CCLP Report Details Growing Philanthropic Support for Journalism

Philanthropic foundations are taking unprecedented steps to address the crisis in journalism and "serve as a firewall against the disappearance of critical news and information," according to a new report from the Center on Communication Leadership & Policy (CCLP) at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication. The report, Philanthropic Foundations: Growing Funders of the News is authored by David Westphal, a CCLP senior fellow and former Washington editor for McClatchy Newspapers….

New investigative group’s twin missions: journalism and sustainability

How hot is the world of nonprofit investigative reporting these days? Hot enough to make Jon Sawyer, who runs an international reporting shop, full of envy at this week's gathering on investigative reporting outside New York City. "We'd like to see the same energy in international reporting that we see on the investigative side," said Sawyer, director of the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting. As was true at the recent Investigative Reporters and Editors (IRE) conference, this week's meeting of investigative reporting nonprofits generated an unmistakable energy field. Which is an amazing thing, given how desperate the plight of investigative…

Nonprofits launch Investigative News Network

A group of investigative reporting nonprofits has endorsed formation of a new umbrella organization aimed at sustaining the burgeoning investigative nonprofit movement and bringing new prominence to its journalism. A resolution, "Pocantico Declaration: Creating a Nonprofit Investigative News Network," was approved Wednesday by a diverse group of nonprofit leaders – established organizations like the Center for Public Integrity and the Center for Investigative Reporting, as well as newcomers like Texas Watchdog and the New England Center for Investigative Reporting. The group's mission will be to "aid and abet, in every conceivable way, individually and collectively, the work and public reach…

Investigative network likely to emerge today

Before they head for home Wednesday, about three dozen participants at an investigative reporting summit in New York are likely to launch planning for new organization uniting the growing number of nonprofits producing investigative journalism. The new network, dubbed for now the "Investigative News Network," would be another significant step in the rise of nonprofit investigative journalism in recent years. Chuck Lewis, the godfather of so much in investigative journalism, called the initiative "truly historic." At a conference outside Tarrytown, N.Y., Lewis laid out a possible scenario Tuesday for how the network might take shape. Secure a planning grant that…

Carnegie Corporation taps CCLP for examination of government’s response to the crisis in the news industry

From a U.S. Senate subcommittee hearing on the future of journalism to a new tax cut for newspapers signed into law by the governor of Washington state, policymakers nationwide are responding to the crisis facing the news business. "It's … a time of real hardship for the field of journalism ….. But it's also true that your ultimate success as an industry is essential to the success of our democracy," President Obama told members of the White House Correspondents' Association. Thanks to a grant from Carnegie Corporation, the USC Annenberg School for Communication's Center on Communication Leadership and Policy (CCLP)…

Will community news sites keep growing?

A few of my newspaper editor friends have tweaked me recently about the reporting I've done on community news Web sites. All had the same question: Given these sites' mostly tiny size (audience, news content, revenue), haven't I been hyping their impact a bit? It's a fair question. So is a related one that also comes up. Aren't many of these sites likely to fail because, despite valiant efforts by their creators, they'll be unable to generate sustainable advertising revenue? Since coming to USC Annenberg last fall, I've reported extensively on the rise of community Web sites, in posts at…

Newspapers as non-profits? Tax savings but some big downsides

Given the fact that many newspapers seem headed toward nonprofit status anyway, it's perhaps not surprising that someone would try to make it official. Legislation introduced this week by Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland would enable newspapers to establish themselves as tax-exempt nonprofits and qualify for significant expense savings courtesy of Uncle Sam. Under the Cardin measure, they wouldn't have to pay income taxes on income derived from advertising sales. That's a big difference from existing IRS regulations, which customarily extract federal income taxes on advertising revenue derived by nonprofits. (There are a number of exceptions to this, including one…

Watchdog journalism: Hardly a newspaper afterthought

I've just helped judge a journalism contest for my alma mater, McClatchy, and have a couple of observations to report: First, don't believe those who argue that newspapers' investigative reporting is so minimal that it's easily replaced. It isn't small, and if newspapers couldn't do it anymore, the void would be very deep. Second, high-quality watchdog reporting isn't simply the province of big national players doing "secret prisons" or "secret eavesdropping" stories. It's also the heart and soul of newsrooms across the country that keep watch over their communities and regions. I say these things not primarily to brag about…

The public gets a voice in the ‘future of news’

The media revolution has reached a new and important stage: The American public is being let in on the discussion. In the last two weeks' articles in the New York Times and Time Magazine have helped push the question of "whither news media" before a much bigger audience. I say it's about time. Of course, it's not as if the industry's increasingly dire business outlook has been a secret. The Chapter 11 bankruptcy filings of the Tribune Co. and the Minneapolis Star Tribune were plenty telling. So was the Detroit newspapers' decision to limit home delivery to three days a…

From a press scholar, a rousing vote for the journalist

New media thinker Jay Rosen has been using the work of press scholar Daniel C. Hallin to explain how the Internet has eroded journalists' traditional power to define what issues are legitimate for proper debate. Hallin wrote that journalists tend to place public issues into three categories: a sphere of consensus, a sphere of legitimate controversy and a sphere of deviance. In a post on his blog, Press Think, Rosen argued that the press has done a lousy, unthinking job of deciding what goes into each category, and that through the Internet American citizens might assume this role for themselves….