Take the money out of the news. A great and noble aspiration if there ever was one. It does away with several issues that plague the industry today. It effectively removes the news outlet from the race to the top in terms of gains and the all important bottom line. However, the nature of a not-for-profit organization steepens the incline in the struggle for equality against those with deep pockets. In its attempts for nobility and shedding its conflict of interest, it practically shoots itself in the foot. Not-for-profit news sidelines itself. Take anything on PBS. Fantastic news and coverage, but it sits as a resource untapped, trying to compete in a traditional sense, while the bigger and louder news organizations grab the majority of public attention with its flashy accessibility. Being able to market oneself as wide-scale puts your product front and centre of the public sphere, leaving the not-for-profit to be coddled by the intellectuals and left-of-centre university professors. That is, until now.
The great equalizer, the internet, makes not-for-profit news competitive. In an arena where celebrities are made in a day, and people become billionaires overnight, the internet gives these independant entities a chance. Because news itself is free throughout the world and is a resource that can be competitively harvested, money becomes less of an issue in this industry. The only issue that plagues not-for-profit, it seems, would be gathering attention. Although it is difficult to tear oneself away from the flashy presentation of the traditional news outlets, the internet has at least proven that content can be supported without much need for a traditional economic model. The second most popular website in the world, Wikipedia, works off of a not-for-profit model. It is sustainable because people use it and it is accessible. The trick for applying this model to a news organization is to simply provide the content that people will use and make it accessible. If you’ve ever used wikipedia you know that ‘flash’ and pizazz’ need not apply, here, content is king. The key is to putting it to use and giving it a banner to unite under.