Sunday, October 27, 2013

Review on "Nonprofit Journalism Comes at a Cost," Jack Shafer, Slate (9/30/2009)

ProPublica is a great example of how philanthropists have put faith in nonprofit journalism, and  However, there are some downsides to nonprofit journalism, just as there are with for profit journalism.
"For-profit newspapers lose money accidentally. Nonprofit news operations lose money deliberately. No matter how good the nonprofit operation is, it always ends up sustaining itself with handouts, and handouts come with conditions."
And with that, they face the same obstacles besides money.
"Just as commercially supported journalists often find themselves dispatched to investigate the owners' hobbyhorses, nonprofit newsers are frequently assigned to "chase after the idiosyncratic whims of funders." 
Historically, the longest running and most successful news outlets have been commercially owned and operated. However, commercial run news is almost always influenced by money, while nonprofit news is obviously not. The success of nonprofit news is measured "in terms of influence, not audience, because their customers are the donors who've donated cash to influence politics, promote justice, or otherwise build a better world."

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