Columbia Journalism review posted an interesting feature story about nonprofit investigative news organizations, and how they take different approaches to funding and sharing their content. The CJR story opens with a telling anecdote about a meeting at California Watch. At the meeting, the editors agree that one of their reporters, after months of digging, has uncovered a big story:
But then the conversation veered in a direction unfamiliar to traditional newsrooms. Instead of planning how to get the story published before word of it leaked, the excited editors started throwing out ideas for how they could share Johnson’s reporting with a large array of competitive news outlets across the state and around the country. No one would get a scoop; rather, every outlet would run the story at around the same time, customized to resonate with its audience, be they newspaper subscribers, Web readers, television viewers, or radio listeners. California Watch’s donors—at this point, a handful of high-powered foundations—expect it to publish high-impact investigative journalism about California as widely as possible.
My favorite line: How journalists are a persistent bunch and continue to push for ways to do watchdog journalism. “I do have a need to investigate the bastards,” said Charles Lewis, the founder of the Center for Public Integrity.
My only quibble with this story is that it has a Texas-sized hole: There’s no mention of the Texas Tribune or Texas Watchdog. Wuh?