October 17, 2018

Event Coverage Highlight

OPC Attends JPC Freedom of the Press Conference

By Patricia Kranz

OPC president Deidre Depke told a crowd of international journalists that there are reasons to be optimistic about the future of journalism in the United States despite myriad challenges.

“Partnerships between news outlets and non-profits like GroundTruth, the Pultizer Center and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists are helping to fill the gap created by staff cuts and the closing of foreign news bureaus,” she said at the Jerusalem Press Club’s Second International Conference on the Freedom of the Press on May 8-9. Her panel was titled “Innovation and Press Freedom.”

Depke pointed out that several OPC awards this year went to journalists who received funding from those non-profit groups. For example, the Malcolm Forbes Award was bestowed on “The Panama Papers,” a massive global investigation of financial corruption conducted by the ICIJ, McClatchy, the Miami Herald and more than 100 other media partners.

Mayka Blok, media strategist for De Correspondent, a member-funded Dutch news website, described how her company created a profitable business model through crowd-sourcing and subscriptions. The site launched in 2013 after raising $1.7 million in 30 days. Since then, the site has signed up more than 50,000 subscribers who pay about $65 a year. More than 30 correspondents write in-depth stories based on reporting and interaction with subscribers. They share notes and story ideas and solicit tips and insights from readers. Blok lamented the power of Facebook, which she claimed tweaks its algorithm frequently to divert readers from media websites to Facebook. “Facebook is evil,” she said several times.

Giving the keynote speech was Carl Bernstein of Watergate fame.

OPC Executive Director Patricia Kranz also attended the event in Jerusalem.