A new survey raises some concerns.
Dick, thanks for this. I had no idea that grants were going to the few for-profit news organizations doing well financially, and that, appallingly, so many don’t disclose or acknowledge their donors. This piece was a real eye-opener for me. As you note, non-profits routinely list their donors and even have to report donors and the amounts they gave to the IRS, on a form that’s publicly available.
"19 for-profit newsrooms admitted in a survey answer that they have changed their editorial priorities in response to funding. That’s appalling." Sure is.
Very interesting -- and disturbing -- post, Dick. Thanks!
This is very useful information. Most of my revenue comes from subscribers or clearly labeled advertisers. I have one person who has made a philanthropic gift and I've not known what to do with it to the point where I've just put it in savings. I'll set up a place where I disclose the gift. I'm a one-person operation and suspect there's a lot more people who want to make sure I can grow!
Thanks, Dick. It is, unfortunately but undeniably, also the case that many nonprofit newsrooms change - or even invent out of thin air - their editorial priorities based on available funding. Just because funders are looking to buy coverage doesn’t mean any newsroom, no matter its tax status, should be willing to sell it. Sadly, the financial reality makes it all too tempting. Sigh.
Great topic, Dick. Thanks.
Dick, I have a question for you. You write: "19 for-profit newsrooms admitted in a survey answer that they have changed their editorial priorities in response to funding. That’s appalling." I'm a little confused by what you mean. If a foundation donates money to a for-profit news outlet to pay for more education reporting, then of course the outlet is going to publish more stories about education. That's a change in editorial priorities, but is it a problem? Of course, if a foundation donates money with the explicit purpose of underwriting more reporting in favor of (or in opposition) charter schools, that would be an outrage. So which do you mean?