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November 19 2009

18:00

Linking watchdog journalism and nonprofit accountability

Nonprofit business models often pop up in our coverage, and in recent weeks we’ve run a series on the relationship between non-governmental organizations and the news ecosystem. But here’s something we’ve only touched on in passing: the decline of investigative journalism and its impact on nonprofit accountability. Pablo Eisenberg, senior fellow at the Georgetown Public Policy Institute, explores this issue in the Fall 2009 edition of Carnegie Reporter.

It’s interesting to see concerns about journalism’s watchdog role addressed through a different perspective. Here’s an excerpt from Eisenberg’s essay:

The crisis in accountability in recent years has become all the more acute as the number of operating nonprofits has grown enormously and the sector has assumed even greater responsibility for society’s well being. Public expectations are greater than ever. Public confidence in their performance and integrity is, of course, the key to nonprofits’ ability to raise money. While most nonprofits are honest and transparent, the small number that are not can stain the reputation of the entire field. That is why there must be oversight mechanisms to ensure that both nonprofit organizations and philanthropic foundations operate ethically and effectively. The loss of daily newspapers and the investigative journalism they have traditionally provided will make this task much more difficult.

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