May 6, 2010; Source: Nieman Journalism Lab | Conservative donors and foundations have seen the increasing vacuum in mainstream news reporting and are moving to fill the void, just like their more liberal nonprofit investigative journalism counterparts. In Rhode Island, the conservative nonprofit news outlet is called the Hummel Report—its emphasis, exposing government waste.
Jim Hummel is a former Providence Journal and WLNE-TV reporter with a clearly conservative political bent. Like some of the other new wave of nonprofit journalism venues, the Report is sponsored by a think tank—in this case the Ocean State Policy Research Institute, a conservative think tank whose CEO, William J. Felkner, is listed as the Hummel Project’s “business partner” and “director of operations.” Hummel claims to have complete editorial control free from his corporate and individual funders’ influence. That’s a nice thought. But we wonder (a) if this is true and (b) if Hummel’s more liberal nonprofit journalism counterparts can make the same claim.—Rick Cohen