By: Florence Pichon | Editors Weblog
Faced with both the global recession and the unstoppable momentum of the Internet, traditional commercial models for newspapers are becoming outdated.
Alternative news organisations have emerged, allowing journalism to thrive even in one of the most unstable times newspapers have ever known. The non-profit news sector has attracted a lot of attention in particular, as they are redefining how news organisations work. The newsrooms, which rely on donations, grants, and sponsorships, have been cropping up across the U.S. Although they have been praised for their commitment to investigative journalism and democracy, they have not been collectively put under a giant microscope – until now.
Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism released a study on non-profit newsrooms this week, in which it explored biases and which organisations maintained the most objectivity. Forty-six national and state-level news sites were examined and categorized based on their transparency, political bias, number of revenue streams, and productivity. The sites fell into three basic categories: Group Sites, part of formal families organized by a single funder, Associated Sites, those that shared content but otherwise operated independently, and Commercial Sites with similar goals as the non-profits but used as points of comparison. The findings found some clear correlation. Non-profit news organisations that are transparent about funding offer a much more balanced perspective.