Glenn Greenwald is creating a new journalism operation from the ground up thanks to funding from Pierre Omidyar, founder of eBay. Word is that all profits from the operation will be reinvested in the new organization. According to Omidyar, Greenwald had been working with Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill to develop a new online media organization anyway; Omidyar’s funding will enable them to go much further.
I expect a lot of breathtaking scoops and advocacy journalism from the new organization; I also expect a lot of condescending “yes well they’re not real journalists” statements from the establishment press.
When Jeff Bezos bought the Washington Post, I publicly wished for him to run the Post as if it were a nonprofit, prioritizing good journalism over profits, kind of like the Texas Tribune. Bezos has said that he’ll make no changes at the Post, which is a shame because their columnists are the worst. But occasionally the Post does publish some groundbreaking watchdog journalism, so maybe Bezos will be encouraging more of the same.
Even though it’s neither widely duplicable or sustainable, the trend of independent-minded rich guys buying into journalism might be good when it comes to the type of journalism Greenwald specializes in. But don’t expect any cutting-edge investigative reports on, for example, capitalism and full employment. Bezos and Omidyar may be seriously concerned about the health of modern journalism and the First Amendment, but they are both businessmen with profits to protect. I expect we’ll see some Democracy Now! type reporting on human rights and freedom alongside some Wall Street Journal type reporting on corporations and unions. But who knows? Greenwald, of all people, may be able to convince Omidyar to keep his hands completely off the journalism side of the operation.