With the mainstream media in such a massive free fall, it’s as easy to obscure the sources that fund them as it is to fund political campaigns.
It used to be easy to know which companies fund news. Open the morning paper or wait a few minutes at the end of a TV broadcast and you’ll see an ad. Private companies buy time and space for the content they consume and pay for what they see.
Not today. Now the media his producers themselves are more and more advocating to push the story and cause them and their donors/sponsors to ask you for help.
At a time when the mainstream media is plummeting due to distrust from readers and a collapsed business model, obscure sources of funding are being identified to fund media outlets as much as they fund campaigns on political issues. It is easy to defend the results of Even easier.
Seven years ago, Mississippi Today caused a lot of fanfare. With funding and support from the Mississippi elite, and the expertise of his NBC news head at the time, Andy Rak, Mississippi Today was a non-partisan, not-for-profit digital daily. was launched as Lack has since left NBC News, but millions still attend. It may be widely funded, or it may be just a handful of contributors responsible for most of the funding.
Over the past seven years, Mississippi Today has become the largest newsroom in the state. With more than 20 staff, millions of dollars poured into the coffers from individual donors and foundations, and highly paid staff integrated away from his Clarion Ledger, Daily Journal and other struggling media. I was. As a nonprofit, the content the organization produces is syndicated by struggling outlets and other entities that choose to operate for little if any money through creative content deals. Thus, with the decline of the media, a relatively small group of funders gathered talent from for-profit organizations, shaped content, championed it, and distributed it all to struggling small daily/weekly newspapers, I was able to return it to the TV station blank. And even large daily newsrooms crave free/low-cost content.
Nonprofits file 990s reports with the IRS, which serves two functions. The report reveals where the money is coming from and going to the IRS and generally. Clearly, for-profit businesses do not have the same requirements as after-tax earnings. In theory, these non-profits maintain a huge economic advantage over competing for-profits, so they have a duty not to be partisan in their scope.
Mississippi Today chose to obfuscate the amounts associated with specific donors in the 990 public filings (per IRS requirements). I have a page that lists all donors who make more than $1,000 annually. However, a small number of donors provide hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization on an annual basis. The net effect is that a small donor covers a large donor who accounts for over 85% of the total funds donated to the organization. This is because without disclosure, it’s nearly impossible for the average consumer to know who donated how much.
Through Mississippi Today’s 90s research and Foundation Center Online, a paid service for fundraising and development professionals, Y’all Politics identifies the sources of most of Mississippi Today’s major donations since its inception Did.
When asked to verify, clarify and comment on the above information, Mary Margaret White, CEO of Mississippi Today, responded: Edit 990 to protect contributors from identity theft and harm. The “Who Funds Us” page on our website is accurate and all of her $1,000 and up to Mississippi Today, including those made through donor-advised funds donations included. “
Mississippi News & Information Corporation/Deep South Today’s Subsidy Income (Years Per 990s)
- 2015 – $2,858,549
- 2016 – $1,202,081
- 2017 – $528,162
- 2018 – $2,104,678
- 2019 – $1,549,230
- 2020 – $2,528,142
Total grants per 990 seconds from 2015 to 2020 – $10,770,842
Upon investigation, we found that $7,878,295 came from 20 different donors. Of which, $2,850,500 from the Ford Foundation, $1.6 million from the Mississippi Common Fund Trust, $1.12 million from the Morgan Stanley Impact Funding Trust, $450,000 from the Morpus Foundation, $400,000 from the Pittman Family Foundation, and $520,000 from the Walton Foundation. $6,850 has been donated. This represents a total of $6,951,850 from six contributors, or 65% of the funds raised, for a total of 990.
Jackson Jambalaya and Y’all Politics previously reported on the Mississippi Common Trust. The institution is operated and managed by the staff of the University of Mississippi Foundation, and the primary beneficiary of the trust is James Barksdale, who is also a Trustee of Mississippi Today. It has received some scrutiny in that it simultaneously funds programs at the University of Mississippi Medical Center. UMMC recently began sponsoring Mississippi Today broadcast content. Starting in 2022, Mississippi Today has provided razor-sharp coverage in support of UMMC, opposing Mississippi’s Blue Cross Blue Shield, and suing UMMC executives for defamation. Blue Cross is now specifically requesting correspondence between UMMC and Mississippi Today reporters.
The Morgan Stanley Impact Funding Trust is a designated endowment fund. The fund advertises to people who offer the ability to donate to causes anonymously. If Mississippi Today’s “Who Funds Us” page is accurate, according to the 990s, he has only three possible donors that fit that donor profile. One of them is Andy Lack, one of the co-founding board members. Lack isn’t listed separately as a donor in the information available through the 990s, but in 2019 he was reported to have “sunk $1 million” on Mississippi Today in an ABC News article. . Again, Mississippi Today does not verify donor identities or amounts outside of the website.
There is nothing illegal or unethical about how Mississippi Today raised or disclosed its funds. But organizations that ostensibly operate for the public good take pride in their transparency, regularly demanding of public officials and others, and undoubtedly making explicit or implied claims between money. You have an obligation to go the extra mile to prove to consumers that you have no financial relationship with them.The news they receive and the news they choose to report or not. That very notion has become increasingly questioned in recent months, so this simple disclosure to provide some light and context for what is now believed to be the largest media organization in Mississippi. .