General manager Richard Tofel explains the reason is obvious: raising revenue to “fuel our operations, promoting what people in the nonprofit world call ‘sustainability.’”
The Pulitzer-winning ProPublica was launched in 2008 as a non-profit newsroom “that produces investigative journalism in the public interest.” It has been funded almost entirely by philanthropy – mostly large contributions by the Sandler Foundation, the founding donors, but also from other foundations. In 2010 they reportedly had 1,300 donors.
In his online message, Toefl says ProPublica joined an ad network called the Public Media Interactive Network, and has arranged to be represented for web ad sales by National Public Media, an offshoot of NPR and PBS. They’ve also “crafted an Advertising Acceptability Policy, which is principally intended to avoid reader confusion and bad taste.”