Bill Keller on His Criminal Justice Start-up the Marshall Project, Orange Is the New Black, and the Storm at the New York Times
Posted: 7/8/2014  |  By: Joe Coscarelli | New York Magazine
After 30 years at the New York Times, including the better part of a decade at the top of the masthead, Bill Keller decided it was time to start again from scratch. His new undertaking, forthcoming this fall, is a nonprofit journalism start-up focused on the American criminal justice system — seemingly a niche topic, but perhaps not in the most incarcerated nation on earth. The dream of reporter-cum-hedge fund manager (and Koch director) Neil Barsky, the Marshall Project, named for civil rights attorney and Supreme Court justice Thurgood Marshall, will run on about $5 million per year in philanthropy. Keller, then, is its public face, its pitchman, and the old-media center of its journalistic creditability. He’s also the editor-in-chief.

The newsroom veteran spoke to Intelligencer before the holiday weekend — ahead of lunch with a potential donor — about prepping for launch, the site’s grand plans (to affect the 2016 presidential election), his new digital brethren, and the big ship he left behind.