“It’s a fragile existence,” John Hamer, the executive director and chair of the Washington News Council, told me the last time we spoke
It was August of 2012, and the WNC had just received its final grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Hamer needed to find new funders.
Funding proved challenging to secure, and the WNC’s board also recently concluded that the organization’s role itself needed to be completely reimagined.
Those factors led to a decision, announced yesterday, to close the WNC on May 31
“We had a great 15-year run, and we helped a lot of people who were damaged by media malpractice,” said Hamer, in the announcement. “But the news media have changed tectonically since we began. The eruption of online digital news and information made our mission of promoting high standards in journalism much more difficult, if not impossible. How can anyone oversee a cyber-tsunami?”