The model we had before assumed that the interests of newspapers were coextensive with the interests of free speech and with a free press generally, and that was always a kind of seat-of-the-pants assumption. These organizations, which were for-profit enterprises, were treated as a proxy for the public interest, but of course if you thought about it for a moment you would realize that a for-profit enterprise—which has to answer to its shareholders, as newspapers increasingly have to do—is not a perfect proxy for the pubic interest. So an NGO or a nonprofit clinic at a law school might be able to provide a different perspective, and between these two types of organizations the joint sum of their work might better approximate the public interest.

NS: I would lament the day when we replace a lawyer in the newsroom who has a personal relationship; that would be tragic. Where we can be situated is where people don’t have other options or they’re priced out of other options or they have don’t have time for them. That’s where we can step up.

Rachael Scarborough King is a former reporter for The New Haven Register and a Ph.D. candidate in English and American literature at New York University.