The New York Times published an article by journalist Tina Rosenberg about Bridge International Academies and its plans for expansion in Liberia and other African nations. The article is balanced, on the surface, yet overall presents a positive picture of the investors who want to replace universal public education with an African version of charter schools. Although this is presented as smart philanthropy, it will eventually be a highly profitable business, when 200 million children are enrolled.

Bridge International Academies includes investors such as Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Pearson.

Public education activist Leonie Haimson described the article this way:

“This is at least the 2nd time that Tina Rosenberg of Solutions Journalism has favorably written in the NYT on an ed company funded by Bill gates or Gates Foundation w/out disclosing that Sol Journalism is also funded by Gates foundation.

She also did a column last year on New Classrooms/School of One that has gotten funding fr/ Gates w/out disclosing this connection —

despite this statement on the Solutions website:


We recognize that there are ethical concerns inherent in using philanthropic funding to support journalism that explores efforts to advance solutions. The reality is that the ecosystems of philanthropy and social change are interconnected. It is, therefore, inevitable that some newsrooms and journalists we support will report on issues that involve our organization’s funders, some of which are large-scale foundations that have supported thousands of organizations in dozens of fields.

We believe that it would be a disservice to society to exclude critical reporting on social innovations funded by these sources. On the other hand, it is critically important that such relationships not conflict with the principles of independent journalism. SJN’s grant recipients, whether newsrooms or individual journalists, should adhere to the highest standards of conduct as set forth in by bodies such as the Society of Professional Journalists.

We require that our grant recipients remain completely transparent about any potential conflicts of interest that could arise in the context of reporting on an issue of interest to a Solutions Journalism Network funder. Just as important, news organizations that receive support from the Solutions Journalism Network have full editorial control over their coverage.


The highest and primary obligation of ethical journalism is to serve the public.

Journalists should:

– Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived. Disclose unavoidable conflicts.