Bernard Hickey has shelved plans for journalism.org.nz - a website offering public interest journalism he launched on August 23.
The high profile journalist and financial commentator is to refocus on his journalism career as he drops plans for the new website.
The proposal for a scheme - compared to Pro-Publica in the US - drew strong praise and support.
But after six months looking he found nobody was willing to stump up the hundreds of thousands needed that would form the foundation of journalism.org.co.nz.
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"Despite good feedback there was not a lot of money available from individuals.
"Most people understood the need, but some believed there would not be enough demand from people paying for access - not while Fairfax and APN News & Media were still providing a lot of content free on the internet.
"History overseas showed we really needed a significant donation to form a base to work from."
Hickey was not ruling out returning to the idea or others might follow through, he said.
"Long term, people will see the need for this," he said.