Jul 30, 2012

Ford Foundation backs second for-profit newsroom: The Washington Post

The Ford Foundation, a frequent backer of pubmedia, has awarded another grant to a for-profit media company. Ford will give $500,000 to The Washington Post to support reporting on accountability in state and local government, according to a Post memo to staff posted on The Post will use the funds to hire four new staffers.

In May, Ford awarded the Los Angeles Times $1.04 million to cover new beats including immigration and the California prison system. At the time, pubcasting analysts told Current that a growing trend of foundations backing for-profit operations could lead to increased competition for financial support. The Post grant comes from the foundation's Freedom of Expression program, which also supports NPR, ProPublica and other pubmedia outlets.

The Post and Times grants remain small change, however, compared to the foundation's recently completed five-year, $50 million pubmedia funding initiative, as well as its support of new coverage areas in nonprofit newsrooms such as Marketplace and ProPublica.

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