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Omidyar to bankroll Snowden journalist's new venture

By Noam Cohen & Quentin Hardy

New York Times

LAST UPDATED: 01:31 p.m. HST, Oct 17, 2013

<br />BSN - Pierre Omidyar speaks during a news conference after the 2010 Top 250 Business luncheon on Thursday, Sept. 9, 2010 at the Waikiki Beach Marriot's Kona Moku Ballroom.  Omidyar, the founder of eBay and the publisher of the Honolulu Civil Beat, was the keynote speaker.  (Jamm Aquino/Honolulu Star-Advertiser).<br />

For years, tech billionaire Pierre M. Omidyar has been experimenting with ways to promote serious journalism, searching for the proper media platform to support with the fortune he earned as the founder of eBay. He has made grants to independent media outlets in Africa and government watchdog groups in the United States. In a more direct effort, he created a news website in Hawaii.

Then last summer, The Washington Post came calling in its pursuit of a buyer. The Graham family ended up selling The Post to a different tech billionaire, Jeffrey P. Bezos of Amazon. But the experience, Omidyar wrote on his blog today, "got me thinking about what kind of social impact could be created if a similar investment was made in something entirely new, built from the ground up."

Omidyar also confirmed that he would be personally financing just such a new "mass media" venture, where he will be joined by journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian, the British daily. Greenwald gained notoriety this summer when he reported on the revelations about National Security Agency surveillance contained in papers leaked by Edward J. Snowden.

The details of the new media organization are vague at this point. "I don't yet know how or when it will be rolled out, or what it will look like," Omidyar wrote.

What is clear is that Greenwald will be there, and he is expected to be joined by Laura Poitras, the documentary filmmaker who was the crucial conduit between Snowden and Greenwald.

Omidyar -- who declined an interview request but released a statement and spoke to New York University journalism professor Jay Rosen -- describes a happy coincidence: Just as he was looking to start his project, Greenwald and Poitras, along with the reporter and author Jeremy Scahill, "were already on a path to create an online space to support independent journalists."

"We had a lot of overlap in terms of our ideas, and decided to join forces," he wrote.

Rosen, on his blog, outlined some of Omidyar's thinking: While Greenwald, Poitras and Scahill have focused on national security and U.S. foreign policy, the new project will be of more general interest. Rosen, paraphrasing Omidyar, writes that the project would not be a niche product, and that it would cover sports, business, entertainment and technology.

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Anonymous wrote:
Next thing you know Julian Assange will be on his editorial staff. I disagree with NSA's unconstitutional searches, but Snowden should have had the courage to go public and face the music without fleeing to Russia. After the Russkies finish with him, he will have an unfortunate accident and he will have died a criminal rather than a martyr.
on October 16,2013 | 09:44PM
honokai wrote:
I never understood the argument that you need to surrender to show courage. Is that something they repeat to you after days of solitary confinement in a closet-sized cell?
on October 16,2013 | 11:19PM
Mythman wrote:
"Social Impact"?? Mr Omidyar seems to be a Not for Profit Nut - a zealot without a firm notion of what he is doing. Mistaking not for profits for social engineering outfits is common. He also is victim to the fallacy that something "new" is better, especially when "built from the ground up". Civil Beat sucks and leans far to the left. It "covers" the local news with the same biases and prejudices developed by decades of habit so provides nothing "new". The Grahams decided against, perhaps, selling him the Post based on evaluating his chops - which perhaps are a bit too heavily weighted on the make it up as you go along fantasy side of things.
on October 17,2013 | 03:12AM
honokai wrote:
And he has a ton of money that he earned and you don't.
on October 17,2013 | 05:47AM
puamamane wrote:
It will be another far left liberal fish wrap
on October 17,2013 | 05:55AM
Mythman wrote:
In 1940 there were 12,500 not for profit corporations. Today there are around 700,000 of them and they all lean to the left as they have become social engineering outfits. I have no jealousy over his wealth, as someone above implies.
on October 17,2013 | 08:05AM
Macadamiamac wrote:
Omidyar's Civil Beat has done more for local journalism than any other media including this one. Good luck on his next venture.
on October 17,2013 | 08:01AM
Mythman wrote:
"Omidyar's Civil Beat has done more for local journalism than any other media including this one" False and personal statement. Prove it. Mr Snowden rocked the journalism world, not Mr Greenwald and certainly not Civil Beat. Seymour Hersh would agree with me, I think. not with you.
on October 17,2013 | 08:30AM
false wrote:
I really like your sarcasm. Thank you for that.
on October 17,2013 | 09:37AM
false wrote:
Well I guess IRS will be taking a better look at his filings. LOL
on October 17,2013 | 09:32AM
konag43 wrote:
security is security and should not have been revealsed and i hatev grand standers that wish to make a name for themselves at the expence of the american peoples safety and security. that e.bay's founder would align himeself with such a person is a shameful thing.
on October 17,2013 | 10:33AM
raspberrygoat wrote:
Go get um Mr. Omidyar. Civil Beat Rocks! You have my support.
on October 17,2013 | 12:11PM
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