What are foundations backing in journalism?

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Since 2005, they’ve put nearly $128 million into news and journalism initiatives and experiments, says a report this week from J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism, now based at American University. That’s on top of funding to public broadcasting, which the report doesn’t count (“because we’ve long known of the generous philanthropic support for their work”). The narrative report are is online and available as a PDF.

Of the 115 projects in the project database, three received nearly half the funding, including ProPublica, which got $30 mil from the Sandler Family Supporting Foundation. Also among the field’s top 10 funders: Knight Foundation, $11.2 mil; California HealthCare Foundation, $8.7 mil; Pew Charitable Trusts, $7.5 mil (mostly to Stateline.org); Schuster Foundation, $5 mil (to Brandeis University’s Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism); Irvine, $4.8 mil; Chicago Community Trust, $3.6 mil; William Penn Fndn, $2.6 mil; Atlantic Philanthropies, $2.7 mil; and Ford Fndn, $2.4 mil.

Second in the field of funders is California HealthCare Foundation was created as part of the pact when nonprofit Blue Cross of California was converted to for-profit WellPoint Health Networks [10-year report in PDF].

A notable departure among the funders: JEHT Foundation closed in January because its assets were managed by all-star crook Bernard Madoff.

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