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Many journalism stakeholders have begun looking to philanthropic foundations to help newsrooms find economic sustainability. The rapidly expanding role of foundations as a revenue source for news publishers raises an important question: How do foundations exercise their influence over the newsrooms they fund? Using the hierarchy of influence model, this study utilizes more than 40 interviews with journalists at digitally native nonprofit news organizations and employees from foundations that fund nonprofit journalism to better understand the impact of foundation funding on journalistic practice. Drawing on previous scholarship exploring extra-media influence on the news industry, we argue that the impact of foundations on journalism parallels that of advertisers throughout the 20th century—with one important distinction: Journalism practitioners and researchers have long forbidden the influence from advertisers on editorial decisions, seeing the blurring of the two as inherently unethical. Outside funding from foundations, on the other hand, is often premised on editorial influence, complicating efforts by journalists to maintain the firewall between news revenue and production.
This report seeks to investigate existing research about crowdfunding for nonprofit organizations using the lens of #GivingTuesday as a way to focus on the questions, concerns, and potential for this relatively new tool for giving to nonprofit organizations. Crowdfunding is broadly defined as "the raising of capital from a large and diverse pool of donors via online platforms" (Davies, 2014). While many forms of crowdfunding exist, including funding of for-profit projects, businesses, and peer-to-peer giving, this report focuses on crowdfunding for nonprofit organizations exclusively.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
A crisis faces local newsrooms across the nation. News publishers have, for over a decade, competed with search engines and digital platforms, not only for their readers' attention, but also for advertising revenue. At the same time, we have seen decades of growing distrust and partisan antipathy toward institutions of all kinds, including journalism. Local newspapers are especially vulnerable to these trends. As a result, there have been waves of consolidation, often resulting in fewer newsroom jobs. Particularly controversial have been acquisitions of newspapers by private equity investors, often followed by debate about how the newsroom is managed by its new ownership.
This Gallup/Knight Foundation study seeks to better understand whether Americans care about the fate of local news organizations, what they value about these organizations and what could be done to make more of these organizations financially sustainable. The results are sobering, but they also point toward potential solutions for addressing some of the economic challenges facing many local news organizations.
Illinois is home to over 5,200 active grantmaking foundations spanning all types—independent or family, corporate, community, and operating—sizes, and issue areas. The community includes many foundations that only give locally or within the state, as well as those that fund nationally and even internationally. Giving in Illinois provides an overview of the scale and composition of the Illinois foundation community and grantmaking priorities of foundations funding in Illinois.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
Most histories of religion, media, and capitalism have focused on televangelists or on conservative religious leaders who built their own broadcasting networks. But this is not the entire story. Religious insiders—frequently centrist liberals—did not need to create their own broadcasting networks because their connections with media networks and philanthropists gave them a privileged place in the American mediascape. In this report, I investigate the relationship between the Rockefeller family and religious media. I focus especially on John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his funding of Riverside Church's Harry Emerson Fosdick and his National Vespers radio program. This report demonstrates the prominence of liberal religious media during the "Golden Age" of radio, and it helps explain how religious liberals navigated the financial dilemmas of producing sustaining programs.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
Within communication and media studies, Paul Lazarsfeld is primarily known for his methodological innovations in the field of audience research. Yet, during the early 1950s, Lazarsfeld was asked to chair the Ford Foundation's Television Advisory Committee (TAC). This committee had been established by Robert M. Hutchins, then an associate director of the Ford Foundation. Hutchins had established the TAC as a means of continuing the work of the Commission on the Freedom of the Press, that he himself had chaired during the mid-1940s. Based upon material held in the Ford Foundation archives at the Rockefeller Archive Center, as well as material held at the archives of Columbia University and the University of Maryland, this paper provides an overview of Lazarsfeld's chairing of the TAC. It examines Lazarsfeld's relationship with both the commercial broadcasting industry and the media reform movement, two factions that had an interest in the work of the TAC, but whose relationship with each other was antagonistic. The paper argues that he was selected to chair the TAC because of his previous involvement with, and good standing within, the two factions. Ultimately, however, Lazarsfeld was unable to advance the cause of media reform within the Ford Foundation, and oversaw the production of a research report that was of little consequence, either to the development of television as a new medium, or to the case of media reform.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
This report examines trust in media, showing that many young adults use news media to make decisions on policies and voting. It reveals that a majority of young adults are concerned about the impact of news on democracy and unity in the country, expressing that news organizations might divide and polarize citizens. Conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, the report analyzes the findings of a survey of 1,660 adults between the ages of 18 and 34. It also surveyed large samples of African American and Hispanic participants to explore beliefs and behaviors across races and ethnicities.
The study shows that young people believe some news sources are actively hurting democracy and corroding national unity. Sixty-four percent of young adults say their least-liked news source hurts democracy and 73 percent say their least-liked news source divides the country. Only 47 percent say their favorite news source helps unite it. When comparing partisan attitudes, 51 percent of Democrats say their favorite source unites the public, while 42 percent of Republicans say the same.
Philanthropy for Social Justice and Peace;
Individual giving in India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil is part of PSJP's Philanthropy Study. Previously the study has focused on producing a series of papers on philanthropy in four emerging market countries/regions – India, Russia, the Arab region and Brazil. These studies have taken a broad view of philanthropy, encompassing everything from individual giving (by the very wealthy and by people of more modest means, including crowdfunding) to giving by private and corporate foundations, CSR, community philanthropy, social justice philanthropy, self-funded movements and impact investing.
The current paper looks at individual giving by ordinary people in these countries/ regions in more depth. Seen as an area of great promise in India and Russia, it is at an earlier stage in Brazil. In the Arab region giving to the social sector is barely making headway, though traditional giving is very much alive.
Open Society Foundations;
Concern over online interference in elections is now widespread—from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the pernicious effects messaging apps have had in elections in Kenya or Brazil. Yet regulatory and monitoring efforts have lagged behind in addressing the challenges of how public opinion can be manipulated online, and its impact on elections. The phenomenon of online electoral interference is global. It affects established democracies, countries in transition, and places where freedom of expression and access to information are tightly controlled.
But fundamental questions of what should be legal and illegal in digital political communication have yet to be answered in order to extend the rule of electoral law from the offline to the online. Answering these questions would help determine the right scope for online election observation, too. This scoping report explains why social media is one of the elements of a democratic, rule of law–based state that observer groups should monitor. It aggregates experience from diverse civil society and nongovernmental initiatives that are innovating in this field, and sets out questions to guide the development of new mandates for election observers. The internet and new digital tools are profoundly reshaping political communication and campaigning. But an independent and authoritative assessment of the impact of these effects is wanting. Election observation organizations need to adapt their mandate and methodology in order to remain relevant and protect the integrity of democratic processes.
Media Impact Funders;
Both radio and audio are being used in exciting ways to reach new audiences, spark civic engagement and dialogue across diverse communities, examine science and advance disability education, and much more. Radio, in particular, is garnering significant support from philanthropy across a range of programming themes. While perhaps considered a less dynamic media format in recent years, compared to extraordinary growth in web- and mobile-based media grantmaking, funding data tell a different story. Radio receives a significant share of philanthropic funding, particularly when compared to television and film and video.
The ability to communicate during and after a disaster is a life-and-death matter. And few disasters better exemplify this need than Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017.
Hurricane Irma struck on Sept. 6 and left more than a million people without power while weakening Puerto Rico's already fragile infrastructure. Then on Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria — a Category 4 storm — destroyed the islands' infrastructure. It left nearly the entire population without power and knocked out Puerto Rico's communications networks. Between 3,000–5,000 people died, making Maria one of the deadliest disasters in U.S. history. And the inability of Puerto Ricans to make calls or access life-saving information contributed to the death toll.
The failure of the islands' communications infrastructure was a major factor in the death toll. This report's goal is to call attention to the critical need to examine and investigate all of the causes for the collapse of the communications networks -- and to ensure a crisis like this isn't repeated.
la Caixa Foundation;
The 2030 Agenda calls for transformational change and a new approach to supporting development. Open Innovation Platforms represent a departure from traditional, projectbased, "business-as-usual" efforts, recognizing that new approaches to address deep systemic development issues are necessary to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).