Foundation-funded Journalism, Philanthro-capitalism and Tainted Donors (Article)

Kate Wright

January 9, 2018

Publication

By Kate Wright, Martin Scott and Mel Bunce. Not-for-profit news organisations are increasingly funded by private foundations, supported by wealthy entrepreneurs. This raises a range of ethical dilemmas for journalists, which are particularly serious when their donors are alleged to have been involved in unethical or illegal activities. Although this is a relatively common occurrence in the non-profit sector, so far there has been no critical discussion of these issues in relation to foundation-funded journalism. In this article, we interrogate a rich and detailed case study of the relations between a non-profit news organisation and a donor accused of being involved in a massive, international fraud scandal. We document how the news outlet justified their acceptance of this donor’s money; the defensive strategies they used to protect their reputation, organisational values and editorial freedom; and the conditions that ultimately led to journalists parting ways with the foundation. In so doing, we draw on ideas about philanthrocapitalism, stakeholders and resource dependence in order to develop model of how non-profits respond to “tainted” donors.

The article Foundation-funded Journalism, Philanthrocapitalism and Tainted Donors (Wright, Scott and Bunce) is published in the academic journal – Journalism Studies – and is freely available (open access) here – http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1461670X.2017.1417053

Jho Taek Low at the Social Good Summit in New York – Photo from Facebook

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Red Nose Day 2019: How Does It Work, And Why Is It Being Criticized? https://t.co/qk1gMx583N @MalakaGharib with a good overview for @NPRGoatsandSoda (Also, get her new book)

Thousands of comms scholars arrive in DC for #ica19, get this tornado warning and worry... is the local media really funded enough to perform this task?

Want to be Director of Research at the @BritishAcademy_? https://t.co/lI3z3leaFC #humanities #socialscience #scipol