Can topic-specific news sites work? The Marshall Project hopes so


Bill Keller, the former executive editor of the New York Times, surprised a number of long-time industry watchers when he joined a new-media startup called The Marshall Project earlier this year, especially since the site hadn’t even launched yet. It finally had its public debut this weekend — complete with a story in the New York Times — and joins a group of journalistic efforts that are focused on specific topics or what reporters like to call “beats.” Whether that kind of approach will be financially sustainable, however, remains an open question.

The site, which gets its name from former Chief Justice Thurgood Marshall, is focused on the justice system in America — its flaws and failings, the need for reform, and so on. In an editor’s note, Keller describes it as a “non-profit and non-partisan news organization” that will collaborate with and links to existing news entities but…

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