Insights, tools and research to advance journalism

Ethics and standards (Page 4)

What metrics and outcomes funders ask for from news organizations

Another issue in the nonprofit news landscape is about metrics, or proof that work being underwritten is reaching an audience or perhaps having even more of an impact — such as changing public attitudes on an issue. The question of metrics is hardly new. Commercial news organizations for years have used some numbers to establish […]

Balanced approach can work, despite perception problems

This essay is part of “Charting new ground: The ethical terrain of nonprofit journalism,” API research exploring the philanthropic funding of journalism. Read the other essays. About a month into my new job managing media grants for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, a local newspaper headline read like a warning shot across my cubicle: […]

How news organizations disclose relationships with funders

The study also looked at whether the work of news organizations intersected with their partners or funders beyond the collaboration. What happens, for instance, when a partner or a funder becomes the subject of a news story? Do the media organizations who have done stories on partners and funders note their relationship? The answer, the […]

When individuals behind a donation are unknown, how news organizations proceed

One issue that has emerged in recent years regarding transparency is so-called donor-advised funds — financial vehicles that manage charitable donations made by individuals, families or organizations and under law do not have to disclose the identify of those contributors. The funds have become controversial because they can be a way for people or foundations […]

How news organizations handle disclosure and transparency of funding

Transparency is considered a core element of journalism and an important feature of foundations. And while the most foundations and newsrooms report in this survey that they practice a high degree of transparency in their dealings with each other, few have concrete rules or written regulations regarding disclosure. When it comes to disclosure, the commercial […]

Few news organizations have written guidelines about outside funding of news

One of the most striking findings from the research is there aren’t clear or universal rules of the road here — and very few written rules or guidelines on either side that could clarify roles and establish editorial firewalls. When it comes how to communicate with funders, for instance, 43 percent of nonprofit media outlets […]

How often funders get to review content before it is published

What kind of communication do nonprofit news organizations and funders have about the news content that those funders underwrite? The answer varies depending on whether you ask grantors or grantees. In general, media organizations are less inclined to believe funders have input than funders are. For instance, when you ask nonprofit media outlets, just 6 […]

How much funders specify the content news organizations produce

How specific are funders about the content they want to finance? General operating support grants, which allows a nonprofit media organization the most freedom regarding how it spends funds, was the most common type of grant cited by the nonprofit media organizations surveyed. Most foundations (57 percent) also said they had given grants to help […]

The nature of grants that fund nonprofit news organizations

In all, more foundations surveyed said they are funding nonprofit journalism — both to nonprofit media and in collaborations with commercial media — than they were five years ago. That finding is consistent with what the Foundation Center, Knight Foundation and Media Impact Funders have found elsewhere. In all, 43 percent of funders said the […]

Most funders think donations to news organizations meet their objectives

In the end, do funders think their underwriting of media is accomplishing what they want? More than half of foundations said they consider their media grantmaking a success; generally accomplishing their objectives, and a few exceeding them. Very few report falling short of their objectives. However, about 35 percent did not answer the question, skipping […]

Need to Know newsletter

The smart way to start your day

Each morning we scour the web for fresh useful insights in our Need to Know newsletter. Sign up below.

Featured topics

Go deeper on…

Dive deep on everything we produce about these key topics.

Strategy Studies

The best practices for innovation within news organizations

This Strategy Study presents examples and insights about journalism innovation, offering actionable advice and methods to move your journalism and business forward.