Not-for-profit news site launches in Australia

A new not-for-profit media group looking to do “fearless, independent” journalism launched this week in Australia.

The Global Mail will be online-only, and is funded by philanthropist Graeme Wood, founder of Wotif.com, who invested AU$15 million, AFP reported. The start-up will compete in a space dominated by Fairfax and News Limited-owned properties.

“I had long viewed, with a degree of envy, the ProPublica model in the US and wanted to build a site here that carried only public interest journalism — no ads, no subscription, no celebrity stories, no spin, funded philanthropically. So the model was inspired by ProPublica.org, even though we won’t and can’t do investigations alone,” Monica Attard, newly appointed editor-in-chief of the Global Mail, told The Australian.

The start-up is “entirely philanthropically-funded and will last as long as the money is there,” Attard told AFP, adding that there are no immediate ideas on creating revenue streams.

The news outlet has an Editorial Advisory Committee, which will monitor the site’s content in order to ensure it adheres to its mission. The committee includes Anne Britton, member of the Administrative Appeals Tribunal; Pam Williams, editor-at-large of the Australian Financial Review; Marian Wilkinson, ABC TV Four Corners reporter; Norman Gillespie, CEO of UNICEF Australia; Dr. John Carmody, former associate professor of the School of Physiology and Pharmacology at New South Wales University; Paul Steiger, editor-in-chief, CEO and president of Propublica.org; and Graeme Samuel, former head of the Australian Consumer Competition.

The Board includes Wood, Saad Mohseni, chairman and CEO of MOBY Group; and Jenny Wheatley, a principal at international accounting firm Crowe Horwath and lead principal for Forensic Accounting in CH’s Sydney corporate finance team.

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