WHIPPANY, NJ: Bayer is donating $50,000 to the Association of Foreign Correspondents, a group representing international journalists working in the U.S.

“We want to make sure that journalists have all the tools they need to successfully and credibly write the best damn stories they can write,” said Ray Kerins, SVP of corporate affairs for Bayer U.S.

The money will go toward educational resources, grants and scholarships to help journalists learn more about finance and accounting, including specifics such as understanding balance sheets, according to a release.

Kerins said mid-career training for journalists has declined over the years and Bayer’s support of the Association of Foreign Correspondents ensures that the reporters covering Bayer, among other topics, have the tools they need.

“We need a free press and we need journalists who are empowered, whatever story they’re doing, but based on facts and the truth,” Kerins said.

He added that Bayer plays no role in deciding which topics are covered or how the courses are handled.

“We have no say over where, why, when or how these topics are covered,” he said.

Kerins also said the grants are not related to the recent controversy, in which one of Bayer’s PR firms, FleishmanHillard, collected lists of journalists and other stakeholders in support of a media campaign for the herbicide Roundup, developed by Monsanto. Bayer acquired Monsanto in 2018.

“[It’s] absolutely not,” he said. “It’s the continuation of a very strong relationship of two good organizations who share a common cause of ensuring that journalists stationed here in America have the ability to advance the important role of journalism. There’s absolutely no connection.”

In the past, Bayer has supported the Association of Foreign Correspondents’ predecessor, the Foreign Press Association, with a similar scholarship program and sponsored seminars and webinars for the National Press Foundation.

This story first appeared on prweek.com.