Stories: Reporters for Hire

As mainstream media groups are undergoing important shifts in their business models and funding sources, some have become more creative in how they are financed. This series looks at how funding is coming from foundations, how supposedly independent news groups are not reporting their special interests and how this is affecting their coverage.

1. A Mass Media Memorial

Mainstream media organizations have suffered a major blow to their economic model since the emergence of the Internet, losing revenue streams from advertising, subscriptions and want-ads. As they have been unable to recoup their revenues, we have seen a slow decline in quality and influence. Each of their attempts to redefine their business model has failed. The Firebreak has bid them farewell.

2. The Guardian: Between Grace and Greed

The Guardian has set up a charitable foundation where it receives donations from special interest groups in return for articles. The Firebreak reveals that the Guardian has received over 20 million dollars over the last five years from foundations and interest groups. This is no longer a news organization.

3. US Green Activism, Bad Journalism Jeopardize Canadaā€™s Forests

A journalist from the Canadian ā€œNational Observerā€ did not follow responsible journalistic practices as he wrote an article on forestry management based entirely on an activist NGO campaign. The article ignores scientific evidence and regulatory responses. It seems that The National Observer has been funded by many foundations with an interest in curtailing Canadian forest management.

4. Reporters for Hire

The Washington Post published an article with an ā€œindependent research organizationā€ call The Examination claiming that the food industry was secretly funding social media influencers to promote their products. The only problem is that the Washington Post failed to reveal that the research provided for their article via The Examination was secretly funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies - a foundation that has campaigned against the food industry.