Identification of funders is also an issue when using bigger funders, as when a group of NGOs funds a story which involves their work, e.g. refugee services. To avoid the belief that such a reportage would be tainted PR for the NGOs, the suggestion was that when all funds move through a mediating organization which was trusted to be independent (i.e. Spot Us), the taint would be cleansed. Logically, this is so: advertisers in newspapers are technically funders, and they are sometimes the subjects of stories (good and bad). The newsroom is considered a pristine (ha!) "cleansing" buffer.
So, the question is, can a robot website — spot.us
— play the role of independent buffer? In the end, it's all perception — either the reporter is influenced by the funders, or not.