Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Bay Area emerges as center of nonprofit journalism

Frances Dinkelspiel, writing for the New York Times, reports that the Bay Area has become a hot bed for nonprofit journalism organizations, such as the Bay Citizen (previously known as the Bay Area News Project), San Francisco Public Press and California Watch. They join long established organizations such as Mother Jones and the Pacific News Service.

    A convergence of forces has made this area particularly conducive to the non-profit model, explained Ann Grimes, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and acting director of the Graduate Program in Journalism at Stanford University. 
    She believes that the chemistry includes a high concentration of technically savvy people, an abundance of highly skilled journalists looking for work, ample philanthropic dollars, an entrepreneurial spirit as well as a willingness to try to new things. 
    “It’s a market that has gone from one of the best news markets to one of the worst in the last five years,” said Ms. Grimes. “The market isn’t being served by its local news vendors so there is a lot of pent up demand for local news.” 
    “There has been a sea change on the part of legacy media organizations as well as these jumpstarts to partner and collaborate,” added Ms. Grimes. “Those who have suffered cuts in their reporting ranks are eager to collaborate. A lot of these new organizations are staffed by well-seasoned veterans so the legacy organizations know that the quality of the copy is well-vetted.”

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