inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #151 of 168: Don Mussell (dmsml) Sun 23 Jul 06 15:22
    
And no, DN! is among the most listened-to programs on KKCR.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #152 of 168: FROM KAREN _ (davadam) Sun 23 Jul 06 20:51
    
Karen _ writes:

Angie, All,
What a great conversation!  I wanted to ask this before I started
reading the entire thing only to find the thread was in a new tapestry.
We have talked of possible conflict when the funding source is a
corporate with direct interest, but what about when the source is say a
nonprofit with an interest in seeing the story told?
say for example you want to do a documentary on suicide prevention, so
as an independent producer you approach a nonprofit agency working in
the field.  they like the idea of reaching a broad audience so much
that you have backing via their education budget...in cash to make it
even worse.
too risky a possible conflict here, if so what would be a suitable
funding source when a grant does not exist?
Keep up the grand flow of ideas,
Karen
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #153 of 168: Angie (coiro) Mon 24 Jul 06 12:13
    
Karen, thanks for writing in. I've been pondering this since I read it
last night.

The short version is - I just don't know a proper answer to your
question. I suspect it can only be analyzed case-by-case. 

One complicating factor is the rise of politically-motivated
non-profits. NPs used to be associated with pretty much universal goals
and priorities: feed the hungry. House the homeless. Fund college
education for the lower classes. 

Now we've got moveon.org, the American Enterprise Institute, etc. No
way can you say their dollars support an unbiased, non-activist stance.


And as Steven Colbert said so beautifully, "reality has a liberal
bias". Nowadays, even if you constructed the most straightforward piece
you could muster on homelessness, it would - I promise! - be attacked
as socialist, or classist, or at least liberally-biased. 

So how to set up a fair funding mechanism involving non-profs? I'd
actually like to hear input from the others here on this. 

In fact, the Well has a <nonprofit.> conference, and a <film.>
conference. I'll go ask over there if they want to pitch in some ideas.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #154 of 168: Cupido, Ergo Denego (robertflink) Mon 24 Jul 06 19:06
    
>No way can you say their dollars support an unbiased, non-activist
stance.<

Given that all of us have to make life decisions that balance
self-interest and group interest, isn't any donation, grant,
contribution, etc. bound to have some bias and activism in it?  I can
see objections in principle to dollars given covertly or for deceptive
purposes.  I can also understand the tactic of accusing the other side
of being biased and/or activist so that the audience might believe one
is unbiased and neutral.  

BTW, I tend to think that a larger problem than bias may be lack of
rigor in fact-finding, perspective and thinking.  
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #155 of 168: Angie (coiro) Mon 24 Jul 06 23:12
    
I don't know that tending to the latter should mean a lack of
attention to the former, Robert. Both are important.

And yeah, we could all drive ourselves nuts looking for Simon-pure*
funding, that doesn't carry even the slightest whiff of potential
influence. As with everything else, it's seeking a balance.

In today's climate, you might as well give up forestalling all
accusations of bias. Goes back to being criticized for getting out of
bed in the morning. At the close of business, then - can you tell
yourself, and anyone giving you a fair listen, that you've presented
even-handed information to the best of your ability? As individuals or
as a company or group, that's the best you can do.

*Simon-pure - how much longer till that makes no sense to anyone
anymore? ;)
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #156 of 168: Berliner (captward) Tue 25 Jul 06 11:54
    
(Ummm, isn't Simon-pure a biblical reference? Not the kind of thing
which vanishes overnight, I don't think. But now you've got me
wondering...)
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #157 of 168: Teleological dyslexic (ceder) Tue 25 Jul 06 16:15
    
Last semester, in my Nonprofits course, my partner and I did a
presentation on the book "High Performance Nonprofit Organizations:
Managing Upstream for Greater Impact".  One or two chapters dealt with
decisions to be made when accepting funding and identifying venture
capital focus culminating by contemplating strategies for changing
foundation practices and strategies for changing nonprofit practice.

Basically choose important objectives and hold the line.  ;-)
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #158 of 168: Gail Williams (gail) Tue 25 Jul 06 16:24
    
(What do you mean by hold the line in that context, ceder? Keep on asking 
for your objectives?)
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #159 of 168: Teleological dyslexic (ceder) Tue 25 Jul 06 16:44
    
Generic for use in the most situations: to build strong organizations
without compromising their commitment to social goals, for example,
would require the nonprofit to make organizational capacity a means to
social ends.  To do this use management processes to support quality
improvements--not just those that enhance appeal to funders--and to
enhance responsiveness to clients.

The same theme can be used for all nonprofit objectives.  The book I
meantioned uses for-profit organization management techniques to
improve nonprofit impact.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #160 of 168: Angie (coiro) Wed 26 Jul 06 12:45
    
Thanks, ceder.

Today's our official last day in this interview. But I'll be hanging
out for a while - I usually check out what's happening in this
conference anyway.

If any of you are unfamiliar with my on-air style, here's a chance to
catch it. I'm sitting in for Willie Brown tomorrow on San Francisco's
Air America affiliate, KQKE - the Quake. 7am to 9:30am, 960 on the AM
dial, and live online.

Ought to be interesting! - it's been well over a year now since I've
done anything live but a very brief guest shot on the air. Wonder if I
still got it.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #161 of 168: Gail Williams (gail) Wed 26 Jul 06 14:01
    
Will you take call-ins?
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #162 of 168: Angie (coiro) Wed 26 Jul 06 14:07
    
Yep! It'll feel good to do that for a change.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #163 of 168: Hal Royaltey (hal) Wed 26 Jul 06 14:15
    
Angie, Ed, huge thanks to both of you for an fascinating couple
of weeks.   I'm happy to hear that Angie will continue to check
in here occasionally.  Of course, the conversation can carry on
for as long as we like, so if anyone has something to add, please
do so.

Thanks again!
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #164 of 168: Pamela Calvert (plainspeech) Fri 28 Jul 06 19:17
    
A day late and a dollar short, the perpetual condition of an
independent doc producer...  

In response to Karen's question, the main problem with taking cash
money from non-profits to do media that is of interest to them is that
99% of these projects are conceived as, or become, promotional videos
for the work of that particular agency, a "sponsored project" to
publicize their staff and programs.  Non-profits need to account for
their expenses to their own funders, and very few would be able to
justify how a doc that isn't about them would be worth the significant
investment of resources that could otherwise be spent on more direct
program support.  So in that sense it's not particularly ideological.

However in one conspicuous case non-profits with deep pockets and
fewer spending restrictions are routinely redlined by PBS (not sure
about NPR but I'd bet it comes up there too), and that's labor unions. 
Any producer who wants their work to see the light of day on PBS will
not be able to take a nickel from a union, it's pretty much
automatically kicked back as a "conflict of interest."  (Would that
they were similarly stringent about Wall Street Week.)  

So the bottom line is that most independent doc work ends up being
paid for by a handful of foundations.  Gotta go write another grant
now...
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #165 of 168: Paul B. Israel (pauli) Sat 29 Jul 06 15:38
    
Funny how unions are special interests and large corporations aren't.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #166 of 168: Angie (coiro) Sat 29 Jul 06 17:07
    
Thanks for that, Pam!

Paul, have you read back? We've been consistenty discussing
corporations as special interests, and how to accept their funding
without kowtowing to their editorial preferences.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #167 of 168: Paul B. Israel (pauli) Sun 30 Jul 06 13:38
    
Angie I have been followin the discussion with interest.  My comment was
more a commentary on the degraded state of American political discourse in
which unions can be called special interests whose money would taint public
broadcasting while corporate funding somehow is just good corporate
citizenship.
  
inkwell.vue.277 : Angie Coiro, On The Air
permalink #168 of 168: Angie (coiro) Mon 31 Jul 06 18:25
    
Oh, definitely. Just as there's a business section of the paper every
day, as opposed to the occasional, crisis-centered union story, with
carefully "balanced" input from labor and management.

For you Mother Jones readers - our revamped website has been launched,
at motherjones.com. The creative souls there are eager for feedback,
so give it a test drive and pass along any constructive criticism. "Why
doesn't Pat Buchanan have a regular column with you guys" doesn't
count! 
  



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