Does Investigative Reporting's Decline Spell The End Of Nonprofit Accountability?

The Carnegie Reporter

Vol. 5, No. 3 of
The Carnegie Reporter

New York, New York, November 16, 2009 — Pablo Eisenberg's provocative essay in the upcoming issue of the Carnegie Reporter explores--and offers a solution to--the decline of accountability in the nonprofit sector due to the continuing demise of investigative journalism.

Read the Carnegie Reporter article "Why Nonprofits Need Newspapers" online.

Eisenberg writes that investigative journalism has helped keep nonprofit organizations publicly accountable, tempering their problems and excesses through the power and threat of information and exposure. Not even the IRS, which is supposed to oversee and police the nonprofit sector, nor state attorneys general, has done the job as effectively, he argues. 

According to Eisenberg, "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 confidence in their performance and integrity is," writes Eisenberg, "the key to nonprofits' ability to raise money and carry out their work.

Eisenberg suggest that wealthy donors and foundations must step in to save regional newspapers by converting them into nonprofit entities. Their actions would infuse journalism with the energy, integrity, quality and stability that it so desperately needs. And, he says, it could insure the continuing oversight of nonprofits and foundations.

The long-time observer and critic of the nonprofit sector believes that to resuscitate the nation's daily newspapers and to kindle an intellectual bonfire in the nonprofit community would take a great deal of energy and effort. It also would take a lot of money. But Eisenberg's thesis is that even in these difficult economic times, there is plenty of money available, if only our very wealthy donors and foundations are willing to put it to good and vital purposes. 

Do you agree with Pablo Eisenberg's assessment and subsequent prescription for action? Read the essay and add your thoughts. 

Carnegie Corporation of New York is a philanthropic foundation created by Andrew Carnegie in 1911 to do "real and permanent good in this world."