How Nonprofit Journalism Pays Off

March 7th, 2008

How Nonprofit Journalism Pays Off

By Nathalie Applewhite, Associate Director, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting

Her full article can be found at :


In the shifting landscape of today’s news media, nonprofit journalism has been gaining significant attention as a potential solution. In the past few months the Columbia Journalism Review and the American Journalism Review have each featured stories about the growing importance of foundation sponsored journalism. And it should come as no surprise. As Charles Lewis suggests in CJR’s “The Nonprofit Road,” nonprofits have long played a critical role in providing quality journalism to the American public.

One nonprofit that has asked this question is the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, which seeks not to replace traditional or new media, but to build on the existing strengths of both and fill in the gaps where needed. It’s not the only answer, but it’s a model that is already delivering a promising ‘Return on Investment.’ Founded just two years ago, the Center is forging a model of journalism dedicated to raising the standard of international reporting in the United States. The Center’s model combines quality reporting, comprehensive media dissemination and educational initiatives to raise awareness of critical global issues that have been largely ignored in the American media. We work across media platforms and embrace the promise of pro-am collaborations as reflected in our recent partnership with By reaching out into schools we hope to inspire the next generation of news consumers to ask for better information and engage in the news gathering process more directly.

As a small, nimble organization built on principles of collaboration over competition and on long-term change over short-term fixes, we’re able to achieve significant impact without looking to monetary profit to measure our success. Pulitzer Center-supported reporting spanned more than 20 countries in 2007, including a 14-month investigation of factory working conditions in China, pioneering work on human rights abuses in Ethiopia, environmental challenges across the globe including Peru, Rwanda and Alaska, the HIV/AIDS crisis in the Caribbean, rehabilitation efforts with former child soldiers in Liberia and the U.S., and in-depth reporting that challenged official U.S. optimism on the “surge” in Iraq.

Jon Sawyer, the Pulitzer Center’s executive director, is at WeMedia this week actively seeking new partners who, like us, believe the benefit of quality information can not be measured in dollar signs.

For more about the Pulitzer Center see: “Funding for Foreign Forays,” by Carol Guensburg. AJR, February/March 2008

This blog entry is also posted online by We Media, an organization striving to use the power of media as a tool for social change.

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