ProPublica: The Future of Serious News is Clearly Patronage

....“I won’t be offering somebody 50 grand or 100 grand more than they’re making to jump ship, nor will I ask them to take a pay cut” is what Paul Steiger told the New York Times in 2007, when he launched the nonprofit investigative news outfit ProPublica with the $10-million a year backing of the Sandlers, then recently extremely rich off the sale of their mortgage-broking outfit to Wachovia. That may be so! A look through ProPublica’s 2009 taxes has at least four reporters making around $200,000 last year. For 2009, the organization’s revenue after expenses was a negative $2,038,033. (I guess they had donations from 2008 to spend through?) It seems to me that some efficiencies could be introduced into this system, not that it matters to the funders. (Though, you know, I certainly won’t be donating to them any time soon! I don’t give money to nonprofits at which the executive director makes more than half a million dollars.) Just for scale: the entire cost for the New York Times Company for three months is basically $500 million, and they have to like, print and distribute a newspaper, among other things. (via)