The New York Times has an excellent piece today on the rise of nonprofit journalism websites. The sites are taking on the traditional role of watchdog reporting as daily newspapers continue their steep decline. The story focuses on VoiceofSanDiego.org, and mentions PropPublica.org, a relatively new organization that investigates national and international issues. These sites do not follow the traditional advertiser-based model, and instead depend on donations, much like public television and radio stations. Will they be the future of journalism in the Bay Area, too?
I don't see why not. With the huge cutbacks in reporting staffs across the region, along with the consolidation of print news into two major companies, MediaNews and Hearst, there's a niche in the Bay Area for this new journalism model. Sure, we've had the Center for Investigative Journalism here for decades, but I'm talking about a journalism site that focuses squarely on local, Bay Area issues not covered by the dailies.