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The "Real" Deal

(CBS)
Hard news. No advertising dollars. No government support.

Sound interesting? So how much is it worth to you?

In our constant survey of new ideas for the news, Public Eye came across a news outlet with grand visions that is ramping up online. Nearly unremarked upon to this point in American media – with an exception here or there -- is The Real News Network. The details, from last week's :

A few years ago, documentary maker Paul Jay decided to stop producing his long-running political debate show for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and write a movie. The result was a political conspiracy thriller set in 2020.

When the full horror of his futuristic plot revealed itself, however, he realised there was no time for fiction after all. He recommitted himself to telling the truth with new urgency.

The result is The Real News (therealnews.com), an internet-based news service with an old-fashioned uncompromising ethos and a revolutonary way of maintaining it.

The network describes itself this way:
The Real News is a non-profit news and documentary network focused on providing independent and uncompromising journalism. Our staff, in collaboration with courageous journalists around the globe, will investigate, report and debate stories on the critical issues of our times.

We are member supported and do not accept advertising, government or corporate funding….

The Real News will be financed by the economic power of thousands of viewers like you around the world. Just 250,000 people paying $10 a month will make it happen.

There are a number of caveats here, of course. News is and always be a subjective enterprise, and a lot of the network's advisors have well-known leanings to the left (Phil Donahue, Gore Vidal and Air America's Laura Flanders). Also, the demographic willing to part with $10 a month for "real" news is a self-selecting audience that has already unplugged from mainstream media -- and they're getting the stuff they want from the Internet already, usually for free. But the business model is an interesting idea, and worth a peek.
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