“We’re of course aware of the controversy over Yahoo’s operations in China … and we took that into consideration before deciding to proceed with this fellowship,” James Bettinger, head of the Knight journalism fellowship program at Stanford, said in an e-mail to alumni. “To my knowledge this is the first Internet news organization to fund any aspect of any of the journalism fellowship programs, and I hope it will not be the last.”
The e-mail was quoted in a New York Times over the controversy that has erupted over the program’s decision to accept $1 million from a company that has helped the Chinese government identify and prosecute journalists. Yahoo’s also under fire for censoring its Web site in China so that information unfavorable to the Communist government isn’t seen by users in that country. Criticism of the Knight program is coming from its own alumni.
Neither the Times nor the Chronicle, which also did a story on the controvesy, quoted any Stanford faculty members about the controversy. Usually faculty in a journalism program are willing to discuss conflicts of interest in media organizations. Apparently they keep quiet when their own department is accused of the conflict.