Gannett and a Little Lesson on Transparency

Jim Hopkins, the proprietor of Gannett Blog, has made a very careful study of the charitable contributions made by the Gannett Foundation.  One interesting discovery relevant to Rochester is that the Gannett Foundation gives around half of its donations to charities in the Rochester area.  Jim thinks, and I agree, that this is guilt money from Gannett, which is still feeling bad about moving their corporate HQ to the Washington, DC area and leaving us with the Democrat and Chronicle.

Those of you interested in the role of blogs in journalism should take a look at Jim's series on the Gannett Foundation.  By carefully reading required disclosures, he found that Gannett executives had a special program in the Gannett charities that allowed those execs to target donations to their favorite charities.  Of course, those executives took advantage of the program to donate to their alma maters.  For example, though the overall mission of the Foundation is to support charities in areas where Gannett has newspapers, the CEO chose to funnel contributions to his beloved University of Texas.  Gannett doesn't have any papers in Texas.


Why do the stockholders allow this? It is not as if the profits are growing ever higher

Well, GCI has lost 2/3 of its value in the last year, so I'm guessing the stockholders who are paying attention to this kind of stuff have already sold out.