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Greenwald Moves On - Keith Millea - 16-10-2013

10.16.13 - 7:30 AM

Greenwald Moves On

[Image: greenwald_enhanced-buzz-17387-1381867524-39.jpg]

Glenn Greenwald, who broke the Edward Snowden and NSA surveillance stories, is leaving the Guardian for a new media venture funded by Iranian-American eBay founder Pierre Omidyar.

Greenwald, who is based in Brazil, said he regretted leaving the Guardian but couldn't turn down a "once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity" to create a new organization with "no pre-existing institutional strictures on what you can do." Omidyar is a 46-year-old, politically-minded philanthropist and entrepreneur said to be concerned about U.S.A. surveillance, is worth an estimated $8.5 million. Buzzfeed first reported the move, Reuters updated with details.

Greenwald Moves On - Peter Lemkin - 16-10-2013

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[TD="width: 84%"]Greenwald quits Guardian for independent news project

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[TD="width: 40%"] 10/15/13[/TD]
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Original of this article published at RT

Glenn Greenwald (Reuters/Sergio Moraes)
Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald, who was one of the first journalists to break the NSA surveillance story, is leaving the British newspaper for a "once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity."
"My partnership with the Guardian has been extremely fruitful and fulfilling: I have high regard for the editors and journalists with whom I worked and am incredibly proud of what we achieved," Greenwald said in a statement after the news was broken by BuzzFeed. No concrete details were specified.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that eBay founder Pierre Omidyar would finance Greenwald's new venture.
Omidyar is known for his investment entity Omidyar Network, which funds numerous philanthropic, business, and political interests. Forbes estimated his net worth to be around US$8.5 billion. Omidyar already finances a news website called Civil Beat, which reports on public affairs in Hawaii and is based on subscriptions.
Glenn Greenwald, an American living in Brazil, said the new project will be "a very well-funded...very substantial new media outlet." He added that "my role, aside from reporting and writing for it, is to create the entire journalism unit from the ground up by recruiting the journalists and editors who share the same journalistic ethos and shaping the whole thing -- but especially the political journalism part -- in the image of the journalism I respect most," he told BuzzFeed.
He also pointed out that his plans were leaked prematurely, so he is unable to reveal any more information at this time. "Because this news leaked before we were prepared to announce it, I'm not yet able to provide any details of this momentous new venture, but it will be unveiled very shortly."
He went on to say that his decision to leave the Guardian was "not an easy one" but that he was "presented with a once-in-a-career dream journalistic opportunity that no journalist could possibly decline."
Guardian spokeswoman Jennifer Lindauer said in a statement posted on Greenwald's site that "We are of course disappointed by Glenn's decision to move on, but can appreciate the attraction of the new role he has been offered. We wish him all the best."
Greenwald made international headlines earlier this year after reporting on former NSA contractor Edward Snowden's NSA leaks, which revealed detailed information about US global surveillance programs. The journalist has since faced continuous pressure from Western authorities.
Following the first revelations regarding Washington's global spy network, Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, was detained for nine hours under the Terrorism Act at London's Heathrow Airport. British authorities confiscated his phone, laptop, and memory storage devices and threatened him with imprisonment.
Greenwald decried Miranda's detention as an act of "intimidation" by the UK government and an "abuse of power."
In his latest interview with Radio France Internationale (RFI), Greenwald spoke candidly about the threats he had received from the US and the UK, and about his intention to publish all the documents handed to him by Snowden.
"I intend to publish all the documents I have. The more threats I get from the US and UK, the harder I will work to publish this information," said Greenwald.

My note: I highly respect Greewald, but have great reservations about the owner of eBay [which owns PayPal, which cut off funding for Assange....among other things....] Something is amiss in 'Paradise'.

Greenwald Moves On - Keith Millea - 16-10-2013

Update: Top-notice investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras will reportedly join Greenwald in the new venture.

Greenwald Moves On - Magda Hassan - 17-10-2013

Keith Millea Wrote:Update: Top-notice investigative journalists Jeremy Scahill and Laura Poitras will reportedly join Greenwald in the new venture.
Oh, even better! Great news :Clap:

Greenwald Moves On - Magda Hassan - 17-10-2013

Peter Lemkin Wrote:My note: I highly respect Greewald, but have great reservations about the owner of eBay [which owns PayPal, which cut off funding for Assange....among other things....] Something is amiss in 'Paradise'.
PayPal took over eBay some time ago and the original founder who sold it to them has not been involved with it for many years now and has his own philanthropic empire to manage. He was not involved in the blockade and all that which was a PayPal vendetta not eBay. Amazon was also involved with some of the Wikileaks blockade when they kicked WL off their cloud servers. This is the original founder: He is still on the board: He may still have some shares in it but not one of the big shareholders: He made his big money when eBay went public. I'm sure Greenwald has checked him out too. And others. From what I have seen there are no alarms coming from Julian Assange, Anonymous, and other public whistleblowers about this being a bad move.

Greenwald Moves On - Magda Hassan - 17-10-2013

Some more info on the event. This could be a real boon to investigative journalists everywhere not just GG and co.

Quote:Why Pierre Omidyar decided to join forces with Glenn Greenwald for a new venture in news

Yesterday word leaked out that Glenn Greenwald would be leaving the Guardian to help create some new thing backed by Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay. I just got off the phone with Omidyar. So I can report more details about what the new thing is and how it came to be.

Here's the story he told me:
In the spring of this year, Pierre Omidyar was one of the people approached by the Washington Post Company about buying the Post. Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, wound up with the prize. But as a result of exploring that transaction, Omidyar started thinking seriously about investing in a news property. He began to ask himself what could be done with the same investment if he decided to build something from the ground up.
As he was contemplating the Post purchase, he began to get more alarmed about the pressures coming down on journalists with the various leak investigations in Washington. Then thesurveillance stories started appearing and the full scope of the threat to independent journalism became clear. His interest in launching a new kind of news organization capable of sustaining investigative work and having an effect with it intensified throughout the summer as news from the Snowden files continued to pour forth.
Attempts to meet with Greenwald to discuss these plans and to find out more about how he operates were unsuccessful until this month. When they finally were able to talk, Omidyar learned that Greenwald, his collaborator Laura Poitras, and The Nation magazine's Jeremy Scahill had been planning to form their own journalism venture. Their ideas and Omidyar's ideas tracked so well with each other that on October 5 they decided to "join forces" (his term.) This is the news that leaked yesterday. But there is more.
Omidyar believes that if independent, ferocious, investigative journalism isn't brought to the attention of general audiences it can never have the effect that actually creates a check on power. Therefore the new entity they have a name but they're not releasing it, so I will just call it NewCo will have to serve the interest of all kinds of news consumers. It cannot be a niche product. It will have to cover sports, business, entertainment, technology: everything that users demand.
At the core of Newco will be a different plan for how to build a large news organization. It resembles what I called in an earlier post "the personal franchise model" in news. You start with individual journalists who have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working. The idea is to attract these people to NewCo, or find young journalists capable of working in this way, and then support them well.
By "support" Omidyar means many things. The first and most important is really good editors. (Omidyar used the phrase "high standards of editing" several times during our talk.) Also included: strong back end technology. Powerful publishing tools. Research assistance. And of course a strong legal team because the kind of journalism NewCo intends to practice is the kind that is capable of challenging some of the most powerful people in the world. Omidyar said NewCo will look for "independent journalists with expertise, and a voice and a following." He suggested that putting together a team of such people means understanding how each of them does his or her best work, and supporting that, rather than forcing everyone into the same structure.
Part of the reason he thinks he can succeed with a general news product, where there is a lot of competition, is by finding the proper midpoint between voicey blogging and traditional journalism, in which the best of both are combined. The trick will then be to combine that with the things technology companies are good at.
"Companies in Silicon Valley invest a lot in understanding their users and what drives user engagement," he said, mentioning Netflix as a clear example. NewCo will have to serve users of news in the same personalized way, he said. He didn't want to reveal too much at this stage, but as the founder of eBay he clearly has ideas about how a next generation news company can be built from the ground up.
NewCo is a new venture a company not a charity. It is not a project of Omidyar Network. It is separate from his philanthropy, he said. He said he will be putting a good deal of his time, as well as his capital, into it. I asked how large a commitment he was prepared to make in dollars. For starters: the $250 million it would have taken to buy the Washington Post.
I asked him if Greenwald was closer to a lead writer or an executive editor. He said the agreement to join forces was so new that they had not discussed roles and responsibilities. All they know is that they want to work together to create NewCo. Poitras will bring expertise in video and documentary. Scahill is a somewhat similar figure to Greenwald: an independent national security journalist with editorial obsessions in which he has become expert.
Why is Omidyar doing this? He said that his involvement in Civil Beat (a news site he started in Hawaii) stoked his appetite to try something larger in news. "I have always been of the opinion that the right kind of journalism is a critical part of our democracy." He said he had watched closely over the last 15 years as the business model in journalism collapsed but he had not "found a way to engage directly." But then when the idea of buying the Washington Post came up he started to think about it more seriously. "It brings together some of my interests in civic engagement and building conversations and of course technology, but in a very creative way."
A final factor. His "rising concern about press freedoms in the United States and around the world." The U.S. has the First Amendment. When the freedom to practice hard-hitting investigative journalism comes under threat here, he said, that's not only a problem for our democracy but for the chances that democracy can work anywhere. NewCo will be designed to withstand that threat.
Now for the disclosure: As Omidyar was making the rounds to talk to people about his plans I was one of those he consulted with. That happened in September. So he knew I was familiar with his thinking and that's probably why he chose to talk to me. That's my initial report. I may have more to say as I sift through my notes and think about what he told me.
UPDATE, 1:00 PM Oct 16: An additional detail that I should have mentioned: the business model isn't fully worked out yet, but this much is known: all proceeds from NewCo will be reinvested in the journalism. Also: there is no print product planned. This is all-digital.
From Omidyar's own statement at his foundation's site, My Next Adventure in Journalism.
I explored purchasing The Washington Post over the summer. [Through that] I developed an interest in supporting independent journalists in a way that leverages their work to the greatest extent possible, all in support of the public interest. And, I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens. I think there's more that can be done in this space, and I'm eager to explore the possibilities.
Right now, I'm in the very early stages of creating a new mass media organization. I don't yet know how or when it will be rolled out, or what it will look like.
What I can tell you is that the endeavor will be independent of my other organizations, and that it will cover general interest news, with a core mission around supporting and empowering independent journalists across many sectors and beats. The team will build a media platform that elevates and supports these journalists and allows them to pursue the truth in their fields. This doesn't just mean investigative reporting, but all news.
At Poynter, John Temple, who was editor of Omidyar's Civil Beat when it launched, says: "He's got a journalist's sensibility. He enjoyed the hunt for a story, and he's very open to experimenting with how to tell the story and using contemporary approaches." That said, Omidyar "gives you the space to do your job."
UPDATE, 3:00 PM. Some additional thoughts after processing the news: I think it's highly significant that Omidyar is coming to this project after his adventure in creating Civil Beat. (For more on that, see this account at Nieman Lab.) Civil Beat started off as a pay site with a high price tag ($20 per month) and then sought a partnership with Huffington Post Hawaii, so as to combine the benefits of the high traffic, advertising model with the smaller-reach, paid subscriber system. That shows the kind of tinkering necessary to get to sustainability.

But note: What Omidyar learned from trying to create a serious, civic good with online journalism in Hawaii did not discourage him from attempting something larger. On the contrary, his appetite only grew. Thus, the chances that he is heading into this with a naiveté about the economy of digital news production seem to me quite slim. Many of the illusions he started with we could also call them hunches have already been modified by experience. And out of that experience has come this much bigger gamble, with a quarter billion dollars behind it. That says a lot.

Greenwald Moves On - Peter Lemkin - 17-10-2013

Sounds good...but I suggest they not have it based in the USA! :Ninja:

Greenwald Moves On - Magda Hassan - 17-10-2013

Peter Lemkin Wrote:Sounds good...but I suggest they not have it based in the USA! :Ninja:
Yes. Some one suggested Switzerland. Others Iceland. US is good for 1st amendment protection but even that is dubious these days. Hopefully they will set up various shell companies in various places to get the best of being an international borderless media outlet. Stay away from the cloud servers and much other controlled stuff. Between them all they will have the best advice too. Lots of people are wishing them the best. We all need this. Pity it is too late for Michael Hastings. It might give more unknown investigative journalists from all countries some resources to do some good work too. FOI is expensive. Deliberately so I say. And travel too.

Greenwald Moves On - Peter Lemkin - 17-10-2013

Magda Hassan Wrote:
Peter Lemkin Wrote:Sounds good...but I suggest they not have it based in the USA! :Ninja:
Yes. Some one suggested Switzerland. Others Iceland. US is good for 1st amendment protection but even that is dubious these days. Hopefully they will set up various shell companies in various places to get the best of being an international borderless media outlet. Stay away from the cloud servers and much other controlled stuff.

Well, a good international media organization would want offices or at least correspondents in as many countries and cities as possible, but they had best not have a centralized 'office' in the USA, IMO (or the UK). The First Amendment is only on paper at this point, and on an old piece of parchment, at that, which Peter Dale Scott and others have questioned if it [the Constitution] might not actually secretly still be suspended in whole or in part after 9-11 under the excuse of COG during the endless 'War' on Terrorism. The First Amendment hasn't protected anyone with any sensitive information since 9-11; in fact many are now in jail despite it. More whistleblowers have been prosecuted and sentenced under the ancient Espionage Act of 1917, or are in the process of being, under Oh-bomb-ya than all other Presidents combined. Change you can believe in?!?!

Boy, is this media entity going to be a TARGET of the NSA and its sister electronic spying agencies worldwide!!!! Let the battles begin in the virtual Colosseum.::darthvader::

Greenwald Moves On - David Guyatt - 17-10-2013

Let's hope and pray that the new venture works as intended and does an excellent job. It's not as if it's not vitally needed is it. Journalism is in a dire state these days - principally because of corporate ownership that in itself adheres to the status quo and elite power.