May 28, 2024, 08:00 ET

TORONTO, May 28, 2024 /CNW/ – A new report from the Inspirit Foundation, the Local News Research Project and the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) aims to provide journalists and media organizations with guidance and best practices about how news organizations can explore philanthropic funding as a means of supporting the creation of quality public service journalism.

The report, Funding Journalism: A Guide to Philanthropic Support for Canadian Media, is the final installment in a three-part series of resources produced by the Inspirit Foundation, the Local News Research Project at Toronto Metropolitan University, the CAJ, and Philanthropic Foundations Canada. Earlier reports in this series included Funding Journalism, Strengthening Communities and Funding Journalism: A Guide for Canadian Philanthropy. The resources are available in English and French.

“Philanthropy has a key role to play in bridging the gap between funders and journalists,” said Sadia Zaman, CEO, Inspirit Foundation. “This is new territory in Canada; the more we can share best practices, the stronger our information ecosystem will be.”

This most recent report was written by Ana Sofía Hibon, Inspirit’s program manager, Toronto Metropolitan University journalism professor April Lindgren, and Brent Jolly, president of the CAJ. Together, they have crafted a practical guide that should help any news organization determine whether seeking philanthropic support is a viable source of revenue.

The document blends colourful anecdotes from individuals working at the ever-evolving intersection of journalism and philanthropy in Canada with practical tips on how to navigate the philanthropic sector, identify the right donors, frame requests for money, and measure the impact of their work. The guide reviews recent tax and regulatory changes that have made philanthropic support for journalism more viable in Canada.

“There is no single prescription for what ails much of local journalism these days,” said Lindgren, who is also the principal investigator for the Local News Research Project.

“But it’s increasingly clear that newsrooms need multiple sources of revenue and philanthropy can be one of those sources. It’s not the whole solution but as we worked on the guide, it became clear that even a little philanthropy done right can make a difference, particularly for smaller news organizations.”

The guide builds on research from Canada and other jurisdictions, as well as on the practical experience of the authors. The guide also draws upon the results of a survey distributed by the CAJ to its membership in the fall of 2023 that asked for questions and concerns about seeking philanthropic funding for journalism projects.

The results of that survey expressed concerns about real or perceived conflicts of interests that can arise when news organizations accept philanthropic funding. The guide explains clearly how journalists and news organizations can ensure editorial independence.

“Philanthropic funding will not rewind the clock to some bygone ‘golden era’ of journalism,” said Jolly. “While funding is still quite limited in Canada relative to, for example, the United States, interest in journalism’s mission to inform and hold those in power accountable is slowly gaining momentum. We hope this guide will serve as a roadmap for journalists, and news organizations, to make informed choices about whether to embark on this distinct – and emerging – field.”

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy.

SOURCE Canadian Association of Journalists

The CAJ is Canada’s largest national professional organization for journalists from all media, representing members across the country. The CAJ’s primary roles are to provide high-quality professional development for its members and public-interest advocacy. (CNW Group/Canadian Association of Journalists)