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Writing Workshop

Funding the news

Some traditional news media are getting a fresh infusion of ideas and capital … from the very folks who helped make their old business model obsolete.

As David Carr of the New York Times notes in “Tech wealth and ideas are heading into the news,” a number of Silicon Valley tech titans are now investing in the news business.

For example, Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, recently bought The Washington Post. Facebook’s Chris Hughes bought The New Republic and is also providing financial support to Upworthy, a news aggregation site. Another eBay alum, Jeff Skoll, is helping fund Participant Media and the TV channel Pivot, which focus on making “socially relevant” films and television programs. And eBay Founder Pierre M. Omidyar recently announced that he’s bankrolling a plan by noted journalist Glenn Greenwald to develop a completely new news site.

“The list goes on,” Carr says, “but the trend is clear: quality news has become, if not sexy, suddenly attractive to smart digital money.”

And it’s not just about the money, Carr says, adding, “If ever an industry was in need of innovation — of big ideas from uncommon thinkers — it is the news business.”

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