The reality is The New York Times pulled a deeply experienced journalist off the philanthropy and nonprofit beat. This is foremost in my mind. I wrote about it last week, and the slightly more widely read Chronicle of Philanthropy covered it the week before.
Then why am I bothered seeing more Times pieces in my “philanthropy” alerts than usual? Because I can’t help but worry it’s an early barrage to appease the nonprofit community so we won’t object to losing our voice at the national desk.
I still say having a reporter devoted exclusively to a beat is better than having multiple reporters across desks thinking about that beat from time to time. She develops sources and builds relationships and asks people what they’re seeing. She thinks about news from a singular perspective to discern trends and make analysis. She devotes time to research in addition to covering news items.
The beat won’t get the attention it deserves over the medium- to long term. Inattention won’t start today, but soon, in weeks or months, and then it’s interminable. (The Times is counting on us having a collective short memory.) That means the charity beat suffers. That means the charity community suffers because information and coverage are power and voice.
I don’t like to see the charity community suffer. Do you think it will? Or am I alone here?