News broke this week that the founder of E-Bay is starting a news organization with major involvement by the reporter who broke so many stories about the NSA spying fiasco.
It will be a brand new, digital-only, full-scope media outlet. Plans are it will cover news, sports, and business in addition to hard-hitting investigative journalism.
Will be funded with an initial $250 million dollar investment.
Pierre Omidyar, the founder of E-Bay, was one of the people shopped as a possible buyer for The Washington Post earlier this year. Jeff Bezos bought the Post for reported $250 million.
Another frontier is open.
Mr. Omidyar decided to put the money he would have otherwise used to buy the Post into something completely new.
He will start with Glenn Greenwald, the reporter with the Guardian who has published so many stories about the documents leaked by Mr. Snowden. Mr. Greenwald and some of his colleagues have been talking about forming a new outlet. They got together with Mr. Omidyar.
Previously mentioned two newspapers bought for pocket change. Same here.
Forbes estimates Mr. Omidyar’s net worth at $8.5 billion. That makes $250M about 2.9% of his net worth. Perhaps not really pocket change, but still something in the range of a check he could easily write in the next few days.
I think the sale of the Post and starting this new outlet is a big deal.
It puts skilled entrepreneurs who deeply understand the digital world and have the ability to lead & direct into the journalism business.
Definitely something to watch.
Distinct point of view?
Other conversations on the ‘net (don’t have links at the moment and won’t bother getting some) have discussed that Mr. Greenwald writes with his political point of view showing in plain sight. This is in contrast with all other news reporters and news outlets who also have a definite point of view but try to keep their POV out of sight.
From the articles I’ve seen, the new outlet will have a POV and it will be visible. It will obviously be left-of-center.
Having a visible POV is perfectly fine with me. When I know a columnist’s or reporter’s or news outlet’s POV, I can easily filter and interpret their writings.
Jay Rosen reported on an interview with Mr. Omidyar: Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news.
One comment that provides good background on the approach. The new company will take…
…“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.
This is a variation of the model developing at Forbes, where writers are provided a platform to grow their personal audience, which builds traffic for Forbes.
Mr. Omidyar describes a few of his thoughts: My Next Adventure in Journalism.
Update: The news outlet is running. Check out my post on First Look Media.