CLARIFICATION: The grant is to the BBC World Service Trust, the charitable arm of the BBC. The Gates Foundation says it is inaccurate to say they are funding the BBC, but the Trust says it “works in partnership with the BBC World Service, and has access to its weekly audience of 180 million listeners in 32 different languages.” Until I can figure out what this means, I’m letting this story stand as it is.
The Puget Sound Business Journal’s Clay Holtzman reports that the Gates Foundation made its largest ever donation to a media organization, the BBC, in December but didn’t publicize the $19.9 million grant.
As Clay reports, there has been a lot of media attention given lately to the Seattle philanthropy’s funding of media — most recently a comprehensive review of the potential conflicts-of-interest inherent in this practice by the Seattle Times. Clay notes:
When the Seattle Times published a lengthy profile of the Gates Foundation’s grants to professional journalists on Feb. 19, the foundation apparently never disclosed that it had already approved its largest award ever to a media organization.