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Nonprofiteers are capitalists, too

Monday, November 2nd, 2009

Jeff Jarvis has been pooh-poohing news that’s subsidized by governments or do-gooders:

I see another danger … that not-for-profit ventures will delay or even choke off for-profit, sustainable entrepreneurship in news. I would prefer to see various of the many funders who gave funds to not-for-profit endeavors – note $5 million give to a new not-for-profit entity in the Bay area – instead had invested in for-profit companies that can build companies that support and sustain themselves rather than rely on hand-outs. That is God’s work.

Jarvis intends this as a paean to capitalism. But he’s got a weirdly non-capitalist way of thinking about nonprofits.

Jarvis’s notion that nonprofits are an anomaly in the market system — and therefore less “sustainable” — forgets the fact that nonprofits produce goods and function within the market system like anybody else.

Sometimes they produce public services for governments. Sometimes they produce warm fuzzies for rich donors.

Wherever the money comes from, a successful nonprofit has found a market for whatever it’s producing. That’s God’s work, too.

The four kinds of non-catastrophic breaking news, and why social media aren’t changing them

Monday, July 27th, 2009

floodI’m a city boy. I love crowds. I believe in crowds.

But let’s get serious about the usefulness of crowdsourced hard-news reporting at the local level.

Every example of how Twitter, etc., is theoretically changing journalism seems to rely on extremely unusual tragedies, disasters or sensations.

I don’t know about your hometown paper, but in the one I work for, almost all of what you’d call “breaking news” (aside from the sports and arts coverage) falls into one of four areas:

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Old forest, new trees

Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

If you stand far enough back, the future of local news is so easy to see at this point that you can practically phone in your story and still sum things up well.

That’s exactly what Perez-Pena does today. He quotes the right people, including Jeff Jarvis, who has the emerging conventional wisdom:

The death of a newspaper should result in an explosion of much smaller news sources online, producing at least as much coverage as the paper did, says Jeff Jarvis, director of interactive journalism at the City University of New York’s graduate journalism school. Those sources might be less polished, Mr. Jarvis said, but they would be competitive.

That’s where things are going, and that’s where this blog is going, too.