Can Philanthropy Save the Media?

The media, civil society, and democracy are under unprecedented duress around the world. Protecting the independent media and the public sphere presents an “epic challenge,” but there is great opportunity for philanthropy to step up and help. Bruce Sievers and Patrice Schneider detail five avenues worth pursuing in funding news media and argue that charitable donors should significantly increase their investment in the media.

Nonprofit News Model is Fragile

Nonprofits have been touted as a possible alternative to the collapsing business models of for-profit news. But a study released last week by the Pew Research Center points to the fragility of that model and also to the need for a more concerted effort to shore it up. The study identified 172 nonprofit news outlets throughout the U.S. – two-thirds of these were launched only since the 2008 financial crisis. While the recession has accelerated the closure of newspapers and the downsizing of news staffs throughout the country, it has given rise to a boom in nonprofit news.