Research & reports

Research and reports on effective media development funding and donor support to journalism.

This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.

Many of the resources featured in this section were collated from a reading list research on Foundation Funded Journalism produced by Humanitarian Journalism.

After resources that have a general geographic focus, the resources are organised by region and then in order of publication.


The full report is available here.

UNESCO’s World Trends in Freedom of Expression and Media Development: Global Report 2021/2022, analyses the state of media freedom, pluralism, independence, and safety of journalists over the past five years. Especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, access to information has never been more imperative. News media has struggled to keep up with the demand for reliable and quality news as revenue declines and limited capacities. This issue has particularly affected the Global South. This crisis was further accelerated by the easy access that audiences found to disinformation, leading to "a pandemic of non-verified or misleading information. Such falsehoods- spread intentionally or not- sowed confusion, division and, discord, impacting lives and livelihoods around the world."

Democracy Fund/Media Impact Funders - SARAH ARMOUR-JONES AND JESSICA CLARK

This comprehensive report provides an extensive overview of the state of global media philanthropy. It includes discussion of data from the Media Data Map, results from a survey of leading organizations engaged in funding media-related projects, analyses of existing literature and reports, and insights offered by experts across a range of media funding issues. It concludes that, ‘power dynamics are skewed in favour of American funders’, ‘foundations can have an outsized influence on a country’s media system’ and ‘funders need to see the bigger picture’. (Humanitarian Journalism)

Centre for International Media Assistance - MARY MYERS & LINET ANGAYA JUMA


When donors provide assistance to the media sector, they frequently back projects that aim to strengthen the media’s contribution to good governance in some way or another. This kind of funding is consistent with recent declarations made by the international community on the importance of protecting independent media for the sake of democracy and development. Yet, in the bigger picture, donors still only commit a tiny fraction to this sector and appear to be responding slowly, if at all, to the unique challenges of press freedom in the digital age.

  • Media assistance represented on average just .3 percent of total official development aid (ODA) between 2010 and 2015.

  • Donor flows to media are small, but are holding steady.

  • China is an increasingly active player in terms of global media aid flows, although its interventions are largely focused on developing infrastructure and take the form of loans rather than development grants.

Development Agenda: Considering the Dark Side of the Media (2015)


This report describes different phenomena of what the authors from DW Akademie, Fondation Hirondelle, and CIMA call the dark side of the media, and it looks at how the dark side interacts in a dynamic way with other features of the governance environment. It analyses societal dynamics and points out implications for media development.

This CIMA report examines the benefits and challenges of measuring audiences for news media and media development practitioners.

Audience measurements, with their resulting influence on content and commercialization, are essential components of financially viable media and media markets. They help create marketplaces where diverse media can compete in viable niches, offer audience insights and thus increase the likelihood that media organizations will produce relevant content, and play an essential role in reducing corruption by exposing it. From a media development perspective, audience measurements reveal whether people are engaging with the content that news media produce. Although it has become essential for media organizations to have core strengths in understanding their audiences, building capacity for measuring audiences is seldom included in media development initiatives.

Download the full report here.

BBC Media Action


The Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Penn - sylvania, Fondation Hirondelle, Internews Network, the United States Broadcasting Board of Governors, and the Center of Innovation for Media, Conflict, and Peacebuilding at the United States Institute of Peace commissioned this report following a five-day multistakeholder meeting of donors, implementers, and academics on how to better evaluate media’s impact in ameliorating conflict, at the Caux Conference Center in Switzerland. The report both reviews the state of the art in evaluating media interventions in conflict and outlines the Caux Guiding Principles (hereinafter, Caux Principles) for improving the evaluation process. It stresses effective evaluation as a critical step forward for using the media in conflict prevention and peacebuilding.


Journalism Funders Forum confidential (2019-2020)

Blueprints for better collaboration between journalists and donors (2018)

European Journalism Centre - ADAM THOMAS

Philanthropic journalism funding in the UK, Germany and France (2017)


These three separate reports each provide a descriptive overview of the landscape of Philanthropic journalism funding in three European countries. They include a map of the key funders, examples of current funding and recommendations for future funding.

Philanthropy and the Media (2017)


The December 2017 edition of Alliance Magazine included a special feature on philanthropy and the media. This included articles from journalists working at publications including Spiegel, The Guardian and the BBC, as well as representatives from a range of foundations. (Humanitarian Journalism)



The aim of this report is to map philanthropic interventions that support diversity, equity, and inclusion in journalism from 2009 – 2015. It draws on data from Media Impact Funders.

Funding the News: U.S. Foundations and Non-profit Media (2018)


This research offers an extensive analysis of the state of foundation funding for non-profit media in the US, based on an analysis of 32,422 journalism and media-related grants totalling $1.8 billion distributed by 6,568 foundations between 2010 and 2015. It finds, for example, that public media received approximately $796 million or about 44% of the $1.8 billion in grant money, and twenty-five public media stations and content producers accounted for 70% of all funding. (Humanitarian Journalism)

The Lear Centre - Media Impact Project - PHILIP M. NAPOLI

The goal of this report is to provide a comprehensive overview and assessment of the approaches being employed in this formative period of assessing media impact, with a focus on what is termed here a social value perspective. Social value in this context refers to analytical approaches that extend beyond financial measures of success to take into account criteria such as improving the well-being of individuals and communities across a wide range of dimensions that are central goals of most public interest media initiatives. This report seeks to identify relevant analytical approaches, methodologies, and metrics for assessing media impact in an effort to develop a baseline inventory of analytical tools, methods, and metrics that can inform further work in this area; and to identify approaches that appear particularly promising.

Download the full PDF here.

Experimentation and Evolution in Private U.S. Funding of Media Development (2009)

The Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) - ANNE NELSON

This report discusses the implications of the entry of ‘new foundations from the new media technology sector’ into the field of media development. It illustrates how these foundations are changing the nature of media assistance. One of the recommendations is for U.S. foundations to, ‘try harder to think beyond their cultural context’ (Humanitarian Journalism)


This resource page is a work in progress. Please get in touch to let us know what is missing using this form.

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