Happy Birthday, ProPublica and the Izzy Award
May 17, 2018 11:03 AM   Subscribe

The nonprofit ProPublica is celebrating its tenth anniversary this year. In April, the Center for Investigative Reporting announced a program that aims to revive investigative journalism at the local level, and it’s not the only one. In March, the Park Center for Independent Media (PCIM) at Ithaca College celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Izzy Award, which is “presented for outstanding achievement in independent media.” While there are reasons to be unhappy with the state of American media, there are bright spots as well. One is that courageous reporters around the world continue their work despite the threat of prison, exile, or death. On a smaller scale, another might be a new newspaper in Plano, Illinois.

ProPublica has been publishing public-service journalism for 10 years now. Recent investigations include an examination of how defendants are pressured into controversial plea deals despite proof of their innocence and the discovery that some police are mislabeling anti-LGBTQ and other crimes as anti-heterosexual, even though "none of the reports we could track down actually included evidence of hate crimes against straight people."

The 2018 Izzy Award was shared by four muckrakers this year. “Each of this year’s Izzy winners has broken new ground in exposing corporate profiteering and the power of money over public policy. Their breakthrough coverage is made possible by non-corporate outlets such as The Intercept, Truthout and TomDispatch.com, resources such as The Nation Institute’s Investigative Fund, and publishers like City Lights Books.”

Here is another potentially promising development in replacing truthiness with truth: "CheckNews, an 'on demand fact-checking platform' created by the French media outlet Libération, is the winner of the inaugural Fact Forward Innovation Fund. The $50,000 USD grant offered by the International Fact-Checking Network with support from the Omidyar Network seeks to reward innovation in the format, business model or technology of fact-checking.

"CheckNews is a 'human search engine' which allows the audience to submit questions, request fact checks or find verified information in order to involve it in the verification process from the start and preempt concerns of fact-checkers' 'selection bias.' "

"... 'We think fact-checking can be efficient only if it proves it's capable to verify information without bias, and without the concern that one political side could benefit from it. That’s why we decided, last September, to transform Désintox (the traditional fact-checking website of Libération) into CheckNews, a platform that offers an on-demand service of verification and explanations,' said Pauline Moullot, fact-checker and project lead."

Every government is a liar. That's a prima facie assumption (the I.F. Stone video linked to there no longer works; here's a crappy video that purports to be the entire documentary on I.F. Stone).
MeFite-recommended independent journalists
posted by Bella Donna (5 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite
Here's a better version of the I F Stone's Weekly documentary, in two half-hour parts. I don't know whether it's complete, but at least it's a digital transfer rather than a videocam capture shot at an angle off somebody's CRT television.
posted by ardgedee at 12:39 PM on May 17 [1 favorite]

Thanks, ardgedee, much appreciated!
posted by Bella Donna at 1:00 PM on May 17

Here in Chicago, a number of journalists that were canned in the DNAInfo/Chicagoist fiasco have got enough funding to start a locally focused Newsite that will go live soon (hopefully).

I think subscriber based news reporting is going to be the future. Almost all the news I get is from such sources.
posted by indianbadger1 at 2:39 PM on May 17 [4 favorites]

I spent about 30 years as a reporter at small, local dailies, the kind of newspapers that were the only local news coverage, the only ones to hold the city councils, school boards, and port districts accountable. The economics for that don't work anymore, the business model is dead. The solution is likely to be some form of non-profit/subscription based replacement led by locals themselves. I believe national and international news is adapting and recovering. I'm happy to see the local experiments and wish them well.
posted by kemrocken at 3:08 PM on May 17 [2 favorites]

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