Should newspapers accept direct funding from activist groups?

Should newspapers accept direct funding from activist groups?

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The Tampa Bay Times runs a news story with an interesting notice at the end of the story.

The story is titled Health Care for U.S. mothers shows little improvement, new report says.

At the end of this news story is this notice:

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg provides partial funding for Times stories on equity. It does not select story topics and is not involved in the reporting or editing.

Source: Health care for U.S. mothers shows little improvement, new report says

The Foundation for a Healthy St. Petersburg is an agenda driven organization. Whether you agree with or disagree with their focus is not the question. Per their own web site, their organization exists to seek a specific outcome in the community.

The question is, should a newspaper accept direct funding for news reports covering the group’s focus area, particularly when that news reporting furthers the mission of the funding source?

The paper can claim the organization is not involved in the reporting or editing of the story -but by their own admission, this organization provides the funding for the paper to cover stories on “equity”. There is a strong implication that coverage of the “equity” topic would be less without this funding.

Any coverage of “equity” furthers the goals of the funding organization. Should news organizations accept funding directly from activist organizations to cover topics that further the funding source’s goals?

UPDATE

Good grief. Here is another industry trade group funded news article that is a sales pitch to purchase comprehensive auto insurance policies. They’ve published the literal press release with this at the end:

NW Insurance Council is a nonprofit, insurer-supported organization providing information about home, auto and business insurance to consumers, media and public policymakers in Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Remember the old newspaper slogan: All the news that’s fit to print!

Today, its: All the news that’s been bought and paid for!

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