The economic outlook for journalism remains dark. The news industry’s once-dependable revenue model, based on selling advertising and subscriptions, increasingly seems like an artifact from a different era. Against this backdrop, many journalism stakeholders have looked to foundation funding for rescue. Between 2009 and mid-2016, foundations gave $1.1 billion to journalism projects within the US.
Such support raises important questions: As foundations grow more powerful within the world of journalism, how might they influence journalistic practice? Will journalists treat foundations like advertisers—an important source of revenue that must be kept away from editorial decisions? Or will the differences between the motivations and approaches of advertisers and foundations produce a different dynamic?