Here's an important new experiment in philanthropy and media - the launch of Pro Publica.
Funded by Herbert and Marion Sandler and led by former WSJ editor Paul Steiger, Pro Publica will focus on investigative journalism - the stuff that newspapers continue to cut as profits drop. A team of independent journalists will pitch stories to major papers and pursue the kinds of "misdeeds in government, business and organizations" that only long-term (read: expensive) investigations can fully explicate.
Why should you care? Market pressures are killing investigative journalism. This philanthropic initiative is trying to craft a new mechanism for bringing it back. Let's face it without independent investigative journalism Nixon would have finished his second term, Rumsfeld would still be at DoD, and Monica Lewinsky would have never made the news.
It is not called the "Fourth Estate" for nothing - without an independent media, democracy doesn't work.