Columnist and former New York Times executive editor Bill Keller is leaving the paper to become editor in chief of a nonprofit news startup, the Times reported Sunday.
Neil Barsky, a former hedge fund manager and once a Wall Street Journal reporter, founded the startup and will serve as its publisher. Keller moves to The Marshall Project March 1; the nonprofit will begin publishing in the second quarter of the year.
Keller explained the reason for his move in the Times:
“It’s a chance to build something from scratch, which I’ve never done before,” Mr. Keller said, “and to use all the tools that digital technology offers journalists in terms of ways to investigate and to present on a subject that really matters personally.”
The Marshall Project will have an annual budget of $4 million to $5 million and a staff of 20 to 25 full-time journalists, its website states. Funding will come from foundations and individual donors.
“We believe that with the tools now available for gathering, testing, presenting and distributing information, we can create a national hub where aggressive reporting, rigorous analysis and stimulating conversation converge,” Mr. Keller said. “One in 31 American adults lives under the supervision of the criminal justice system – in prison or jail, or on parole or probation. Millions more are tied to that system as enforcers or victims, advocates or academics, policymakers or journalists. This is a subject that defines us. If we are successful, we can hold the system more accountable for delivering on its promise of humane and effective justice.”