ProPublica editor speaks out on new public media business models, funding

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Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief of the indie nonprofit news source ProPublica, pointed out some of the many challenges that need to be addressed by members of the new public media, as part of the McGill lecture series at the University of Georgia last week (Oct. 21).”If we create business models that depend largely on page views,” he said, “we should not be surprised if they drive publishers to favor content with a high prospect of ‘going viral’ over content that is primarily thought-provoking, or challenging, or discomfiting, or even educational.” Also: “To sustain this kind of reporting as part of the fundamental underpinnings of our democracy, we need to nudge the sources of philanthropy in our society – ordinary citizens, foundations, and wealthy donors alike – to widen their view just a bit and see investigative reporting as a public service just as worthy of aid as museums, orchestras, ballet companies, clinics and private universities.” His full speech is here.

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