But in his latest post on Reflections of a Newsosaur, Alan Mutter has done some math to drown the notion that charitable giving can ensure journalism living.
Mutter believes that nearly one-third of all philanthropic contributions would need to be redirected to save the jobs of journalists at challenged newspapers: $88 billion out of about $307 billion in annual giving.
He notes the arrival of such entities of ProPublica to fill some gaps but argues they cannot replace bread-and-butter daily local reporting. Moreover the limited resources provided to date with those new entities doesn't bode well for philanthropy in journalism.
Now, it is arguable how many funds are necessary to constitute acceptable local journalism that fulfils its public mission and engages the community. But Mutter believes it's well beyond the capability of journalism to attract that kind of support.
"So, let’s stop dreaming about a visit from the Non-Profit News Bunny and get serious about discovering some realistic possibilities," he writes.