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Will the nonprofit model save investigative journalism? Is it sustainable? A recent article in the Columbia Journalism Review explores this question, focusing on CIR’s new venture, California Watch, along with the Center for Public Integrity and ProPublica:

Most everyone agrees that it’s still early in the nonprofit investigative news experiment, and hard to know what will eventually happen. Many use the “Wild West” cliché to describe the environment. Numerous centers of various size and scope are up and running and publishing their work, writing their rules as they go and attempting to engage new readers through social networking and other methods enabled by the Internet. Several others are teed up, trying to raise enough money to launch. Their hurried steps and missteps will determine whether the nonprofit model develops and endures or returns to its previous perch on the margin.

Whether the nonprofit model sticks or slips in the U.S. is a question that is apparently of international significance. CIR’s executive director Robert Rosenthal has recently been interviewed by several foreign-language publications. The Asahi Shimbun, a Japanese magazine, recently published this article (above) about nonprofit journalism featuring CIR’s Rosenthal. Interviews with “Rosey,” as he is called by those who know him, also appeared in the Spanish publication La Palabra Escrita and the German publication Digitale Mediapolis.

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