eBay founder Pierre Omidyar's new journalism project finally has a name: First Look Media. Jay Rosen is reporting new details on the upcoming site, which first garnered headlines when it hired NSA journalist Glenn Greenwald in October on the heels of a $50 million investment. Greenwald's corner of the organization is still unclear, but the new filings reveal an unusual financial structure, with journalism being done of a non-profit wing of the company, while it uses publishing tools developed by a separate for-profit technology division.
For Rosen, who's signed on as an advisor to First Look, this is the latest evolution in a long-standing trend. Rosen writes, "Public service, mission-driven journalism, including investigative work, has always been subsidized by something." For newspapers, that profit stream was classified advertising; for First Look, it's technology, whether in the form of a CMS or something even more ambitious. Rosen points to the Atavist iPad magazine as an example of this dynamic that already exists. It's not clear how profitable Omidyar expects the venture to be — in the past, he's said its mission is "to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens" — but under the setup described by Rosen, it could be less of a charity than many have assumed.