when an astroturf group like Students First NY holds a rally to announce something that's not actually going to happen, there's a picture right there so everyone can see. Gotham Schools readers can ask one another, "Gee, what is Michelle Rhee's NY branch going to not do next? Are they going to not tape kids' mouths shut? After all, Rhee found it hilarious when she herself did it." But no, the [UFT] rally itself did not make the Gotham cut. Perhaps it was because the UFT is actually going to go through with this. Or maybe it was due to the vital nature of covering every little thing reformy, real, imaginary, or whatever. This notion is supported by the fact that, while Gotham didn't bother to cover the UFT/ parent rally, they saw fit to cover how charter supporters felt about the UFT lawsuit. There are extensive quotes from astroturf folks, but not a single one from any of the varied speakers at yesterday's rally.
NYC just doesn't get it. Come up with the bucks like Students First NY to buy coverage and you have a shot.
Updated March 3: I’ve already responded to one question, about ENN’s funding sources, in the comments section. Leonie Haimson asked whether our grants, including one from the Walton Foundation mentioned in this news story about ENN, come with strings attached. She also asked, “even if not, how will you insulate yourself from the fear of losing funding” if we write critically about causes the Walton Foundation supports?When a comment raised the question about the influence of the funding ("I'm bit worried about that you might lose some of that quality in a larger "corporate" model", Elizabeth responded:
I responded in this comment, explaining that, in brief, the answers are “No and Carefully.” The comment elaborates further so please read it if you are interested! And bring on more questions as you have them.
I don't mean to minimize the challenge here. Business matters (in particular, how much money a news organization has, from where, and with what conditions) will always influence editorial decisions; that is the unavoidable reality. (See this great essay on how this relationship has played out throughout the history of the American press: http://www.newyorker.com/arts/.... ) Given that reality, we have two options: (1) Cease to exist, proclaiming any funding source polluted or (2) Do our best to create a business that supports editorial independence and reporting of the sort we believe is important, rather than threatening it. Obviously, we are choosing (2).
“SeaChange arranged a $6.5 million Expansion Fund, to provide the necessary financial foundation for Uncommon’s planned growth over the next five years, which will allow the organization to educate thousands more low-income students, while demonstrating the viability of a scaled solution for improving urban education. We committed $2 million from our own Catalyst Fund toward this effort.” http://seachangecap.org/about/