ProPublica up and running!
by ahw, Wed Jun 11, 2008 at 07:07:03 AM EDT
I was busy yesterday--went to an R.E.M./Modest Mouse concert in Raleigh (very hot in open-air pavilion, but loved it). Anywho, got home to see that I'd received the email announcement that ProPublica has gone online! I looked back to see if anyone mentioned it here and couldn't find it in a diary title (maybe it's mentioned in comments somewhere, but there are too many to read 'em all.
Considering the behavior of the MSM, I am very excited to have this new source of news:
I'm hoping that this independent, non-profit will be a wonderful source for everyone who cares about getting down to the nitty-gritty, and will provide great fodder for discussions on sites like MyDD.
If you're not familiar with ProPublica, see below to read what they have to say in their Welcome letter (sorry, I don't quite get how to do blockquotes properly):
"Welcome to the Starting Line
June 10, 2008 10:31 am EDT
Five months ago, ProPublica was an idea, a rudimentary Web site and a nearly empty office in Lower Manhattan. Today, we take our first concrete step in building an investigative publishing platform that will produce original stories focusing on betrayal of the public trust and abuse of power.
Our goal is to do stories that would otherwise escape notice and to follow up on work done by others that demands change or is being overlooked.
This is the beginning of what we see as an experiment and we invite your comments and suggestions on stories, or on how we can make our organization more useful to readers.
We have nearly completed our hiring (more than 20 out of perhaps 27 news staff) and reporters are at work on some promising avenues of inquiry. You will see those results in the months ahead.
In the meantime, we offer what we hope will be a thorough, thought-provoking look at investigative stories that are breaking elsewhere.
* Each business day, under the heading "Breaking on the Web," we'll aggregate (assemble, digest and link to) all the investigative journalism we can find being produced in the U.S. in English. Whether you're a reporter, editor, or just an interested reader, we welcome your help in compiling the stories. Please send suggestions to email@example.com.
* In some cases, we'll analyze, comment and follow up on these stories. Eric Umansky and Paul Kiel will lead this effort on our staff, assisted by our reporting and research team.
* We have tried to make our stories and those from elsewhere easily sortable. For example, if you want to focus on articles about national security, you can get an RSS feed -- or soon an email -- with only those stories.
* We're also starting a feature we're calling "Scandal Watch". It will track the top five investigations (other than our own) at any given moment, selected by our editors and ranked by intensity of coverage.
* Soon, the Web site will also feature our own investigations, some of them in short-form, some much more ambitious. Our longer "deep dive" stories will most often be published in cooperation with one or more partners. These stories will usually debut on our partners' sites, but we'll link to their treatment of the stories, and often supplement them with additional materials for the web.
Again, we see this as a conversation. Please send your reactions, comments and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for joining us, and for reading.
Paul Steiger and Steve Engelberg "
It is my belief that that the US desperately needs more real investigative journalism.
BTW, busyness doesn't allow me to hang around to respond to comments or questions, but I will check back later to see if there are any...Update: Wanted to add that on ProPublica's "About US" page they provided an answer to the "Why Now" question in part by saying:"It is true that the number and variety of publishing platforms is exploding in the Internet age. But very few of these entities are engaged in original reporting. In short, we face a situation in which sources of opinion are proliferating, but sources of facts on which those opinions are based are shrinking. The former phenomenon is almost certainly, on balance, a societal good; the latter is surely a problem. Investigative journalism, in particular, is at risk. That is because, more than any other journalistic form, investigative journalism can require a great deal of time and labor to do welland because the prospecting necessary for such stories inevitably yields a substantial number of dry holes, i.e. stories that seem promising at first, but ultimately prove either less interesting or important than first thought, or even simply untrue and thus unpublishable."