Foundations Give Major Funding to the Media

Increasingly, foundations and nonprofits are donating millions of dollars to support media watchdog organizations, journalism fellowships, and other media projects, the Washington Post reports.

According to Rick Edmonds, author of a new Poynter Institute report on the trend, this support has created "a significant beachhead in serious journalism..."

The biggest foundation supporter of media projects, according to Edmonds, a former reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, is the Philadelphia-based Pew Charitable Trusts, which has pledged $10.9 million to the Project for Excellence in Journalism and the Committee of Concerned Journalists and will spend approximately $11 million to support the development of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.

Close behind Pew is the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, in Menlo Park, California, which partners frequently with National Public Radio, theWashington Post, and PBS on surveys and other projects.

While foundations and nonprofits do not involve themselves in the operations of news organizations, Edmonds warns that major funding of news organizations by foundations could lead "an exercise in journalistic agenda-setting," with some stories of interest to foundations getting coverage while other stories do not.

Richard Morin. "Media's New Sugar Daddies: Foundations" Washington Post 05/15/2001.