Phorecast Podcast No 13 – The newspaper industry may be in turmoil but long live investigative reporting!

Richard Tofel  Pro Publica, foto by Lars Klove

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On this installment of the Phorecast podcast we meet Mr Richard Tofel, the general manager of ProPublica.org. Pro Publica is a non profit newsroom with one goal: to produce great investigative reporting.

Today, there is no escaping the headlines that newspapers are dying, advertising revenue has dried up and venerable newspapers are scrambling, downsizing or going web-only. Investigative journalism is expensive and often the first to go when times are tough. There is a flurry of discussion about new business models to save the industry be it micropayments or philanthropic ventures like ProPublica.org.

Pro Publica is funded by grants and works like this; the newsroom has a staff of around 30 top investigative reporters, they produce reporting and it is then given, not sold, to news outlets such as the New York Times, the LA Times, CNN and CBS 60 minutes. All the reporting is also available for free on the ProPublica.org site.

Mr Richard Tofel was formerly the assistant publisher of The Wall Street Journal and he has authored several books including Restless Genius: Barney Kilgore, The Wall Street Journal, and the Invention of Modern Journalism (St. Martin’s, 2009)

Read more about Pro Publica at New York Times »
Read more about micropayments and journalism at New York Times »

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One comment on “Phorecast Podcast No 13 – The newspaper industry may be in turmoil but long live investigative reporting!”

  1. Great podcast! ProPublica is now on my must-read list.
    Their model with grant-funded journalists will hopefully spread over here too, we need to try many new ways of funding as there will not be just one model that will work.

    I also recommend reading Clay Shirkys excellent article: http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/
    “Reality is labeled unthinkable” is the best description of the current media crisis that have have seen in a long time.

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