New York Times: Restore Philanthropy


I am appalled that The New York Times dropped philanthropy and nonprofits as a full time beat, saying it will be handled “across news desks.”

There is so much that’s interesting in the charity community as

  • compliance and oversight tighten
  • new types of organizations blur the line between corporate and charitable
  • tax reform looms
  • the estate tax’s future remains uncertain
  • the charitable deduction is in the cross hairs
  • the economy creeps out of recession
  • illegal lobbying and political activity charges emerge in an election year
  • the Republican nominee announces a charity platform
  • nonprofit hospitals await the final word on healthcare reform
  • state and local governments continue to look for new revenue
  • 20- and 30-somethings become more involved in social change
  • baby boomers get deeper into retirement
  • measuring “impact” grows in stature
  • new social networks like Pinterest emerge
  • religious organizations slowly lose fundraising market share
  • climate change worsens and environmental and healthcare groups react
  • Syria erupts and social justice and humanitarian groups react
  • Arab nations reform and women’s groups react
  • Vladimir Putin regains the Russian presidency
  • European countries’ austerity measures leave needs unmet

Added on March 13, 2012 – since this was published yesterday:

  • Philanthropy is a top growth industry
  • Oklahoma State University cannot recoup millions lost in insurance fundraising promoted by T. Boone Pickens

Precious few of these are stories that will grab the news desks’ attention. They emerge as trends over time and will get displaced each day by the urgencies that fly across news desks.

Philanthropy and charity, our third sector that represents about 10% of the U.S. gross domestic product, demands someone who is each day thinking about that beat, sifting the news for patterns and looking at the day’s happenings through the lens of the charity community.

You’re not going to get that without a devoted, full time reporter on the beat.

The Times should restore philanthropy to an exclusive national news beat and put Stephanie Strom (or someone with equivalent experience and contacts) back on it.

This two minute clip sort of captures my sentiment.

3 thoughts on “New York Times: Restore Philanthropy

  1. That is sad that it was dropped. The community at large needs to see the impact that their peers are making through philanthopy which in turn inspires their own confidence and desire to help out.

  2. Thanks for bringing this up Tony & thanks for your check list of what’s interesting. For example, “Charitable deductions are in the cross hairs.” Beyond interesting, a simple sentence like this needs to be out there in every news venue explaining the potentially huge consequences that such a possibility holds for anyone, anywhere in the Untitled States who depends for services and care on Non Profit Organizations. Given that the New York Times is read all over America, this decision narrows the coverage that encourages or inspires generosity, as well as humanitarian & compassionate activity in the public consciousness. This leaves us with an occasional special story about an individual doing good deeds on CNN or maybe on the nightly news. A lack of visibility in New York, which is where so many national nonprofits are located, is now a certainty and a travesty.

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