Guides for donors & funders
Most recently published or updated guides for media development donors & funders are featured first.
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Guidelines for SDC media assistance_English - Home
The guidance provides an overall understanding of the media sector and its reference framework, as well as needs assessments for various media types, information on SDC’s approach to media assistance, and a range of media interventions. It also offers guidance on how to assess and mitigate risks and how to monitor and evaluate media work.
The guidance aims to give SDC staff and members of the DDLG network an updated view on media development. The guidance provides an overall understanding of the media sector and its reference framework, as well as needs assessments for various media types, information on SDC’s approach to media assistance, and a range of media interventions. It also offers guidance on how to assess and mitigate risks and how to monitor and evaluate media work.


Decoding Media Impact: Insights, Advice & Recommendations | Media Impact Funders
Media Impact Funders
This report provides an examination of the current state of the field of media impact assessment, which Media Impact Funders (MIF) has been tracking for seven years. It also draws on insights from a few leading experts engaged in media impact assessment.

How to fund investigative journalism - Insights from the field and its key donors (2019)


How to fund investigative journalism
This report is designed to give funders a succinct and accessible introduction to the practice of funding investigative journalism around the world, via major contemporary debates, trends and challenges in the field. It is part of a series from DW Akademie looking at practices, challenges and futures of investigative journalism around the world.
The paper is intended as a stepping stone, or a springboard, for those who know little about investigative journalism, but who would like to know more. It is not a defense, a mapping or a history of the field, either globally or regionally; nor is it a description of or guide to how to conduct investigations or an examination of investigative techniques. These are widely available in other areas and (to some extent) in other languages already.
Rooted in 17 in-depth expert interviews and wide-ranging desk research, this report sets out big-picture challenges and opportunities facing the investigative journalism field both in general, and in specific regions of the world. It provides donors with an overview of the main ways this often precarious field is financed in newsrooms and units large and small. Finally it provides high-level practical advice – from experienced donors and the investigative journalism field – to help new, prospective or curious donors to the field to find out how to get started, and what is important to do, and not to do.


Five Things You Need to Know
  1. 1.
    The work foundations care about is at risk
  2. 2.
    Journalism must forge new connections
  3. 3.
    Sustainable business models are crucial
  4. 4.
    Trust in journalism is under threat
  5. 5.
    Editorial independence and transparency matter
Five Ways to Get Started
  1. 1.
    Identify grantmaking and investment strategies
  2. 2.
    Support innovations in reporting
  3. 3.
    Reinforce partnerships that expand the business models and engagement
  4. 4.
    Invest in community data
  5. 5.
    Learn more about media grantmaking
Media Impact Funders plan to update this resource in 2021.
This booklet is a starter guide for foundations interested in exploring how to make impactful journalism and community-information grants. It shares the experiences of dozens of foundations that have recently funded news and information projects. It also introduces the work of peer foundations that support journalism. (Hummanitarian Journalism)

ARIADNE - Sameer Padania, Macroscope

This resource aims to help funders (especially those "new to or curious about journalism and media grantmaking") boost their understanding of the critical issues, debates and approaches in funding journalism and media.
Despite stating that this ‘is not designed to be a comprehensive manual setting out best practices on grant making in the media space’, this report offers an extremely clear and practical overview of the ways in which foundations can support journalism responsibly. It includes sections on the rationale for funding journalism, advice from experienced donors and specific areas of opportunity and threat. (Hummanitarian Journalism)

Funding Journalism, Finding Innovation Guide (2018)

Harvard University’s Shorenstein Center collaborated with Media Impact Funders to produce Funding Journalism, Finding Innovation Guide, a resource, which serves to highlight innovative funding methods in journalism.
This guide shows only a small sampling of how funders and publishers are working together to financially sustain the fourth estate, they hope that it nonetheless serves as a starting point for your own work by providing solid examples of groundbreaking funding efforts—ones that are both pioneering and effective. If you’re a grantee, you may also want to use this document to think about how your work might appeal to potential funders.
Guiding principles for funders of nonprofit media
American Press Institute
In 2017, API produced two sets of broad guidelines of best practices, one for funders and another for nonprofit newsrooms, based on consultations with funders, nonprofit media executives and researchers. The focus of these often-cited guidelines is primarily on establishing best practices for ensuring editorial independence. (Hummanitarian Journalism)

Centre for International Media Assistance - ANYA SCHIFFRIN

Chapter in "Same Beds, Different Dreams” by Anya Schiffrin p25-31
The new world of donor funding of media content addresses a serious need for in-depth coverage of subjects that affect society. At a time when media faces financial pressures in many parts of the world, donors have stepped in to create a public good, and grantees are grateful. However, as mentioned, we found that grantees and donors alike feel it may be time to come up with some codes of conduct aimed at promoting transparency and safeguarding newsroom independence.
The chapter gives suggestion and provides case studies on
General funding, not earmarks:
"Many media grantees would prefer to get unrestricted funds rather than support earmarked for coverage for certain topics."
Creating a wall between funding and editorial: "similar in some ways to the wall between advertising and editorial in legacy newspapers."
Donors outsourcing decision making about grants: "if foundations gave grantee management responsibilities over to a semi-independent body, perhaps a steering committee made up of professionals from the industry, they could put some distance between the programmatic side of the foundation and the media funding side of the foundation."
Intermediary groups: "Other funders give grants to intermediary organizations that then allocate them to journalists. Some of these intermediary organizations exist with the explicit purpose of providing a buffer between donors and grantees."
Peer Review Committees: "Some of the groups that do grant making to journalists make sure they have groups of journalists (not donors) deciding who gets the money."
Disclosure & transparency: "Not only are there no universal codes of conduct or standards but there are not even universally agreed-upon principles. One might imagine that media outlets and their funders would agree on disclosure of funding sources and transparency of funding but even this subject—which one would think of as low-hanging fruit—turns out to be surprisingly controversial. Practices vary widely. The majority of donors we spoke to said their organization decides on whether or not their grantees should disclose, and some said they discuss it with their grantees. A smaller group said they leave the question up to the grantees."
Making it easier to apply for grants:
  • "grantees want information about what funding is available and how to apply. Opacity works to the disadvantage of organizations in developing countries that do not have the same resources and access as journalists in more prosperous countries."
  • "Others felt that the application process is so complicated that it discriminates against outsiders."
  • "They also hated the unpredictability and sense that one’s ability to get funding to carry out their journalism work is subject to a nonprofit’s stability and strategy."

European Commission

Download the guidelines here.
The guidelines cover:
  • Freedom of expression and media
  • The EU's enlargement agenda for media freedom and media integrity, which includes; the enabling environment for free expression and media; media outlets assuming responsibility for improved internal governance and production; increasing capacity and representativeness of journalist professional organisations.
  • Measuring results and impact
  • A draft results framework

OECD policy paper

Download the policy paper here.
Domestic Accountability and Support to Media: From the Why to the How in Effective Cooperation Paper prepared for OECD DAC GovNet Meeting January 28, 2014

Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA)

Download the guidelines here.
The guidelines covers:
  • Media that serves democracy, human rights and development: legal and regulatory environment, professional capacity, sustainability.
  • Media Development: Authoritarian states: Countries with democracy and human rights deficit, conflict and post-conflict situations, fragile democracies in the early stages of democratisation, stagnating democratisation processes, new democracies in the process of consolidation
  • Media Development Indicators: regulation and legal framework, possible, professional capacity, economic sustainability.
Last modified 8mo ago