What happens when someone with a big pile of leaked documents forms a partnership with someone with a big pile of money? We’re about to find out as the collaboration between Glenn Greenwald, the journalist to whom Edward Snowden entrusted his extensive gleanings, and Pierre Omidyar, the founder of eBay, gets underway. Joining their team are well-known writers Laura Poitras and Jeremy Scahill, with more participants to be named in the coming weeks. The name of the new company is First Look Media.
They plan to launch a handful of digital magazines, the first of which will concern itself with reporting on the trove of classified documents still in Greenwald’s possession. They’re going at it fast and furious, with the first project, The Intercept, having launched on Feb. 10. This is not a markedly American publication. Pierre Omidyar is ethnically Iranian and was born in France, moving to the US with his family at a young age. Greenwald is still in Brazil, where he has lived since he and his male life partner abandoned the US for a country with better laws for gay couples. Snowden is free to travel within Russia, but not currently trying his luck on getting out of there, given the handling of South American diplomats’ flights out of Europe in recent months. So this international coterie of concerned writers, investors, and whistleblowers is entering the fray of news media, just as CNN is losing viewers and the big print papers continually struggle to drum up business models that make it worthwhile to keep cranking the presses in major American cities. Will they have what people want? In an interview with Democracy Now, Jeremy Scahill elaborated on the “why” and the “why now” for The Intercept
the timing of this site and why we felt it was so urgent to start reporting on these stories right now is to push back against this climate of fear and to say that we, as independent journalists, are not going to back down in the face of government threats, that in fact this is when it is most important to stand up for a truly free and independent press, is when those in power start to try to, you know, push their fists down upon you.
If you want to keep an eye on developments, Pierre O. is blogging at Firstlook.org with information on new hires, plans, and projects. Or, visit The Intercept and see what’s been intercepted thus far.