December 21, 2010; Source: Open Channel | Robert McClure is a reporter with Investigate West, a small nonprofit investigative journalism site. IW was paid by Environmental Health News, another nonprofit journalism outfit to produce a story on how rat poison has seeped into our collective environment and the story was then given to for publication.

This system of cooperative development and airing of stories, says McClure, is part of a “new wave of journalism born of the chaotic decline we’ve seen in our nation’s newspapers and broadcast newsrooms.” There are, he says, “a growing number of individuals who want to see in-depth journalism survive the business-model crisis that saw American newspapers shed more than 35,000 jobs since 2007. We are helping take up the slack, and we aim to do more.”

McClure points out that nonprofit news outlets are nothing new. The 162-year-old Associated Press is a nonprofit, as is the Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Center for Public Integrity. But now their numbers are on the rise and all are involved in a race to find the best business model in a quickly changing news ecosystem.—Ruth McCambridge