Today, Knight Foundation and our partners in the field are announcing two new research projects that will help philanthropy increase its role in meeting local information needs. Both were inspired by the FCC's new report, “Information Needs of Communities,” a groundbreaking effort that focuses on practical ways society can improve the environment for local accountability journalism.
First, we're partnering with Grantmakers for Film and Electronic Media (GFEM), Ford Foundation, the Foundation Center and GuideStar on a research project to develop new ways of measuring whether foundations are indeed increasing journalism and media grant making.
Foundation Center and GuideStar keep large databases of foundation and nonprofit work, and the project will develop technology to mine those databases specifically for journalism and media grants. The tracking information will be publically available, so citizens wanting to support nonprofit media can see what foundations are doing.
In the second project, Knight Foundation will fund the Council on Foundations to examine how tax law may be stunting the growth of nonprofit media – and to suggest improvements. The FCC report finds that while nonprofit status offers news outlets clear advantages, the federal tax code was not written specifically for information providers and can be both ambiguous and too restrictive in areas such as advertising and political coverage. For example, the report says nonprofits are fearful of losing their tax exempt status if they publish commentary on legislation.
Read the full release of today's announcement.