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Charting New Ground: The Ethical Terrain of Nonprofit Journalism

April 20, 2016

A different kind of revenue, one that has nothing to do with advertising or subscriptions, is playing a larger role in journalism today. Nonprofit funding, once largely the province of public broadcasting, is becoming an important source of support for a new cohort of non-commercial news organizations -- many of them digital natives -- and a growing number of commercial news publishers, which are partnering with nonprofit media and in some cases accepting direct grants themselves. But the ethics of taking grants from foundations and gifts from donors to produce news is still evolving and not without controversy. In New York, a major public TV station returned a large journalism grant for a documentary series because of the donor's connection to the topic being covered. In New Orleans, a nonprofit media organization's reporting about a university president may have cost the organization's its office space at the school. In Texas, a nonprofit established new transparency rules after criticism that it was not revealing enough about donors and event backers. The role of nonprofit media outlets also seems likely to grow. In Philadelphia, the new owner of city's major newspapers is transferring ownership of the publications to a new nonprofit organization, a case being closely watched to see if it might become a model. This report, by the American Press Institute, explores the ethical terrain of nonprofit journalism by examining the kinds of grants made, the nature of communication between funders and grantees, the existence of journalistic firewalls, and the prevalence of written guidelines. The report is based on two main elements: surveys of funders, nonprofit news organizations and commercial partners about a range of funding and ethical issues; and five essays commissioned by people from various media and foundation stakeholder groups that explore different areas of ethical complexity. In a second phase, the study will be followed by recommendations for ethical guidelines.

Defining and Measuring Quality Journalism

March 1, 2015

What constitutes as quality journalism that makes an impact? In a research report compiled by Rutgers University School of Communication and Information and supported by the Democracy Fund and the Geraldine R. Dodge Foundation, researchers Stephen Lacey and Tom Rosenstiel round up a variety of approaches to the question, including production quality, accessibility, trustworthiness, diversity, depth and breadth, geographic relevance, and civic value.

Digital Advertising and News: Who Advertises on News Sites and How Much Those Ads Are Targeted

February 13, 2012

Analyzes trends in advertising in twenty-two news operations, including shifts to digital advertising, use of consumer data to target ads, types of ads, and industries represented among advertisers by media type.

Where People Get Information About Restaurants and Other Local Businesses

December 14, 2011

Presents survey findings about the demographics and technology profiles of those who seek information about restaurants, bars, and local businesses and their sources of information, including the Internet, newspapers, word of mouth, and local television.

Understanding the Participatory News Consumer

March 1, 2010

Analyzes survey findings on the impact of social media and mobile connectivity on news consumption behavior by demographics and political affiliation. Examines sources; topics; participation by sharing, commenting on, or creating news; and views on media.

A Report on the Media and the Immigration Debate

September 25, 2008

Analyzes media coverage of immigration since 1980 and how industry practices and new media have conditioned the public to associate immigration with illegality, crisis, controversy, and government failure, causing a stalemate in the policy debate.