By APRIL LINDGREN, ANA SOFIA HIBON and SARA KRYNITZKI
A collaboration between academia and non-profits shows how philanthropy can play a role in securing the future of journalism in Canada—and why it should
By our count, at least three dozen charitable foundations in Canada have found ways to support journalism. But there is a strong case to be made for more funder involvement. We make that case in Funding Journalism: A Guide for Canadian Philanthropy.
The guide, a collaborative initiative of the Local News Research Project at Toronto Metropolitan University, Inspirit Foundation and Philanthropic Foundations Canada, provides practical information and tools for foundations looking to work with non-profit or for-profit media organizations.
It begins, however, by pointing out that support for journalism serves the interest of foundations themselves. That is because trustworthy news and information are essential to a well-functioning democracy and because journalism is often a natural ally in tackling many of the complex issues funders themselves are working to resolve.
Quality journalism — defined for our purposes as journalism that serves the public, is produced independent of vested interests and is committed to accuracy and transparency in its reporting methods — helps foundations achieve their goals because it:
- Equips people with the trustworthy information they need to vote, hold power accountable and make informed decisions about what is happening in their communities;
- Puts issues that are important to people, funders, and the wider non-profit and charitable sector on the agenda of policy makers and the public;
- Introduces into the public domain information and ideas that can influence or challenge dominant narratives in a way that changes minds and spurs action.
The guide includes concrete examples of how philanthropy is supporting journalism in Canada. While there still aren’t all that many examples, what we found is that funder dollars combined with intrepid reporting are already producing change that matters.