If you’re impressed by how ProPublica works, and you’d like to be involved, check out their Jobs page. They’re looking for two investigative reporters.

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We often put journalism on a pedestal. We trust our for-profit news outlets to cover everything important, but how do we know that they’re doing a good job? In an age where making money from news is getting harder and harder, it’s obvious that many media outlets have resorted to covering what drives eyeballs instead of what’s important. This isn’t really a new development, but it seems to be getting worse. Investigative journalism is dying a slow, painful death, and sensationalist, opinion-based journalism is taking over. Clearly that’s where the money is, so if we want to hear about stories with “moral force,” we’re going to have to look somewhere else. ProPublica is “an independent, non-profit newsroom that produces investigative journalism in the public interest” based in Manhattan. They realize that investigative reporting has become a luxury that many newspapers can’t afford, so they’ve taken it upon themselves to save the art. They haven’t been around 2 years yet, and they already have ” a newsroom of 32 working journalists, all of them dedicated to investigative reporting on stories with significant potential for major impact.”

Are You ProPublica?

As cool as the idea behind ProPublica is, it still makes me wonder whether there could be a better for-profit alternative. I think that market forces play an important role in promoting quality, and I wonder how ProPublica will emulate the motivation that a need for profitability drives. I guess it all comes down to the quality of ProPublica’s people, and it sounds as though they have an amazing team of talented news people. Additionally, ProPublica has worked hard to ensure that their “model assures an unusually high level of accountability for a non-profit.” To me, the coolest thing about ProPublica is that they give their journalism away for free—not just to the masses via the Internet—but to other traditional news organization on an exclusive basis. If you’re impressed by how ProPublica works, and you’d like to be involved, check out their Jobs page. Right now they’re looking for two investigative reporters. They’d love to have people who have “focused on energy and environment, education or immigration,” but they’re open to applicants from any background. You’ll obviously need some strong journalistic experience, so hopefully you’ve been writing for that college newspaper. To apply, send a résumé and cover letter to reportingjobs@propublica.org.

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