Greenwald, Pando, the hero and the billionaire

A quick note about the Pando piece and Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden and the new journalism startup founded by Greenwald and Pierre Omidyar.

1. Is Greenwald a principal in the new journalism company, or an employee?

2. Of course it would have been impossible for Snowden to profit from the leaks, or even be compensated for them.

3. So while, of course, it’s not wrong for Greenwald to be paid for his journalism work, it does seem wrong for him to get rich off it, in this case.

4. Would Omidyar have rushed to start a business with Greenwald if he didn’t have the scoop on the Snowden leaks? No one knows for sure, but in journalism appearances are important.

5. I am a longtime fan of Greenwald’s and honestly I’ve never liked Pando — but I did not like the way Greenwald dismissed their criticism. I thought they asked important questions. It didn’t seem likely other journalists would, given their conflict of interest. As Greenwald himself said, reporters would likely be interested in working for a fresh startup founded by an Internet billionaire. I don’t think people take this into account, but reporters tend to go easy on rich tech people because they’re potential employers. Reporters are human beings too.

6. How news organizations deal with criticism is crucial. This is not a good start!


About Dave Winer

Dave Winer, 54, pioneered the development of weblogs, syndication (RSS), podcasting, outlining, and web content management software; former contributing editor at Wired Magazine, research fellow at Harvard Law School, entrepreneur, and investor in web media companies. A native New Yorker, he received a Master's in Computer Science from the University of Wisconsin, a Bachelor's in Mathematics from Tulane University and currently lives in Berkeley, California.
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