The Humanitarian Journalism project is seeking to better understand how the news media report on humanitarian crises and what shapes their coverage.

Overview of philanthro-journalism research

Martin Scott

April 2, 2019

Blog

TO HELP THOSE WANTING TO LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS AREA, WE HAVE PRODUCED AN OVERVIEW OF THE EXISTING RESEARCH INTO FOUNDATION-FUNDED JOURNALISM. THIS LISTS THE MAIN PUBLICATIONS TO DATE, THE METHODS USED AND THE MAIN FINDINGS.

Research into foundation-funded journalism is relatively scarce and disconnected. There is, for example, no single edited volume on this topic.

This matters because while philanthropists and foundations often want to support journalism, it is not always clear how they should do this. Similarly, journalists are often unsure about common practices in this area.

For those interested in carrying out further research in this area, this matters because it is useful to know what methods have been used to study this topic in the past and how their findings compare to others.

We are certain that this list is incomplete, though. So please get in touch to let us know what is missing – we intend to produce updated versions as further research is published.

There are three key characteristics of research in this are:

1. Most of the research is US centric. This is partly because, as Eric Karstens explains, ‘charitable journalism funding largely remains a US affair – both in terms of donors and beneficiaries’. According to data from Media Impact Funders, ‘more than 90 per cent of grant money flows to US-based organizations, with some 6 per cent of funds allocated to Europe, and only about 1 per cent to media outlets in the developing world… The vast majority of foundations engaging in the sector are also based in the US’.

2. A number of the studies listed here rely upon data held by Media Impact Funders for their analysis. The other dominant methodology is interviews or surveys of journalists and representatives of foundations. By contrast, there are very few ethnographic studies of specific cases of foundation-funded journalism, or systematic analyses of news content itself. As Harry Browne puts it, ‘there has not, as yet, been any comprehensive content analysis of the work produced by foundation-funded journalists’

3. By far the greatest concern of existing research is about how foundation funding may affect journalistic independence or autonomy. Other common issues addressed include the volume and sustainability of funding, the consequences of an ‘impact agenda’ and the effects of foundation funding on the role perceptions and ‘boundaries’ of journalism.

Related Posts

Philanthropy and journalism in the Global South (Video)

Mel Bunce

July 6, 2020

Blog

This video of an ICA by Dr Mel Bunce presentation is based on our article ‘Foundation Funding and the Boundaries of Journalism’.

Read More

What should journalists at Voice of America do? (Blog)

Can journalistic independence be reconciled with a diplomatic role?

Read More

Popular Articles

Twitter

If #publicmedia organisations fail to unite & advocate for public media with a stronger global voice then the @BBC as with so many other things... will disappear & we won’t realise just how good & necessary it was, until it has gone, - @sallyannpma PMA CEO
https://www.publicmediaalliance.org/demonstrating-the-case-for-robust-and-well-funded-public-media/

"There’s a feeling of despair, there’s a feeling that we are left alone, there’s a feeling that we have a government a state that has failed us all, the amount of destruction is unbelievable" @cityjournalism @HarbZ1 thankfully safe in #Beruit https://twitter.com/HarbZ1/status/1291480909665927176

Zahera Harb زاهرة حرب@HarbZ1

Also listen to my contribution to @BBCWorldBiz Report on the economic aftermath of Beirut explosion https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/w172xlvrr86ftzb