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Authors: Chao, Ray C.
Advisors: Gilens, Martin
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2015
Abstract: Between 2007 and 2014, over one-third of newspaper reporters in the United States were fired. In response to cutbacks in news coverage, the non-profit business model emerged. In 2000, there were fewer than 20 non-profit news organizations; today, there are more than 200. The non-profit business model has grown in popularity for its promise to shield journalists from commercial pressures and deliver high quality news content. In theory, the non-profit model is a promising platform for producing quality journalism. Foundations and wealthy individuals foot the bill, freeing the news organization from having to sell advertisements or subscriptions. Journalists get to focus on the quality of their reporting rather than the number of stories they write. There has been little published in academic journals, however, about whether the non-profit business model has actually delivered on its promises. Does the business model impact reporting and news content? Are non-profits susceptible to influence from their donors? What impact have non-profits had on the overall media landscape? This thesis charts the rise of non-profit journalism and its impact on the media industry, politics, and public policy. It also conducts both quantitative and qualitative analyses to make two important findings. First, the non-profit business model leads to the production of higher quality news—specifically news that is less reactive to current events and that contains more depth, such as historical background, explanatory analysis, and original commentary. Second, the non-profit business model is less susceptible to news bias and influence than the for-profit business model. These two conclusions showcase the value non-profits add to the media landscape and their potential to be the future of quality journalism.
Extent: 115 pages
Access Restrictions: Walk-in Access. This thesis can only be viewed on computer terminals at the Mudd Manuscript Library.
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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