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NSA reporter Glenn Greenwald partners with billionaire eBay founder for new venture

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Glenn Greenwald flickr gageskidmore cc
Glenn Greenwald flickr gageskidmore cc

More details have emerged about Glenn Greenwald's new journalism venture, with Reuters reporting that Greenwald has partnered with billionaire eBay founder Pierre Omidyar for a new independently funded site. The venture will also include Laura Poitras, the documentarian who played a crucial role in the recent Snowden leaks, but not Washington Post reporter Barton Gellman, who has collaborated with Greenwald and Poitras for a number of recent NSA stories.

Omidyar declined to comment to Reuters on the nature of the project, but it's in keeping with his history of socially motivated investing through the Omidyar Network, which has seen investments in non-profits like the Sunlight Foundation and citizen media site Global Voices, as well as investigative journalism projects like Sahara Reporters. In an earlier statement, Greenwald said the new project would cover a broad range of topics, include sports and entertainment, but retain his usual focus on political news.

Update: Speaking to NYU's Jay Rosen, Pierre Omidyar has elaborated on the unnamed new project. He says the site will be based on a personal franchise model of journalism, attracting "individual journalists who have their own reputations, deep subject matter expertise, clear points of view, an independent and outsider spirit, a dedicated online following, and their own way of working." The site will be funded by Omidyar personally, not through the Omidyar Network, but is intended as a for-profit venture rather than a non-profit charity. Omidyar says the project grew out of his failed bid to purchase The Washington Post, which was subsequently purchased by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and the same $250 million that would have gone to buying the Post will now be poured into this new venture.

Update 2: Pierre Omidyar has made a statement on the Omidyar Group site, saying, "I want to find ways to convert mainstream readers into engaged citizens. I think there’s more that can be done in this space, and I’m eager to explore the possibilities."