Foundation Support for Media: a Boon with Strings Attached
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Philanthropic support has long been a staple of newsroom budgets, and in recent years it has become even more integral to survival at some news organizations. A wave of nonprofit journalism outlets, most focused on publishing online and spreading their reporting through strategic partnerships, are depending largely on the backing of foundations for start-up costs and continue to rely heavily on philanthropy as they seek other sources of income. Meanwhile, public broadcasters are taking growing amounts of foundation support for reporting, in some cases to deepen coverage of specific beats such as health, education and the environment.
This philanthropic largesse has been a boon to media at a time when the news industry is struggling with hugely disruptive changes to traditional business models. The growing popularity of news on digital platforms brings great opportunity for expanding audience and innovating new forms of journalism. But as has been well documented, it has also news...