Co-Founder and President, Report for America
Steven Waldman is Co-Founder and President of Report for America, which places emerging journalists into newsrooms. Waldman was previously National Editor of U.S. News & World Report and founded Beliefnet.com, a religion website.
The business model has collapsed. That has led to decimation of the reporting squads, and as that happens, the reporting gets more superficial and less effective and meaningful to the community.
Until recently, there was no particular reason for local philanthropy to be thinking about journalism as part of the health of a community, but they do need to think that way now.
At the end of the day, we’re not going to solve this unless there’s a bigger role for nonprofit media. And I don’t just mean us. I mean, all of the nonprofit news start-ups and things like that. We’re a way that you can have the nonprofit sector help to support commercial media too, so that can be part of the solution. But one way or another ... if the nonprofit sector, including philanthropy, plays a bigger role, then that will be a transformation of local media in a healthy way.
The collapse of statehouse coverage is just an enormously important part of the problem and really needs to be part of what we’re talking about.