Did you know that just six large corporations control 90 percent of what people in the United States watch and read? Did you know that a handful of billionaires and asset managers have been buying up local newspapers, magazines, and TV stations? Do you suppose this increased corporate ownership influences what people know and think?

Whether or not you know exactly who owns what you see, hear, and read, you should know that media has an ownership problem. As media ownership is being consolidated, layoffs are on a steady rise across the sector, and more Americans than ever turn to digital outlets for news. And as platform giants increasingly swallow up revenue that used to support news outlets, they have an outsized ability to sway what appears in people’s news feeds. This causes a vicious cycle that provokes more private buyouts, leading to budget cuts and newsroom shrinkage, which further narrows coverage.

When a few ultrarich entities prioritize profits over public information, stories are at a huge risk of being one-sided—or never made public at all. Access to news is key to an engaged civil society, and without it, social worlds shrink and become suffused with disinformation and bias. Although commercial media has always been owned by the wealthy, it is clear that we are in a new era that is in desperate need for new democratic models. Massive amounts of media organizing, funding for nonprofit journalism, and creative strategies for elevating movement stories have proliferated in an attempt to fight fire with fire and mitigate the crisis that commercialism has caused.

Can we create a truly free press?

The idea that we need media that supports movements is not exactly new. Mainstream media sometimes offers the kind of investigative reporting that exposes bad corporate actors and sheds light on the power structures governing politics and the economy. But today, progressive media needs to go one step further on the offensive: highlighting hegemony and telling stories that incite social transformation.

Funding nonprofit journalism has been one way of doing what Han describes above, and studies show that both newsrooms and funders agree there should be more funding for journalism from the nonprofit sector. A report released last year, which collected data from over 400 news organizations and 100 funders, shows that foundations and philanthropy are right to invest in media across the board and that newsrooms benefit greatly from it. More than half of funders said they “prefer to fund nonprofit journalism” in particular, with strong support for local journalism and journalism addressing specific issues.

Read the full article about journalism by Rithika Ramamurthy at Nonprofit Quarterly .