Not that it matters that I was mostly right, of course.
Jay Rosen has been in touch with Pierre Omidyar concerning what was last night a vague new venture, that is now becoming a more concrete plan to launch what may be one of the most important journalistic projects the world has ever seen.
Sorry for the run-on sentence and lack of editing. I’m in a hurry.
According to Rosen, the project, dubbed NewCo, will essentially be an independent news service, but with the legal backing to write up stories about even the most “untouchable” world figures. Take, say, one of the wire services, eliminate corporate oversight and multiply it – oh, say – 1000 times.
“Omidyar believes that if independent, ferocious, investigative journalism isn’t brought to the attention of general audiences it can never have the effect that actually creates a check on power.”
It will, of course, cover the usual suspects of sports, entertainment, etc. You have to bring readers in if you want the meaty stuff to gain a foothold. I wonder just how many world leaders are looking over their shoulders right now, or preparing talking points and defenses. Just thinking about it makes me smile broadly, with glee.
“At the core of Newco will be a different plan for how to build a large news organization. It resembles what I called in an earlier post “the personal franchise model” in news. You start with individual journalists who have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working. The idea is to attract these people to NewCo, or find young journalists capable of working in this way, and then support them well.”
The following is, to me, the most exciting part:
“A final factor. His “rising concern about press freedoms in the United States and around the world.” The U.S. has the First Amendment. When the freedom to practice hard-hitting investigative journalism comes under threat here, he said, that’s not only a problem for our democracy but for the chances that democracy can work anywhere. NewCo will designed to withstand that threat.”
Just imagine that, if you can. No more advertisers rapping on your door, dictating editorial policy. Just plain, unadulterated news, with the investigative power of some of the best journalistic minds in the world.
Personally, I can’t wait to see how this develops, and I won’t lie, I’m polishing up my CV.
Keep calm? Not a chance.
All quotes in this piece are from Jay Rosen’s original article. (thanks, Jay)