By Mike Scutari, Inside Philanthropy
According to the Foundation Center, since 2016, grantmakers have poured hundreds of millions of dollars into newsrooms, think tanks and universities that support media research and practice.
Some of this money has flowed as part of philanthropy's new fight against fake news, which began in earnest in the immediate aftermath of the 2016 presidential election.
We've been tracking this stream of funding since it began, just weeks after the last votes were counted. And we've wondered how long it would last. Would this be a case of foundations and wealthy individuals throwing some quick money at a problem before moving on to the next hot issue? Or was it the start of a deeper, longer-term push by philanthropy to improve how information flows and media works?
It's still too early to say, but the Hewlett Foundation's major give on this issue, announced last week, suggests that philanthropy's fight against fake news still has plenty of momentum. The move comes amid a firestorm around Facebook's privacy practices and ongoing revelations about Russia's interference in the 2016 election. In some ways, the heat here is growing as fake news concerns dovetail with broader fears about social networks and the power of Big Tech.