For years,the tech billionaire Pierre M Omidyar has been experimenting with ways to promote serious journalism,searching for the proper media platform to support with the fortune he earned as the founder of eBay. He has made grants to independent media outlets in Africa and US watchdogs. In a more direct effort,he created a news website in Hawaii.
Then last summer,The Washington Post came calling in its pursuit of a buyer. The Graham family ended up selling The Post to a different tech billionaire,Jeffrey P Bezos of Amazon. But the experience,Omidyar wrote on his blog on Wednesday,got me thinking about what kind of social impact could be created if a similar investment was made in something entirely new,built from the ground up.
Omidyar also confirmed that he would be personally financing just such a new mass media venture,where he will be joined by the journalist Glenn Greenwald who reported about NSA surveillance contained in papers leaked by Edward J Snowden. Greenwald announced on Tuesday that he was leaving Guardian. He stressed in an interview Tuesday that he would not be the editor or manager of the site,saying,I will be doing the journalism.
The details of the project are vague. I dont yet know how or when it will be rolled out,or what it will look like, he wrote. Greenwald will is expected to be joined by Laura Poitras,who was the conduit between him and Snowden.
Omidyar wrote on Wednesday that the project was something he would be personally and directly involved in. Omidyar wrote that just as he was looking to start his project,Greenwald and Poitras,along with the reporter and author Jeremy Scahill,were already on a path to create an online space to support independent journalists. We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas,and decided to join forces, he wrote.Omidyar referred to $250 million as a starting point for financial commitment.
NOAM COHEN & QUENTIN HARDY