4 January 2012
Sydney Morning Herald via The Guardian
An Australian philanthropist is funding a not-for-profit online start-up
that is pledged to publishing public interest journalism.
Internet entrepreneur Graeme Wood is prepared to spend more than AUD 15m
on The Global Mail, which is set to launch next month. It will
not charge readers, will not sell ads and is not seeking more donors.
It was born from a dinner party conversation between Wood and former
Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC) journalist Monica Attard, who is
the site's editor-in-chief. Attard, an award-winning foreign correspondent, said her starting point
was the Arab spring. She said: "I wondered whether there was any prospect of creating a news
organisation which was web-based, and app-based ultimately, where you
were tapping into great social movements around the world and where you
could also speak to Australian affairs as though we were part of a wider
world, rather than simply this pimple of an island somewhere near the
South Pole." Attard, who has has hired former ABC colleagues Ellen Fanning and
Stephen Crittenden, says about two-thirds of the journalists will have a
broadcast background. The site will be "heavily multimedia."
The Global Mail's funding model is based on the US website Propublica,
which was founded in late 2007 and funded by billionaire philanthropists
Herb and Marion Sandler. And ProPublica's editor-in-chief, Paul Steiger, has become a member of
The Global Mail's editorial advisory committee. Wood has made a five-year commitment to
funding The Global Mail.