The new old media

The Associated Press just announced that it is distributing investigative reports by four nonprofit journalism operations including ProPublica and the Center for Investigative Reporting. AP, itself a not-for-profit organization, will begin making the investigative reports available to members of the news cooperative next month.

BNet blogger (and CIR co-founder) David Weir sees this as a huge opportunity to leverage AP’s vast distribution system to get those stories out. It could fill a huge gap in newspaper investigative coverage, which used to be the hallmark of great American newspapers.

As news media struggle to survive in what used to be a lucrative business, the nonprofit or not-for-profit model is becoming ever more attractive as a viable business model – as opposed to the cash-bleeding model currently in use throughout much of the traditional media (See Times, New York, or Globe, Boston).

One of the great worries as newsrooms have cut back on staffing and coverage over the last decade is that nobody will carry on with the tradition of public journalism; nobody’s keeping an eye on the hen house. You may recall that “fake news” guy Jon Stewart skewered CNBC for its cheerleading of the go-go business world even as the insurance-banking-real-estate complex was imploding. And I wonder if some watchdogs in the press (or even, God forbid, the guvmint!) had sniffed something suspicious and made some noise in a timely manner, maybe, just maybe, we might not have experienced this financial meltdown – or at least it might be less severe.

Does it seem a little odd that a late-night comedian has more credibility than a supposedly “mainstream” media outlet?

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