ProPublica is an independent, non-profit newsroom with headquarters in Manhattan. ProPublica's newsroom employs 32 journalists and receives financing from the Sandler Foundation and other contributions. The organization's mission is to continue the tradition of investigative journalism at a time where a lot of newspaper organizations have had to cut back on their newsroom operations. The really interesting thing here, though, is that ProPublica is giving away all of its content to other newspapers and online publishers for free under a non-commercial, no-derivatives Creative Commons license.

While ProPublica chose a non-commercial license for its content, the team clarifies that ProPublica is "fine with ads appearing on the same page as republished stories, but you can't resell the stories or sell ads specifically targeted to them."

Since ProPublica announced this policy, articles from ProPublica journalists have appeared in a wide variety of newspapers and online publications, including USA Today, Politico, Salon, The Denver Post, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, and the Albany Times Union.

To some degree, ProPublica models an approach that could eventually help newspapers to stay afloat by pooling resources and making stories available across a wider network of papers.

ProPublica and Citizen Journalism

Just this week, ProPublica also launched a new citizen journalism project, the ProPublica Reporting Network, that invites citizens to "commit acts of journalism." As its first mission, the ProPublica is asking people to "adopt" a stimulus project and monitor it. Essentially, this project crowdsources investigative journalism, and given the scope of the stimulus bill, this might just turn out to be the only effective way of monitoring the efficiency of a project of this size.

Will More Projects Follow this Path?

It would be nice if other non-profit news organizations like the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting would adopt similarly liberal licenses, though for now, we think this is a great start. If you are aware of similar projects, please let us know in the comments.

Image used courtesy of Flickr user FaceMePLS.