Reporters at the new organization will cover local government, economic development, education, crime and other civic issues. “We are filling a reporting gap that the free market will not necessarily fill,” said Michael Hecht, chief executive of Greater New Orleans Inc., a regional business development group, who will head fundraising.

Poynter: NPR, University of New Orleans announce new nonprofit news organization.

Background, Part 01: Earlier this year New Orleans’ hometown paper the Times Picayune announced they were scaling back and would only print Wednesday, Fridays and Sundays. While the new venture is online, it is/will fill a hole in the city’s local news ecosystem.

Background, Part 02, via Poynter:

Cameron McWhirter and Keach Hagey report in The Wall Street Journal that NPR and the University of New Orleans will announce Friday the launch of a nonprofit news organization called NewOrleansReporter.org, which they plan to have operational by the end of the year. The site will employ 10 to 20 people, McWhirter and Hagey report.

NPR issued a press release after the story, saying the new site will follow a ”public radio funding model” and will be open source, like ProPublica and The Texas Observer. NewOrleansReporter.org will be based in WWNO’s newsroom, and its general manager Paul Maassen will run both organizations. NPR, the release says, is “providing consultation to WWNO around technology infrastructure and online revenue generation as well as training to support the rapid deployment of a multimedia newsroom.”

Background, Part 03: Here’s where it gets interesting. Also via Poynter (emphasis ours):

The letter also says NPR is investing $250,000 in kind in the project (though that dollar amount may be an estimate and is subject to change), and “has decided to make New Orleans its ‘beta’ market to develop a robust online platform for its affiliates nationally.”

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