Media Watch: Non-Profit Investigative News Effort

ProPublica, whose slogan is "Journalism in the public interest," is a non-profit undertaking focusing on investigative reporting. The organization has 24 full time reporters and editors, the largest staff in American media devoted solely to investigative journalism. Its activities are supported entirely by philanthropy and the articles it produces are provided, free of charge, both through its own website and via leading news outlets selected with an eye toward maximizing the impact of its work.

Commenting on the new organization last December, editor in chief Paul E. Steiger, formerly managing editor of The Wall Street Journal, said that
"ProPublica will focus exclusively on journalism that shines a light on exploitation of the weak by the strong and on the failures of those with power to vindicate the trust placed in them. We will be non-partisan and non-ideological, adhering to the strictest standards of journalistic impartiality and fairness. We will look hard at the critical functions of business and of government, the two biggest centers of power. But we will also focus on such institutions as unions, universities, hospitals, foundations and the media when they appear to be exploiting or oppressing those weaker than they, or when there is evidence that they are abusing the public trust."
The organization's website includes a "scandal watch" of top stories about corruption and abuse of power. Numerous rss feeds keep a timely eye on breaking stories in such areas as Business & Money, Justice & Law, Energy & Environment, Government & Politics, Health & Science, Media & Technology, and National Security. A little more than a half year old, the Manhattan-based news organization says it is needed now because investigative journalism increasingly is being crowded out by the media's obsessive focus on trivia (press release).

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