As newsrooms across the country shave off staff due in part to slipping ad revenue and corporate media conglomeration, The Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity, is rushing to fill the gap. The group has 43 state news websites, with writers in over 40 states. Its reporters have been given state house press credentials and its news articles are starting to appear in mainstream print newspapers in each state. Who funds Franklin and what is its agenda?
The websites started sprouting up in 2009. Some of these new sites go by the moniker “Reporter” as with the Franklin Center’s Wisconsin Reporter that was launched in January as a website and wire-like service. Others have taken the shared name of “Watchdog.org,” or “Statehouse News.” The websites all offer their content free to local press — many of the news bureaus send out their articles to state editors every day. The sites also offer free national stories that media can receive daily by subscribing.