New York Times Forges a Tie to Another Nonprofit News Group

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NY Times new partnershipWill it soon be called The New York Times & Friends? The newspaper (NYT) is opening its pages to an outside entity, entering into a news-gathering partnership with The Bay Citizen, a nonprofit journalism start-up based in San Francisco.

Started just last month, The Bay Citizen employs 14 people and is headed by Jonathan Weber, former editor in chief of the defunct Silicon Alley business magazine The Industry Standard. It will supply content to the Times's eight-month-old Bay Area section, which runs on Fridays and Saturday.

It's not the Times's first experiment with a news-gathering partnership. Earlier this year, the paper began recruiting New York University journalism students to contribute to a hyper-local website about Manhattan's East Village. For a paper with famously unforgiving standards -- standards that, it has made clear, apply as much to freelancers as they do to staffers -- to start farming out its reporting to outsiders was bound to attract some notice.

It didn't escape the attention of Wall Street Journal managing editor Robert Thomson, who rarely misses an opportunity to critique his rivals. "It is inappropriate for a serious newspaper to subcontract its content," Thomson recently said, referring, apparently, to the NYU arrangement. Thomson declined to comment on the Bay Citizen partnership beyond saying it is "precisely what I was referencing in my previous on-the-record comments."

But considering that a similar link-up with another nonprofit, the independent investigative journalism producer ProPublica, netted the Times a Pulitzer Prize this year, you can be confident that such marriages of convenience are going to become more, not less, common.
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