Pro Publica, an initiative launched last month in the United States to help revitalize investigative journalism ... reminds us of important values at the core of the craft of journalism, but also exposes the common political confusions of mainstream journalists that so often undermine their best efforts.
Launched with a multi-million dollar [philanthropic] grant ... Pro Publica plans to function as an independent newsroom staffed by some of the country’s top journalists, offering stories to a variety of media outlets under various distribution arrangements ... So far, so good. There’s a problem: Managers of the profit-hungry corporations that produce most of the country’s journalism have fewer resources to do their jobs, which predictably leads to less of the investigative journalism that requires time and money. The proposed solution: Committed journalists, backed by well-intentioned benefactors, step in to fill the gap through Pro Publica.
But the more vexing problem — and what may make the project, in the end, largely irrelevant — becomes clear in reading the mission statement of the group, which includes these crucial two paragraphs: