Non-U.S. Media Assistance Is $1 Billion Annually, Cox Center Report for Knight Foundation Shows

Based on the most recent year for which reporting organizations provided data, $0.75 billion is being spent each year on media assistance projects by donors from outside the United States, according to a report prepared for the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The actual level of spending for media assistance is likely to be in the neighborhood of $1 billion annually, according to the authors of the report, Drs. Lee B. Becker and Tudor Vlad from the James M. Cox Jr. Center for International Mass Communication Training and Research at the University of Georgia.

At least 70 organizations in 25 donor countries outside the United States are involved in funding media assistance projects, the authors concluded. Donors are units of governments in single countries, nongovernmental organizations, including foundations, and multinational organizations.
Spending is spread around the world, with eastern and central Europe and African countries major recipients.

According to the authors of the report, after the fall of communism in 1989 in eastern and central Europe, western governments, nongovernmental organizations, foundations and others began a concerted effort to provide assistance to the media to develop along western lines.

The report for the Knight Foundation was the first attempt to systematically examine the media assistance landscape outside the U.S. and provide a listing of donor organizations.

This project was undertaken as part of a larger effort to examine empirically the relationship between media assistance and its expected outcomes. At present, as is documented in the report, relatively little is known about the effectiveness of media assistance efforts.

The report contains a summary of the main findings and of the methodology used to locate funding agencies as well as a listing of those agencies with contact information for them.

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which funded the work of Drs. Becker and Vlad, promotes excellence in journalism worldwide and invests in the vitality of 26 U.S. communities. Since its creation in 1950, Knight Foundation has approved more than $275 million in journalism grants.

The Cox Center is a unit of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Georgia. Dr. Becker is director of the Cox Center; Dr. Vlad is assistant director.