[Download a PDF of this press release]
Newsdesk.org has been selected by the Ethics & Excellence in Journalism Foundation to receive a $25,000 grant in support of the nonprofit, public-interest news service News You Might Have Missed (NYMHM). The Foundation’s generous gift will be used to develop NYMHM as a daily service that can earn income through syndication; this will support the production and promotion of important but overlooked news, and help improve coverage of underserved communities. A Vision for New Public Media
Syndication is at the heart of the LOCAL.NEWSDESK.ORG proposal to create new public-media infrastructure for local/regional journalism, at a time of crisis for the news industry. Local.Newsdesk.Org is a 2009 finalist in the WeMedia/Changemakers “Pitch-It” contest. It envisions a network of independent but affiliated online news bureaus that put professional journalists to work, and connect them more effectively to their communities.
Newsdesk.org’s latest collaboration with Spot.Us is “Prisons & Public Health,” a news blog by reporter Bernice Yeung tracking the public-health impacts of California’s prison system. Help crowdfund this project!
For best results, click the Mogulus player’s “on demand” option, below. Newsdesk.org starts at approx. 49:48; click on the playback bar to advance to that time code. NOTE! The video track is frozen and the audio skips a few times before finally kicking in around 52:00.
Newsdesk.org was among nine finalists, out of 300+ applicants, in the WeMedia “pitch it” contest, which was staged at their annual event in Miami. Our entry, LOCAL.NEWSDESK.ORG, is a core idea underlying the whole Newsdesk.org effort. It proposes to create a self-propagating network of cost-efficient, public-interest local news bureaus that use the News You Might Have Missed thesis of “important but overlooked news” as a key editorial principle. We do view this as a step forward for public media in general. The Extraordinaries, an ingenious volunteer-through-your-cellphone app, ultimately took the prize, but it’s interesting to note that the local.newsdesk.org presentation was apparently something of a hit.
Newdesk.org is one of nine nonprofit finalists out of more than 330 entries from 45 countries in WeMedia’s Pitch-It ’09 contest, developed in partnership with Ashoka’s Changemakers program. Read and rate the local.newsdesk.org pitch on the Changemaker’s Web site; your positive ratings will boost our chances. Learn more about WeMedia Pitch-It 2009
View all the finalists
The prize? $25,000, plus plenty of exposure and access to potential supporters — provided Newsdesk prevails in a live pitching session before a panel of judges and a demanding audience. The main event is in Miami on Feb.
Here’s some good news for supporters of independent journalism — our debut project with Spot.Us is a success. Thanks to your collective, aggregated donations, we tipped the scale last Tuesday afternoon, bringing us to our $2,500 goal. The whole campaign ran for a bit more than a month. We’re quite wowed by this enthusiastic response! The funding will be used to pay a team of freelance reporters who will be fact-checking election advertisements aimed at influencing San Francisco voters on Election Day.
Newsdesk.org and The San Francisco Public Press are teaming up with the Knight Foundation-supported Spot.Us project to fund *nonpartisan* investigative coverage and fact-checking of San Francisco-focused election advertisements. Our goal is to raise $2,500 by Labor Day, and with a bit more than a week to go, we’re at 80 percent. Help us take it over the top! Please pass this along to your San Francisco friends … and if you haven’t made a pledge, we welcome your support.
December 12, 2007, 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
CounterPulse, 1310 Mission Street x 9th Street
Newsrooms are hamstrung by the business practices of Wall Street and Big Media, even as newspaper circulation declines and TV news continues the race to the bottom. Both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News recently shed large portions of their newsroom staffs, and MediaNews Group’s purchase of former Knight Ridder properties has given it a near monopoly on Bay Area newspapers. The company is now consolidating in an attempt to wipe out the Media Workers Guild and any other obstacle to cost-cutting. The Internet, meanwhile, is vulnerable to the same marketplace compromises, as commercial publishers retrench their focus on scandal, celebrity and trivia; colonize every square inch of space and content with advertising; and desperately try to monetize the open-source citizen journalism movement instead of investing in their own reporting staff. — With all the high finance and power plays, how do communities actually get news that matters?
Newsdesk.org’s San Francisco operations are intended to demonstrate our editorial values, and make a case for developing similar bureaus around the country and the world. With that in mind, check out this project proposal, which outlines what that would generally look like, on a small scale. As you read it over, note that merely creating a new news bureau, or even a network of news bureaus, is unambitious — as is any effort that considers media technology a magic bullet that will by itself “solve” the crisis of democracy we are in the grips of. Rather, we seek to innovate in the social arena in which news is produced (by creating a co-op/peer-run newsroom) and in the values that drive the production of news itself (by using the Internet to extend ad-free, nonpoliticized journalism beyond its current nonprofit-dinosaur doldrums). Within that context, a news bureau and a network of the same becomes a radically different sort of structure, one in which technology is a subordinate means to a more grand end — a true paradigm shift in the economic and social conditions under which news is produced and disseminated.
We need your help to spread the word about Newsdesk and News You Might Have Missed, and develop a powerful network of donors and advocates that can strengthen public service journalism at the community level. Newsdesk.org is an online news experiment that seeks to demonstrate the viability of in-depth, context-rich reportage in an advertising-free medium. In that regard, it’s as much an idea that needs to be propagated as it is a productive news operation in San Francisco. BACKGROUND
Newsdesk.org was founded in 2000 by professional journalists seeking to cover issues beyond the pop stars, scandal and “usual suspects” that fill out the ad-saturated mainstream media. We’ve set a standard for coverage is broadminded, thorough, context-rich, free of the herd mentality, and frequently ahead of the majors.