Interest by the philanthropic community in supporting public-interest media is not new. Donor-supported nonprofit magazines like National Geographic and Mother Jones have been around for decades. The original Fund for Investigative Journalism dates back to 1969, while America’s National Public Radio began in 1971. Following the end of the Cold War, Western governments and foundations pumped billions of dollars abroad, as part of an emerging “media development” field to establish independent news outlets in former Communist states and developing countries. Over the past few years, however, with the Internet-fueled spread of disinformation and a growing global backlash against free expression, donors are taking renewed interest in funding independent journalism.
Donors and prospective donors encounter not only difficult strategic choices, but also questions about how to measure the impact of their investments. These recent reports collected by GIJN delve into the social value of such philanthropy, assess programmatic options and provide measurement tools.
Journalists are not usually in the frame of mind for grants. They pitch their story to an editor, the editor says “no” or “yes” and they get to work. But drafting a grant application is a somewhat complex technique. Here is a list of mistakes that tend to kill many fledgling journalistic projects before they even stand a chance.
With a $5 million funding budget, the new platform is dreamily promising a new “canvas on which journalists can paint the future of their industry.” But it isn’t clear how the blockchain-based technology will generate the cold hard cash needed to sustain the industry’s revenue-starved publications, writes Rowan Philp for GIJN.
Raising money for your news organization via crowdfunding is difficult and can be stressful. Hungary’s Direkt36, which has run four successful crowdfunding campaigns so far, offers 10 tips from their experience to help you plan a good campaign. A GIJN original.
The Bell illustrates a growing trend in which Russian journalists and media managers are finding ways of building news organizations that are not financially dependent on rich businessmen vulnerable to Kremlin pressure.
Berlin-based daily Tageszeitung (Taz for short) is a reader-supported newspaper where a 500 euro membership doesn’t even get you a free subscription. Yet more than 17,000 people have joined the Taz news cooperative in Germany on exactly those terms.
Six independent media start-ups in Poland are trying to counter the growing politicization and the financial pressures that have ravaged quality journalism in the country. But can these start-ups build audiences and become sustainable in a challenging media market?
Membership programs are in a state of rapid evolution as more organizations see them as an imperative way to diversify revenue. The Membership Puzzle Project, a public research project into membership models, spoke to publishers around the world who have membership programs to find out what they have learned.
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.