In another reminder of the fiscally challenged for-profit newspaper industry, this week it has been reported that one of America’s most well-respected newspaper mastheads, The Washington Post, has accepted a (US)$500,000 grant from the not-for-profit non-government Ford Foundation.
Four new reporter roles will be introduced with the grant money. They will focus on government accountability on national and local levels, dealing with monetary, political and governmental topics. The cash injection covers one year of reporting and could be extended for another two years.
The Ford Foundation was set up by Henry and Edsel Ford in the 1930s, but it officially has no connections to the Ford Motor company. The Washington Post said in a company memo “the terms of the grant give us complete editorial independence.”
Freedom of Expression grants are awarded by the Ford Foundation in the belief that the “The free flow of information and ideas is essential to healthy, progressive societies.” It’s also not the first time the Ford Foundation
Could Australia’s media industry benefit from similar charity in the meantime? Ultimately, donations can only fund journalism projects temporarily, but the business model necessary to sustain the long-term viability of the newspaper or future digital news production industry seems to be elusive.