This new initiative in which Paul Steiger and a couple of wealthy journalists are “assembling a group of investigative journalists who will give away their work to media outlets” sounds to me like a wonderful idea. What’s more, in echoes in some ways what my friend Brian Beutler is doing for the Media Consortium and what Mother Jones is doing with its new scaled-up seven person Washington Bureau.
The bad news about the changing landscape of the media business over the past few years has been a declining budget available for investigative projects. The good news, however, is that the internet makes it possible to disseminate a worthwhile piece of investigative journalism for a tiny fraction of the costs that you once would have seen. Basically, the non-journalism costs (paper, ink, trunks full of stacks of paper) of doing investigative journalism are falling in a way that I hope makes this kind of philanthropic investment in investigative work more viable.