eBay Co-Founder’s New Media Venture Gets Name, Plan

on Friday, Dec. 20th

When eBay co-founder Pierre Omidyar announced earlier in the year that he was exploring developing a new online media publication there were few details.

We knew that he had signed Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who broke the Edward Snowden/NSA story, up to work his investigative mojo and… well that was about it.

Now the company, freshly dubbed First Look Media, has set out a press release that outlines some of their plans.

The most interesting aspect of the announcement? First Look is going to be a hybrid for-profit/non-profit organization. From the press release:

First Look Media is made up of several entities, including a company established to develop new media technology and a separate nonprofit journalism organization. The journalism operation, which will be incorporated as a 501(c)(3), will enjoy editorial independence, and any profits eventually earned by the technology company are committed to support First Look’s mission of independent journalism. The name of First Look Media’s initial digital publication is yet to be announced.

New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen, one of the company’s advisors, weighed in on the future of the venture on his personal blog:

Another way to say it is: public service, mission-driven journalism, including investigative work, has always been subsidized by something: advertising, other kinds of news, donors to a non-profit (as with ProPublica) or a related and profitable business like the Bloomberg terminals that subsidize Bloomberg News. First Look Media is adding to the picture another possible source of support: profits from a company specifically focused on technology for producing, distributing and consuming news, views and information.

Quick analysis:

By positioning the news division of the organization as non-profit the pressure to chase page-views–which makes most Internet news outlets intolerable–is removed. That’s an innovation we can get behind.

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