Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Pocantico Declaration: Forming a Nonprofit Investigative Reporting Network

We have blogged several times recently about the possibility of using the nonprofit form for failing newspapers (see prior posts here, here, here and here).  Efforts to create a broader nonprofit news-gathering infrastructure got a boost this week when representatives of some 25 nonprofit news-gathering organizations and journalism schools completed a three-day conference on the state of investigative journalism and issued The Pocantico Declaration to form a nonprofit investigative news network.  The Declaration sets up a steering committee consisting of Bill Buzenberg, executive director of the Center for Public Integrity; Sandy Close, executive director of the Pacific News Service; Sheila Coronel, director of the Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University; Margaret Engel, executive director of the Alicia Patterson Journalism Foundation; Laura Frank, cofounder of the Rocky Mountain Investigative News Network; Margaret Wolf Freivogel, founding editor of the St. Louis Beacon; Brant Houston, Knight Chair professor in Investigative and Enterprise Reporting at the University of Illinois; Joel Kramer, CEO and Editor of MinnPost; Charles Lewis, founding executive editor of the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University; Scott Lewis, CEO of; and Robert Rosenthal, executive director of the Center for Investigative Reporting.  The Declaration says that the steering committee's initial goal is to

seek and obtain sufficient grant funding to develop a plan for sustaining and strengthening nonprofit investigative journalism. The Committee will begin immediately to spearhead the fundraising work for a planning grant and a possible grant for continued editorial project collaboration, including doing major investigative projects, and foster greater administrative and related, “back office” organizational efficiencies. In addition, the Committee will design and construct an Investigative News Network website, and will take full advantage of other emerging technologies to coordinate, curate and showcase the best content of the Network member publishers and its growing, searchable “long tail” archive.


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