Pro Publica

Via Chris and Jeff Jarvis, Pro Publica experiment.

Paul E. Steiger, who was the top editor of The Wall Street Journal for 16 years, and a pair of wealthy Californians are assembling a group of investigative journalists who will give away their work to media outlets.

The nonprofit group, called Pro Publica, will pitch each project to a newspaper or magazine (and occasionally to other media) where the group hopes the work will make the strongest impression. The plan is to do long-term projects, uncovering misdeeds in government, business and organizations.

This is one of the interesting byproducts of the new inequality and the changing economics of the media marketplace: patronage of the arts is making a comeback. It’ll be interesting to see how this plays out.

Guardian America and i>The Huffington Post are at the leading edge of a broader phenomenon: when American newspapers become as lean as British newspapers, a series of cheap-to-run newspaper-like offerings (or opinionated post-portals) will likely emerge and flourish, though none will quite match the influence and reach of today’s WSJ or NYT. And I also sense that pro-am sites like Korea’s OhmyNews will grow in importance.