Think Tank Journalism

If natural gas is the supposed bridge fuel to sustainable energy, then maybe think tanks (of all political and ideological stripes) will become a new bridge to an economically sustainable web-based journalism. (There are other emerging bridges in the non-profit sector.)

I’m in favor of this development, so long as the hallmarks of good journalism, such as editorial independence, are preserved.  Based on this email interview Nieman Journalism Lab just conducted with award-winning investigative reporter Mark Flatten, who recently left a newspaper to join the conservative Goldwater Institute, that appears to be the case here.

At the rate the newspaper industry is crumbling, there soon might be more think thanks than newspapers. That should give anyone the shudders. But if more think tanks start hiring reporters, combined with all the other innovative initiatives underway, maybe the industry’s collapse won’t be as devastating to democracy as so many have feared.

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