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Foundation funding and the boundaries of journalism

Scott, M., Bunce, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-4924-8993 & Wright, K. (2019). Foundation funding and the boundaries of journalism. Journalism Studies, 20(14), pp. 2034-2052. doi: 10.1080/1461670X.2018.1556321

Abstract

Private foundations are an important source of funding for many news outlets. It has even been suggested that they may offer a partial solution to journalism’s economic crisis. Yet we do not know how foundation funding shapes journalistic practice. In this article, we show that foundation funding has a significant effect on the ‘boundaries of journalism’. That is, the ways in which journalists understand, value and practice their journalism. This argument is based on 74 interviews with the most active foundations funding international non-profit news and the journalists they support. In general, we found that these foundations did not try to directly influence the content of the journalism they funded. However, their involvement did make a difference. It created requirements and incentives for journalists to do new, non-editorial tasks, as well as longer-form, off-agenda, ‘impactful’ news coverage in specific thematic areas. As a result, foundations are ultimately changing the role and contribution of journalism in society. We argue that these changes are the result of various forms of ‘boundary work’, or performative struggles over the nature of journalism. This contrasts with most previous literature, which has focused on the effects of foundation funding on journalistic autonomy.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journalism Studies on 11 Jan 2019, available online: https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2018.1556321
Publisher Keywords: Philanthro-journalism, journalistic boundaries, international news, philanthropic foundations, non-profit news
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Departments: School of Communication & Creativity > Journalism
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