More than half of foundations that financially support nonprofit journalism outlets specify funding for coverage of topics on which they also seek to influence public policy, according to a new report, nonprofit news service Current writes. The study by the American Press Institute found that nonprofit outlets maintain a “relatively high levels of transparency” about their funding but also notes “areas of sensitivity and political controversy” in their relationship with grant makers.
The institute surveyed 94 nonprofit media groups and 64 organizations that fund such outlets, as well as 146 commercial media entities. About a third of the grant makers said their journalism funding aims to advance a “larger strategic agenda,” and 59 percent have targeted support for coverage of specific subjects. As most nonprofit-news organizations lack written guidelines on what kinds of funding they will take, protecting journalistic independence in this sphere is largely “left to good intentions,” the report states.