Nonprofit Newswire | Who Says There’s No Profit in Publishing?

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March 3, 2010; Nieman Journalism Lab | Thanks to the power of the internet to make new bedfellows, a partnership between an online news site and fundraiser is providing new revenue opportunities for nonprofits as well as the publisher and its for-profit partner. Yet, for all the good this is doing all parties, some questions are being raised. According to Nieman Journalism Lab, since the fall, the online news site, The Huffington Post has been publishing a section that features stories about social causes and people in need. Often stories in this so-called Impact section are followed by an invitation to donate online to a select number of charities. Causecast, a company that provides nonprofits with online and mobile fundraising tools, produces the section for The Huffington Post, and also passes all donations from readers—some $200,000 since October—directly to the charities through its nonprofit arm. Under the arrangement between Causecast and The Huffington Post, the partners share any advertising and sponsorship revenue the section generates. While recognized as unique business model during a period of great upheaval in the publishing industry, this pairing also raises some questions among observers about the potential for conflicts of interest. In particular, some are concerned about the fact that while the content looks like it’s produced by Huffington Post staff, it’s actually written and edited by Causecast employees. The Huffington Post has responded to some criticism on this “deal” in subsequent articles like this one.—Bruce Trachtenberg