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Nonprofit journalism on the rise

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The Web daily, which has won numerous awards in its short existence, now plans to expand its staff of eight reporters and editors. Most are in their 20s, which Andrew Donohue, another executive editor, attributes to modest salary levels and to a desire to hire young, eager reporters who won't get a second glance from big-league newspapers. But new hires will be more experienced, he suggests.

The Voice's coverage tends to be earnest and serious, focusing on growth, housing, and politics, over the traditional newspaper fare of parades, house fires, and high school football games. It emphasizes "what people need to know the most, instead of the headlines and photos that will get the most hits," says Mr. Donohue.

Its readership is still fledgling. The website attracts 17,000 visitors daily, compared with the San Diego Union-Tribune, which has a paid weekday circulation of 278,379 and had 1.2 million online visitors in December, according to industry statistics.

Despite the still small numbers, donors to the Voice – which include a local steakhouse and a credit union – continue to support it to the tune of about $600,000 a year.

Funding journalism to help democracy

Nonprofit newspapers are not new – long-standing ones include The Christian Science Monitor and the St. Petersburg Times in Florida. But the Internet, by doing away with massive printing costs, may make it easier for them.

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