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Blending the Best of Old and New Media

Welcome to The Washington Independent. We’re an online news organization dedicated to covering politics and policy in the nation’s capital. Washington Independent will launch in January 2008.

We hope to combine the best of traditional and new journalism. We embrace the imperatives of reporting, accuracy and fairness. At the same time, we aspire to incorporate the most attractive features of online news—voice, speed, diversity and interactivity.

My name is Jefferson Morley. I have been a journalist in Washington for the past 27 years, the last 15 as an editor and reporter at The Washington Post and washingtonpost.com. As the editorial director of this enterprise, I am excited about the founding of The Washington Independent because I think this hybrid model offers practical hope to a profession now wracked with doubt about its economic viability and social relevance.

I will be introducing the team behind The Washington Independent in this blog in coming days and weeks.

But first I want to say something about our name. Independence means freedom from corporate and partisan agendas. We do not have a for-profit business model. We’re funded by philanthropic organizations such as the Sunlight Foundation, the Park Foundation, the Surdna Foundation, the Arca Foundation, the Rockefeller Family Foundation, the Better World Fund, the Quixote Foundation and the Open Society Institute. As we establish ourselves, we will pursue self-sustainability and guard our editorial independence. For more information on our financial supporters, visit newjournalist.org/donate.

We are not alone. Other not-for-profit online news organizations are emerging and we are glad to be part of the trend. The Washington Independent belongs to the Independent News Network, a two-year-old group of state news sites, set up by the non-profit, Center for Independent Media.

Our network puts a premium on training. We mentor bloggers in adopting sound journalistic practices. We train print journalists in adapting to the new online world.

Now I want to introduce David Bennahum, the founder of the Center, and ask him to explain the purpose and mission of the Washington Independent and the Independent News Network.

David, some will say a new Web site devoted to Washington politics is a bit like a second marriage: a triumph of hope over experience. What do you say?

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