Non-profit

The 74 Media (The 74)

Logo for The 74, a news website covering education in America. (link) by Eduviews is licensed CC BY-SA 4.0 (link)
Website:

www.the74million.org/

Location:

NEW YORK, NY

Tax ID:

47-2788684

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Budget (2018):

Revenue: $4,141,831
Expenses: $3,714,706
Assets: $808,529

Type:

Education Reform Website

Founders:

Campbell Brown

Romy Drucker

Formation:

July 2015

The 74 Media is a nonpartisan education news group that publishes news stories and opinion content that discuss racism and corruption occurring in public school systems in the United States. It is best known for its flagship site, the 74, but it also operates LA School Report and its Spanish-language equivalent, LA School Report en Espanol. [1]

The 74 Media has received criticism from left-of-center and teachers-union-aligned figures for publishing pro-education reform opinion pieces and being affiliated with Campbell Brown and Romy Drucker, the company’s co-founders who are affiliated with the school-choice movement.

Founding and History

The 74 Media was founded in July 2015 by Campbell Brown and Romy Drucker. Its name is a reference to the estimated 74 million American schoolchildren enrolled in the K-12 system. Education Week reported that, upon the publication’s launch, Drucker announced that the 74 would be reporting on issues “of teacher quality, educational options for families, and testing and the Common Core State Standards.” [2]

The 74 Media was created with funding from the Walton Family Foundation, Jonathan Sackler, and the Peter and Carmen Lucia Buck Foundation. According to Education Week, it launched with a staff of 13 veteran writers, including former assistant managing editor at TIME magazine Steven Snyder; Cynthia Tucker, a Pulitzer Prize-winning former columnist for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution; and Conor Williams, a senior researcher at the left-of-center New America think tank and former blog writer for the center-left Talking Points Memo. [3]

Despite the ideological diversity of its staff, the 74 was heavily criticized for the affiliations of its founders. Teachers union-aligned and radical-left critics have called the 74 “a news site with a specific advocacy agenda” and claimed it provides unfair coverage with the goal of “criticizing teachers and advocating that public schools get turned into charter corporations.” [4] The 74 Media has pushed back, pointing to its fair news coverage and arguing that its critics often conflate such balanced coverage with the beliefs of individual writers in its opinion section. [5]

In 2016, the 74 Media expanded, acquiring the LA School Report, a news site that covers the Los Angeles Unified School District. [6] In partnership with Richard Whitmire, the 74 Media forayed into the publishing sphere as well. The firm published The Founders, a book on the most successful charter schools in America, and “The Alumni,” a weekly series that highlighted students who benefited from charter schools that stopped running in 2017. [7]

The 74 Media also began a news aggregator named TopSheet, though the site has not been updated since September 2018. [8]

In 2017, Campbell Brown stepped down from her position as editorial head of the 74 to join Facebook and lead its news partnerships team. [9]

The 74 has won several awards from the Education Writers Association’s National Awards for Education Reporting. In 2020, the 74 had four finalists in the categories of Features, Investigative Reporting, and Visual Storytelling, including an investigative piece on lawsuits against former U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos. [10]

Present Activities

The 74 Media publishes news and editorial pieces on three sites: The 74, LA School Report, and LA School Report en Espanol. The 74 Media also hosts a blog called Newsfeed, which compiles school choice news reports from educational news sites. Under its “Analysis” section, the 74 Media publishes original research on school performance and the latest news on teachers’ unions. [11]

Despite criticism that the 74 Media skews right, the 74 and LA School Report both appear to publish a variety of opinion perspectives, almost entirely from actual schoolteachers and administrators. On the 74’s April 2021 opinion page, for example, it features pieces written about structural racism and the “inspiring” femininity of Vice President Kamala Harris. [12]

Finances

The 74 Media’s most recent publicly available tax filings show total revenues of $4,141,831 and total expenses of $3,714,706. [13] The 74 Media reports funding from several left-of-center organizations, including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Carnegie Corporation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the City Fund, the Walton Family Foundation, and Charles Strauch. [14]

Early on, the 74 Media also received funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies, the Dick and Betsy DeVos Family Foundation, and the pro-school choice American Federation for Children. Co-founder and board member Campbell Brown sits on the board of the American Federation for Children. [15]

Leadership

Steven Snyder is the editor-in-chief of the 74 Media, making $230,585 annually. [16] Prior to joining the 74 Media upon its launch, Snyder was assistant managing editor at TIME magazine and was the editorial director at People magazine. He also held smaller roles at NBCOlympics.com, Newsday, and the now-defunct New York Sun. [17]

Romy Drucker is the CEO of the 74 Media and sits on its board of directors, receiving a salary of $252,245. [18] Prior to founding the 74, Drucker worked at the New York City Department of Education, helping to implement then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s Children First educational program. [19] The program expanded school choice and transformed teacher hiring in the city, moves which the left-of-center Center for American Progress (CAP) found that Children First “produced significant results: new and better school options for families, more college-ready graduates, and renewed public confidence in New York City’s schools.” [20] Drucker also works as deputy director for the K-12 Education Program at the Walton Family Foundation.

Co-founder Campbell Brown still sits on the board of directors of the 74 Media. Brown is a former news anchor for CNN and the NBA and is a prominent education reform activist. She is also the founder of the now-defunct Partnership for Educational Justice, a New York City-based group that sued New York state in an attempt to change teacher tenure laws. [21] Currently, she leads news partnerships at Facebook.

Aside from Campbell Brown and Romy Drucker, the board of directors has two other members: Andrew Rotherham and Kevin Shafer. Andrew Rotherham is the co-founder of Bellwether Education, a school choice nonprofit, and the executive editor of Real Clear Education, a subsidiary of Real Clear Politics. Previously, he was columnist for TIME and a White House special assistant to the Clinton administration. Kevin Shafer is a partner of the City Fund and was chief innovation officer of Camden Public Schools, which implemented school choice under his leadership. The center-left Progressive Policy Institute described school choice in Camden, one of America’s poorest cities, as being “broadly-supported” and boasting “impressive” results. [22]

References

  1. Brown, Campbell. “Campbell Brown: A Note About My Role at The 74.” The 74 Campbell Brown A Note About My Role at The 74 Comments, January 6, 2017. https://www.the74million.org/article/campbell-brown-a-note-about-my-role-at-the-74/. ^
  2. Walsh, Mark. “Advocate, Former TV Anchor Campbell Brown to Launch Education News Site.” Education Week. Education Week, June 23, 2015. https://www.edweek.org/education/advocate-former-tv-anchor-campbell-brown-to-launch-education-news-site/2015/06. ^
  3. Walsh, Mark. “Advocate, Former TV Anchor Campbell Brown to Launch Education News Site.” Education Week. Education Week, June 23, 2015. https://www.edweek.org/education/advocate-former-tv-anchor-campbell-brown-to-launch-education-news-site/2015/06. ^
  4. Walsh, Mark. “Advocate, Former TV Anchor Campbell Brown to Launch Education News Site.” Education Week. Education Week, June 23, 2015. https://www.edweek.org/education/advocate-former-tv-anchor-campbell-brown-to-launch-education-news-site/2015/06. ; Blume, Howard. “The Seventy Four, Founded by Controversial Advocate, Takes over LA School Report.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2016. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-seventy-four-takes-over-school-report-20160201-story.html. ^
  5. Blume, Howard. “The Seventy Four, Founded by Controversial Advocate, Takes over LA School Report.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2016. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-seventy-four-takes-over-school-report-20160201-story.html. ^
  6. Blume, Howard. “The Seventy Four, Founded by Controversial Advocate, Takes over LA School Report.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, February 2, 2016. https://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-seventy-four-takes-over-school-report-20160201-story.html. ^
  7. “The Founders.” The Founders Home Comments. Accessed April 17, 2021. http://thefounders.the74million.org/.; “The Alumni.” The Alumni | Inside a groundbreaking campaign to get HS grads through college. Accessed April 17, 2021. http://thealumni.the74million.org/. ^
  8. TopSheet. Accessed April 17, 2021. http://topsheet.com/. ^
  9. Brown, Campbell. “Campbell Brown: A Note About My Role at The 74.” The 74 Campbell Brown A Note About My Role at The 74 Comments, January 6, 2017. https://www.the74million.org/article/campbell-brown-a-note-about-my-role-at-the-74/. ^
  10. Snyder, Steve. “The 74 Named Finalist For National Education Reporting Awards; Special Projects on Digital Divide, Border Schools, Family Resilience & DeVos’s Ed Department Are Top Honorees.” Named Finalist For National Education Reporting Awards; Special Projects on Digital Divide, Border Schools, Family Resilience & DeVos’s Ed Department Are Top Honorees, April 14, 2021. https://www.the74million.org/article/the-74-named-finalist-for-national-education-reporting-awards-special-projects-on-digital-divide-border-schools-family-resilience-devoss-ed-department-are-top-honorees/. ^
  11. “The 74.” Analysis | The 74. Accessed April 17, 2021. https://www.the74million.org/analysis/. ^
  12. Gonzalez, Freddy. To Dismantle Structural Racism, Having School Leaders Who Look like Me Matters, March 22, 2021. https://www.the74million.org/article/to-dismantle-structural-racism-having-school-leaders-who-look-like-me-matters/. ; ^
  13. “THE 74 MEDIA INC – Form Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2018 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed April 17, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/472788684/02_2020_prefixes_47-47%2F472788684_201812_990_2020020317098985. ^
  14. “The 74.” Supporters | The 74. Accessed April 17, 2021. https://www.the74million.org/supporters/. ^
  15. Barnum, Matt. “Analysis: How Betsy DeVos Could Scramble the Ideology and Politics of Education Reform.” The 74 Analysis How Betsy DeVos Could Scramble the Ideology and Politics of Education Reform Comments, November 27, 2016. https://www.the74million.org/article/the-break-up-how-betsy-devos-could-scramble-the-ideology-and-politics-of-education-reform/. ^
  16. “THE 74 MEDIA INC – Form Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2018 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed April 17, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/472788684/02_2020_prefixes_47-47%2F472788684_201812_990_2020020317098985. ^
  17. “ The 74.” About | The 74. Accessed April 17, 2021. https://www.the74million.org/about/. ^
  18. “THE 74 MEDIA INC – Form Form 990 for Period Ending Dec 2018 – Nonprofit Explorer.” ProPublica. Accessed April 17, 2021. https://projects.propublica.org/nonprofits/display_990/472788684/02_2020_prefixes_47-47%2F472788684_201812_990_2020020317098985. ^
  19. “Romy Drucker.” Walton Family Foundation. Accessed April 17, 2021. https://www.waltonfamilyfoundation.org/about-us/staff/romy-drucker. ^
  20. Kelleher, Maureen. “New York City’s Children First.” Center for American Progress, March 21, 2014. https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/education-k-12/reports/2014/03/21/86089/new-york-citys-children-first/. ^
  21. Walsh, Mark. “Advocate, Former TV Anchor Campbell Brown to Launch Education News Site.” Education Week. Education Week, June 23, 2015. https://www.edweek.org/education/advocate-former-tv-anchor-campbell-brown-to-launch-education-news-site/2015/06. ^
  22. Osborne, David, and Tressa Pankovits. “After Seven Years of Broadly-Supported School Choice, How Are Camden Students Faring?” NJ Education Report, January 27, 2020. https://www.njedreport.com/2020/01/27/after-seven-years-of-broadly-supported-school-choice-how-are-camden-students-faring/. ^

Directors, Employees & Supporters

  1. Campbell Brown
    Co-Founder
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Nonprofit Information

  • Accounting Period: December - November
  • Tax Exemption Received: March 1, 2015

  • Available Filings

    Period Form Type Total revenue Total functional expenses Total assets (EOY) Total liabilities (EOY) Unrelated business income? Total contributions Program service revenue Investment income Comp. of current officers, directors, etc. Form 990
    2018 Dec Form 990 $4,141,831 $3,714,706 $808,529 $152,055 N $4,090,207 $50,546 $0 $540,452 PDF
    2017 Dec Form 990 $2,685,358 $3,723,651 $463,516 $234,167 N $2,672,858 $0 $0 $462,359 PDF
    2016 Dec Form 990 $3,749,097 $3,221,522 $1,309,824 $42,182 N $3,749,097 $0 $0 $495,338 PDF
    2015 Dec Form 990 $2,896,969 $2,156,902 $771,451 $31,384 N $2,896,597 $0 $372 $180,184 PDF

    Additional Filings (PDFs)

    The 74 Media (The 74)

    222 BROADWAY FL 19
    NEW YORK, NY 10038-2550