As often happens when conservatives gather at major events, the conversation at last week’s Conservative Political Action Conference turned to the future of journalism and how to get the conservative perspective on the world into news coverage.
Michael Calderone, the senior media reporter at The Huffington Post, recapped the discussion in an essay today. Here’s the gist of it:
I was part of the conservative media world for a couple of years and regularly shared my own thoughts on how to improve it. Calderone’s coverage of the CPAC conversation reminded me of another idea that has been germinating inside my head.
I call it the eBay of investigative journalism, and here’s how I envision it:
This would be a double-blind network. Donors would contribute money toward good investigative ideas (their own or those of journalists). They would not know which journalists won the work until after publication, and they could not influence the direction of the stories they fund.
Journalists would contribute intellectual capital to the enterprise. They would not know who is funding their work and thus would not feel beholden to special interests. “Citizen journalists” who have other jobs but occasional investigative ideas could participate on a project-by-project basis once accepted into the network.
The benefits to journalists: They would not have to join themselves to news organizations that have political, financial or other baggage, thus freeing them to do what they do best. The network also would offer health insurance and other benefits to journalists who need it.
The network’s editorial directors would facilitate the initial connections between donors and researchers/writers, and they would serve as editorial advisers during the investigative process.
This approach would insulate journalists from the natural pressures of the business side of media while also empowering the players on both sides of the wall that separates business from editorial. If conservatives built the network, the double-blind nature of it and the participation of a team of seasoned investigative advisers would lend credibility to the final stories, thus increasing the chances of quality conservative journalism moving beyond Fox News.
But there’s no reason that such a network would have to favor any particular worldview. Journalists of all leanings — yes, we all have viewpoints, whether we admit it or not — could apply our creative media minds toward connecting donors and investigators based solely on the merits of the news. What a novel concept!
Update, Feb. 14: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the Valentine’s Day link love. Welcome back, Instapundit readers. Please share your thoughts about this idea, pro or con.
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