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Welcome to the Giving Thought Podcast, a bi-weekly exploration of trends in global philanthropy and civil society from the Charities Aid Foundation’s in-house think-tank, Giving Thought.

In each episode your host Rhodri Davies (formerly with co-host Adam Pickering) explores a big issue, theme or trend and analyses what it means for philanthropy and civil society around the world.

Be sure to check the show notes for each podcast and find blogs, reports and videos from Giving Thought and do get in touch if you have questions or suggestions at

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Mar 26, 2019

 In episode 46, we talk to Sameer Padania about Philanthropy & Journalism. We ask why the media is looking to philanthropy as a source of funding; why philanthropic funders are interested in supporting journalism; and what challenges and opportunities this might bring. Including:

  • Why has journalism come to the attention of funders and philanthropists recently?
  • How are funders and CSOs using journalism to further their causes?
  • How many funders see journalism and a free press as an important public good in and of themselves, and are thus willing to fund general journalism?
  • What role could philanthropic funding for news media play in addressing problems like targeted online misinformation and the erosion of public discourse online?
  • What should we make of the rise of non-profit newsrooms like ProPublica?
  • Is the reader voluntary subscription model taken by the Guardian etc. is better than relying on a single major donor?
  • What approaches are philanthropic funders taking to supporting news media?
  • Is there a challenge in maintaining editorial independence when receiving philanthropic funding?
  • Is the way in which philanthropic funding can take pressure off news media outlets to generate revenue a good thing, or is there a danger that it will lead to them losing focusing on what is of interest to an audience, and thus become less sustainable in the long term?
  • Does philanthropic funding of news media undermine journalism’s ability to hold philanthropy itself to account (as many feel it should)?
  • Can ownership of news outlets exacerbate the distorting effect that philanthropy already has on democracy?
  • Is there a danger that in encouraging philanthropic support for news media, we make journalism a “charity case” and thus undermine people’s willingness to pay for it in the long term?


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