Lots of ink this week for a new investigative journalism service, much of the commentary along the lines of “Wow: this is the future of investigative journalism.” Pro Publica is a foundation-backed, nonprofit organization that will carry out investigative journalism and place the results established media organizations. (Here’s a sample of the Wow! coverage. Try this Jeff Jarvis piece for a thoughtful overview.)
It may be the future, but the internet’s institutional memory seems a little short. Pro Publica sounds a lot like the Center for Public Integrity, which has been around since 1990. From the center’s about page:
The Center for Public Integrity is a nonprofit organization dedicated to producing original, responsible investigative journalism on issues of public concern.
There are differences, of course, particularly in the way the results of investigations are shared. But the idea of foundation-supported investigative journalism being done outside of legacy media isn’t new, despite what you may be reading on some media blogs.