Yet, while foundation-backed nonprofit outlets have clear advantages over their commercial counterparts, they may never compensate for the market failure that’s afflicting journalism. As I present in my book America’s Battle for Media Democracy, commercial journalism’s deeply systemic problems call for structural alternatives, especially public models that do not depend on market forces. While journalism needs all the cash it can get these days, its long-term survival requires steady support.
That is because there are drawbacks to relying on foundations for news operations. First, there are often at least implicit expectations about what kind of news foundation grants should support. Even well-meaning donors typically focus on specific issues while neglecting others.
Second, this kind of support often isn’t guaranteed for the long term as many foundations periodically change their priorities. Journalism, which rarely pays for itself, requires sustained economic and institutional support.
And third, there is simply not enough charitable