investigation into issues affecting the hiring and relocation of nurses, former California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger fired and replaced a related state board.

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