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A.P. To Distribute Nonprofits' Investigative Journalism 56

Posted by kdawson
from the live-to-pry-another-day dept.
The NY Times is reporting on the Associated Press's decision to distribute the investigative journalism of four nonprofit groups. This ought to benefit both struggling newspapers, which have cut investigative staff, and the nonprofits where, we can hope, many of those laid-off journalists are plying their trade. It's refreshing to see this kind of forward thinking coming out of an organization not normally known for its progressiveness. "Starting on July 1, the A.P. will deliver work by the Center for Public Integrity, the Investigative Reporting Workshop at American University, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and ProPublica to the 1,500 American newspapers that are A.P. members, which will be free to publish the material. The A.P. called the arrangement a six-month experiment that could later be broadened to include other investigative nonprofits, and to serve its nonmember clients, which include broadcast and Internet outlets."
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A.P. To Distribute Nonprofits' Investigative Journalism

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  • by Toe, The (545098) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @06:35PM (#28322991)
    Just for the edification of the reader... the AP also is a not-for-profit cooperative [wikipedia.org].
    • So is the NFL
    • These investigative non-profit organizations (INPOs) must receive funding in order to even operate. To check whether bias has entered into any investigation by an INPO, it must disclose its funding sources.

      The Internet and the natural expectation (by the typical American) of "free" news have destroyed the economic model of newspapers. Here, "newspapers" refers to both print material and online material. We can expect a continued hollowing out of the investigative department of most newspapers.

      There a

      • by Bodhammer (559311) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @10:56PM (#28324247)

        The fate of newspapers is vitally important to every Westerner. Newspapers have long served as the 4th branch of government. They are our eyes and ears in keeping us informed of the operation of our government. Without the in-depth investigative reports by newspapers, the voters would be ignorant. An ignorant public is the 1st step to the establishment of an authoritarian society.

        I agree with the first sentence, I use to agree with the second sentence. They no longer perform the third, and I agree with the 4th and believe it has arrived.

        As for the last: "If you think of yourselves as helpless and ineffectual, it is certain that you will create a despotic government to be your master. The wise despot, therefore, maintains among his subjects a popular sense that they are helpless and ineffectual."
        -Frank Herbert

        The MSM has become so blinded by ideology, primaraly liberal on the left (ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, BBC) and fanatical on the right (FNS, EIB) so that it is very hard to find objective, believable reporting. The MSM with the Anti-Bush and Obama worship elected this clown while once again ignoring the vast corruption, pay-to-play, and flat out payoffs in both houses of both parties. We are going to see 3-5% inflation by the end of the year due to current set of clowns. Was ABB (anybody but Bush) really what the American people wanted?

        Newspapers sold out, that is the simple truth. When every story is written with bias, and then the editorial page is worse, it is just propoganda - not reporting. I only get the Sunday paper for the ads and coupons, certainly not for the "reporting."

        So AP and and the rest, just keep sending me the inserts for the anti-itch, anti-fungal, spring and summer fresh, strawberry flavored coupons and if I have enough left over after lining the kitty box, I might actually read something out of your paper!

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Caring for the AIDS Patient

          The government tells us that AIDS cannot be transmitted "casually." The government also tells us that it should raise our taxes, and risk our sons for Saudi Arabia.

          Recently, a non-government physician writing in Gene Antonio's Healthwatch Report (P.O. Box 90140-264, Arlington, TX, 76004, $25 a year), gave some excellent advice "To Those Caring for the AIDS Patient."

          Among his recommendations: 1) Wear rubber gloves when handling the clothes, dishes, etc. of the patient. Wear a surgical mask if he is coughing or wheezing. 2) Use paper plates and cups and burn them afterwards. 3) Boil all his laundry for at least 15 minutes. 4) Pour a half cup of Clorox in his bath water before draining it. 5) Always wipe the toilet seat with a soapy paper towel. Do not put the towel in the toilet, but in a paper bag to be burned. 6) No kissing, since AIDS can be transmitted by saliva. 7) No sexual relations, since condoms are far from foolproof. 8) Do not allow the patient to eat in a restaurant. 9) Do not allow the patient to drive or operate machinery due to mental impairment.

          How often are these sorts of commonsense precautions taken? Not often, because they violate the government propaganda line, and would be considered a hate crime. But they give us an idea of how we should actually proceed, instead of having tax-funded programs to promote the conduct that causes AIDS.

          Dr. Ron Paul, Ron Paul Political Report, October 1990

          How could the "MSM" not take his campaign seriously?/s

        • Bravo Bodhammer!

          Corporate media surgically removed Paul, and Kucinich. Then the game became, race vs sexism. All neatly wrapped in promises.
          Now the promises are broken, we finally see what the truth is (D) = (R) and they are both as corrupt. Perhaps the people only have Ron Paul, and Dennise Kucinich as the only two Senators who honestly uphold their oath.

          It's also interesting to note just recently AP had the big flap about folks using their articles, and the AP sicking the DMCA on them. [alternet.org]

          At some point in t

      • Model 2 is best, not model 3. In model 3, it's quite obvious that bias is not only possible, but likely, given the kind of vanity that someone would have to have to fund an entire news source.

        Model 2 is better because although it is probably biased (CSM is a particularly good example, btw. It ought to be heavily biased, but it falls far short of that), the bias is conspicuous. You can filter it yourself.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Regarding your last paragraph: wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong.

        The fate of JOURNALISM is vitally important to every Westerner. Newspapers may have been doing the job for over a century, and doing it well, but that does not mean that the concept of free and open journalism is inextricably tied to newspapers - it's just tied to them at the moment. And investigative journalism is a very new concept that nobody had ever really thought about before Watergate, and the newspapers don't actually spend that much money

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        You forgot #4, the blogosphere model. Over time certain bloggers are rising to the top and gaining credibility and respect. Why should an article automatically have more cachet if it appears first in the NYT? We can pay creators of news directly (however they choose to be paid... donations? products? advertising on their site? early-release RSS by-subscription, with an advanced rate for republication? News organizations can add advertising and value at the same time, and stay in business... or not.

        In realit

  • So they now offer their non-profit services created by other non-profit organisations to organisations who gain profit with that? Remarkable value-creating chain.
  • by R2.0 (532027) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @06:49PM (#28323073)

    From the article:

    At the same time, independent groups doing investigative journalism have grown in number and size, fueled by foundations and wealthy patrons, and are offering their work to newspapers, magazines, television and radio news programs, and news Web sites. [emphasis added]

    Lets all take a cue from Woodward and Bernstein, who all these J school grads aspire to emulate - follow the money. These groups are being funded by people with agendas, just like the media they purport to study/critique.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by paazin (719486)

      Lets all take a cue from Woodward and Bernstein, who all these J school grads aspire to emulate - follow the money. These groups are being funded by people with agendas, just like the media they purport to study/critique.

      Indeed, though that doesn't necessarily mean the investigation isn't true; a classic example is Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' where an avowed socialist wrote about the exploitation committed in Chicago's meat-packing district and how adopting a socialist philosophy was the only way help th

      • by R2.0 (532027)

        Lets all take a cue from Woodward and Bernstein, who all these J school grads aspire to emulate - follow the money. These groups are being funded by people with agendas, just like the media they purport to study/critique.

        Indeed, though that doesn't necessarily mean the investigation isn't true; a classic example is Upton Sinclair's 'The Jungle' where an avowed socialist wrote about the exploitation committed in Chicago's meat-packing district and how adopting a socialist philosophy was the only way help the

        • by jmorris42 (1458) * <jmorris&beau,org> on Saturday June 13, 2009 @09:27PM (#28323907)

          > Try making that same argument about Kenneth Starr and Bill Clinton and see where it leads.

          A sordid tale of lust and perjury based on a stained blue dress might be as close as Ken Starr got to Bill Clinton himself but do remember those various probes netted a Governor of Arkansas and several other felony convictions. And he did manage to at least get Mr. Clinton disbarred.

          Now compare to Patrick Fitzgerald. He knew from the first or second day who leaked Plame's name, that it wasn't anyone in the White House or VP's office and that it wouldn't have been a violation of the law at any rate since Ms. Plame/Wilson was no longer a covert agent. Yet he drug out an investigation for how long, paralyzing much of the government during wartime? And in the end he managed to, after trying how many grand juries, to get a perjury conviction on Scooter Libby under teh most dubious of circumstances. No others were even charged let along convicted. No Fitzmas present of Rove perp walked out of the White House.

          • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

            by Beelzebud (1361137)
            Your facts are flat out wrong. Plame WAS a covert agent, and she has testified under oath that at the time of her outing she was covert...
            • by jmorris42 (1458) *

              > Your facts are flat out wrong.

              I'm afraid it is you who are wrong... about a great many things.

              > Plame WAS a covert agent,

              Was being the key word, she had been riding a desk for years. She had been an analyst for years, which is why Richard Armitage was not charged for clueing Bob Novak in on a fairly open 'secret' in the DC party circuit. Idiot Joe got off on talking about his 'secret agent' spouse.

              Remember, the special prosecuter knew it was Armitage from at most the second day he was on the job a

              • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

                by Beelzebud (1361137)
                That doesn't change the fact that at the time of her outing she was, as has been told by the CIA themselves, covert. Just because she was a desk jockey doesn't mean her status wasn't covert. She was overseeing a CIA front company called Brewster and Jennings, operating in Iran at the time of her outing. The facts are all out there. I'll trust the CIA on this matter over you, and the CIA has said, in a court of law and in their own documentation, that she was covert at the time of the outing. She was
          • An unclassified summary of outed CIA officer Valerie Plame's employment history at the spy agency, disclosed for the first time today in a court filing by Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, indicates that Plame was "covert" when her name became public in July 2003. The summary is part of an attachment to Fitzgerald's memorandum to the court supporting his recommendation that I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Vice President Cheney's former top aide, spend 2-1/2 to 3 years in prison for obstructing the CIA leak inv
            • by jmorris42 (1458) *

              > ...disclosed for the first time today in a court filing...

              If you are going to cut/paste from an MSNBC article from May '07 you might want to note that fact. You might also have noticed this in the middle:

              "No one was ever charged with the leak of Plame's name itself, which would have been a crime only if someone knowingly gave our information about someone covered by a specific law protecting the identities of covert agents."

              And since the whole Wilson thing smells like a CIA black op against their own

    • From the article:

      At the same time, independent groups doing investigative journalism have grown in number and size, fueled by foundations and wealthy patrons, and are offering their work to newspapers, magazines, television and radio news programs, and news Web sites. [emphasis added]

      Lets all take a cue from Woodward and Bernstein, who all these J school grads aspire to emulate - follow the money. These groups are being funded by people with agendas, just like the media they purport to study/critique.

      Yeah I don't see it as necessesarily worse than, say, News Corporation, which has its own agendas.

    • The first group in particular should set off warning bells. Whenever something refers to itself as "Something for Public Something", it's nearly always a public interest-style advocacy group.
    • Yeah well - the money is on our side this time! :) The good guys are winning, it's the conservatives who are getting trashed by this new force of NGOs and newspapers combined. I say, STFU about it and let it go where it may. ;)
      • by R2.0 (532027)

        Excellent troll! You had me until the end with the smiley face - so close to perfection, but for the lack of shift key usage.

    • by zenetik (750376)

      Lets all take a cue from Woodward and Bernstein, who all these J school grads aspire to emulate - follow the money. These groups are being funded by people with agendas, just like the media they purport to study/critique.

      It's a legitimate concern, but one that can't be used with a broad stroke like you just did. Take ProPublica, for instance. It's funded by left-leaning Herbert and Marion Sandler yet headed by former Wall Street Journal managing editor Paul Steiger -- and it's staffed with award-winning journalists from major news organizations across the country who have already proven their objectivity and professionalism. The suggestion that the journalists that make up ProPublica could somehow be swayed by the donors is

      • by R2.0 (532027)

        The "broad stroke" I use is to proclaim that when organizations are funded by people with agendas, they are suspect. NOT that they are guilty.

        But, people who are convinced an organization is biased will also find "evidence" of that bias when the facts don't match their preconceived notions of truth.

        Aside from the spurious characterization of my opinions of these particular organizations, I would point out that the opposite is also true - "But, people who are convinced an organization is unbiased will fail

        • by zenetik (750376)
          That's fair. I would hope that all news organizations are viewed with some level of skepticism because there is always the risk of bias -- whether from non-profit donors, advertisers, or editors with an agenda. I apologize my comment came off as an attack against you. Wasn't my intention. The bias comment wasn't directed at you at all and I wasn't trying to generalize. I was just pointing out that the organization I worked for had been criticized for bias based on nothing more than the political leanings o
  • by martin-boundary (547041) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @06:54PM (#28323093)
    Newspaper content already tends to be interchangeable as regards many news stories. How is this going to help make newspaper content more unique?
  • I suppose, rather than just sitting there are re-printing PR fluff handed to you.

    The 4th estate has long since abandoned its post.

  • a very good thing (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 13, 2009 @07:12PM (#28323193)
    This move is a very good thing. What many people fail to realize is that investigative journalism costs money (a lot of money). When the Boston Globe broke the story about the Catholic child molestation/priest shuffling coverup a few years ago, that cost them over a million dollars to cover the months of research and tons of staff that went into it. This isn't the kind of thing that you'll get from Joe Blogger sitting in his den rehashing/aggregating stories he found elsewhere on the web. Yes, a lot of what passes for "professional journalism" these days is somewhat low level. But that doesn't mean it all is.

    Think of it like this (analogy time!) -- just because there are a lot of shitty visual basic programmers out there, that doesn't mean that every programmer is a shitty one that can only program in VB. That's exactly the type of comparison a lot of you make when you talk about shitty journalists. We need to encourage good investigative journalism, and this is a step in the right direction.
    • by Larryish (1215510)

      ... the story about the Catholic child molestation/priest shuffling coverup... and tons of staff that went into it...

      Dude. That is wrong on SO many levels.

  • Sideways... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by owlnation (858981) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @07:12PM (#28323195)
    I think this is a step sideways. The term "not for profit" is very misleading. In fact, most such organizations need to get their name and "issues" out there to raise funds. Hence, there's plenty of biased, scaremongering stories that comes from non-profit orgs, NGOs and charities. In fact, almost all scaremongering stories come from those very sources. Sensationalist headlines means the organizations name is out there along with a guilt trip designed to encourage people to donate to "fight" whatever issue is being trumped.

    Many, if not all, Newspapers already regurgitate press releases from non-profit orgs as news. What would really help newspapers is to stop relying on press releases, and stop relying on the the A.P. or Reuters etc., and actually get out there and investigate actual news. Where are the Bob Woodwards? Those type of guys are what newspapers need. That will save them. There's plenty of stories and scandals in every national and local government, in every corporation -- things we really NEED to know about. But we're not finding out about because no-one is digging into them any more.

    Blogs or Google News, or other news feeds, are the perfect places to report things from A.P. or non-profits, or entertainment P.R. Newspapers should be the sources of comment and actual investigative journalism.
    • Re:Sideways... (Score:5, Insightful)

      by R2.0 (532027) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @07:32PM (#28323303)

      Where are the Bob Woodwards? Those type of guys are what newspapers need.

      I mention him higher up, although not in the same light. In my opinion Woodward and Bernstein form the root of the current rot in journalism - The idea that the journalist should be the story. Every J-school grad wants to be the one who brings down a President, not because of any sense of justice, but because they want to be powerful and important. That may or may not have been what drove W & B (I believe more in the former than the latter), but it surely drives those who came after, and even theri contemporaries.

      As soon as journalists started viewing themselves as the 4th branch of government instead of a profession that served that role, they became part of the problem.

  • More propaganda (Score:5, Informative)

    by Kohath (38547) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @07:44PM (#28323381)

    I don't know about the others, but ProPublica [wikipedia.org] is a left-wing propaganda organization. It was founded by Herbert and Marion Sandler, from Time's 25 people to blame for the financial crisis [time.com]. It has provided propaganda stories [indenvertimes.com] to newspapers around the country disguised as news....

    On second thought, that should fit right in with the rest of what the AP distributes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Saint Stephen (19450)

      The main thing I can't understand is why the left gets so apopleptic over Fox News or Liberty Media when they so clearly spew out essentially the same formula. It's just like I couldn't see any difference between San Francisco when I lived there and the PTL club when I lived near the NC/SC border -- both groups of people were defined by a vaguely circus-like atmosphere and never meeting a soul who didn't instantly believe the exact same things you do.

  • It's a trap! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by nausea_malvarma (1544887) on Saturday June 13, 2009 @08:57PM (#28323777)

    We all agree the news is biased. Some say it has a left wing bias, others a right wing bias, and we all experience a little of both. Yet the stereotype of activist/journalist who willingly manipulates the facts to get their point across is untrue for most journalist's I've observed (save the obvious Bill O'Reileys of the world).

    Recognize that a journalist's job is tough. It's up to them to get the facts, and nobody is willing to talk. People naturally distrust reporters, and their first instinct is to keep quiet. They don't want to be bothered by journalists. It's a hassle.

    But in the end, the journalist has to get the facts. So they get quotes from anybody willing to speak to them. And usually, the only people willing to speak to journalists are those with an ideology to spread. Someone with an interest in how the news gets reported.They volunteer to be interviewed.

    That's where most bias comes from: Not the reporters, but their sources. So naturally, if a bunch of non profits "generously contribute the news they've gathered" you can bet half of those groups are doing it to manipulate the news in their favor.

    • It doesn't matter who is talking or not, it's all about how you frame issues, and the language you use to describe a situation. Not to mention selective inclusion of quotes from people who did talk to you, often out of one context and into another of your choosing...

      Placing no blame on journalists is doing the profession a disservice as the first step is to admit you have a problem.

  • > It's refreshing to see this kind of forward thinking coming out of an organization
    > not normally known for its progressiveness.

    If by 'progressive' you mean they are slightly to the right of Marx, ok. Guess I better take a note that the word has been redefined again.

    Or are we discussing a different AP than the Associated (with terrorists) Press that runs Al Qaeda and Hezbollah propaganda as news... because their 'stringers' are active members. The same AP that could learn lessons in objectivity from

  • Be suspicious of investigative reporters bearing gifts. Anybody remember Rathergate. I did a quick google on the contributing "non-profit orgs" and I would not describe them as unbiased.

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