#mediadev: While public interest media organizations struggle to sustain their business models, private foundations fund journalism with hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars every year. But foundations have their agendas. Dr Scott, can journalism funded by philanthropy ever be independent? Martin Scott: There are very different kinds of foundations, which fund journalism for very different reasons. Some support news outlets simply because they believe in the value of independent journalism. Those foundations are entirely comfortable with seeking to preserve the independence of journalism. That’s why they exist. In those circumstances, I think there are very few concerns about whether or not journalism underwritten by foundation funding has its autonomy threatened. But there are also foundations that are very issue-based, seeking to advocate for a particular cause. That’s where there are more likely to be potential problems, because perhaps they’re seeking to fund journalists to only cover specific stories that interest them, or in ways they want them to be covered. In those circumstances, then there can be a threat to journalistic independence. What our study [Link] shows is that, in a vast majority of cases, journalists are very willing to say “no” and not accept grants that would impinge on their editorial freedom. And… Read full this story
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