Funding the News: Foundations and Nonprofit Media

Funding the News: Foundations and Nonprofit Media

Despite talk of stepped-up foundation funding for nonprofit journalism initiatives, an analysis of 2010-15 grants suggest that support for innovative projects remains well below what is needed, a report from the Shorenstein Center on Media, Politics and Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Northeastern University School of Journalism finds. The report, Funding the News: Foundations and Nonprofit Media (69 pages, PDF), found that between 2010 and 2015, public media received approximately $796 million, or about 44 percent of the $1.8 billion in grant dollars tracked, but that much of it funded non-news content such as arts, culture, or entertainment programming. Supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation, the Barr Foundation, and Media Impact Funders, the report also found that national news nonprofits received about $216 million of the total; that about two dozen funders provided nearly 70 percent of that funding; and that 80 percent of the grant dollars went to just twenty-five organizations. The report argues that more funding from foundations will be required if disparities and structural weaknesses in the nonprofit news sector are to be successfully addressed.

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