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Pulitzer Center Update February 2, 2009

Broken news -- and the non-profit response


Jon Sawyer, Pulitzer Center

Buyouts, layoffs, the shuttering of foreign bureaus and a relentless reduction in dollars committed to news – it's as if every editor or publisher in America has simultaneously decided to dispense with quaint notions of journalism as a public trust or what used to be regarded as the essential watchdog function of journalism in making democratic self-government work.

Times are bad, for sure, and there's as yet no silver-bullet solution for making the transition from the old media model, dependent on advertising and circulation, to the brave new Internet world. But there are a number of innovative new initiatives, the Pulitzer Center among them, aimed at creating viable models to sustain robust reporting at home and abroad.

A common feature in many of these efforts is that they are non-profits, dependent on donations from individuals and foundations. This model is full of both opportunities and challenge, as explored recently by the Columbia Journalism Review and AJR. Deniewereporter1 Hélène Schilders takes on the subject from a Dutch perspective, in a comprehensive article earlier this month for New Reporter. The Pulitzer Center is pleased to make the article available for an English-speaking audience. Thanks to the Center's Lucas Timberlake for editing and hyperlinks.

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