News from the Field

Ten University Research Centers That Offer Key Insights for Supporting Environmental Media

With the hottest summer on record drawing to a close, and the pope gearing up to address Congress, environmental issues are dominating the news. However, finding effective ways to address these complex and controversial topics can be tricky for both public interest media makers and the foundations that support their work.

To feature some of the best approaches to creating high-impact environmental media, we’ve curated resources from across our site in our latest Issues section. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this topic through the end of the year, when one of the largest international summits — the United Nation’s 21st Session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (also known as COP21)  — takes place in Paris.

Below, we take a look at the role that university-based research centers are playing in evaluating, producing and showcasing climate media and communications — including news, documentary, strategic campaigns, and more. In many cases, such centers are funded by foundations, and complement other direct investments in productions and outreach campaigns.

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Evalu-cations: The indispensable alliance between evaluation and communications

By Jonathan Sotsky | Originally published on the KnightBlog

A hallmark of my time supporting research and evaluation at Knight Foundation has been a close working relationship with our communications team. This partnership has been a key ingredient for the development and dissemination of a series of successful reports Knight has published in recent years. So when I recently encountered a Communications Network blog post lamenting the challenged relationship between evaluation people and communications people, I felt compelled to speak out on behalf of the way our teams have partnered at Knight.

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Media Impact Forum 2015 — Event Recap

At our Media Impact Forum on June 23, we asked two important questions — “What do we want from media innovation in the public interest?” and “How do we get it?” To explore answers, we brought together leading thinkers, funders and media innovators to share their ideas and projects for an inspired digital future. Read more

The (New) Power of Partnerships and Listening

The Center for Effective Philanthropy held its Leading Effective Foundations conference in San Francisco last month, convening more than 300 foundation executives and thought leaders in the nonprofit sector. Among featured speakers, Laurene Powell Jobs offered an eye-opening introduction into the innovative work of her Emerson Collective in defending immigrant rights and expanding educational opportunities, providing just one highlight in a program packed with stellar presenters. Read more

Internet Policy and Communicating for Policy Change

By Jon Stahl, communications director, Philanthropy Northwest

In the past few days, we’ve hosted a pair of events with our friends at Media Impact Funders, the national network of grantmakers working on media and technology issues. In different ways, both touched on the power of communications — both medium and message — to drive forward the social change issues that animate philanthropy. Read more

Museums and Digital — The 2015 Museums and the Web Conference

By Sarah Lutman, Principal at Lutman & Associates and author of the report, Like, Link, Share: How Cultural Institutions are Embracing Digital Technologies

Media funders take note. The museum community has been investing steadily in its collective media capabilities: in technical infrastructure, media production tools, staff expertise, and asset digitization. As a result, museums are becoming some of the 21st century’s most compelling conveners, storytellers, and media producers. Read more

Notes from NTC 2015

Our friends at the Nonprofit Technology Network had the great idea of convening their annual Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) in Austin, Texas, a week before the massive horde arrived for South By Southwest. In addition to popular sessions from NTC stalwarts like Beth Kanter, Steve MacLaughlin and Heather Holdridge, NTEN conference participants had all the barbecue and breakfast tacos they could hope for, without the endless lines and crushing crowds associated with the annual media/tech extravaganza that SXSW has become. Read more

#Frank2015 Recap

By Bruce S. Trachtenberg

I’ve been working in the field of social change communications for a long time, and over the years I’ve seen various efforts to measure – even define – success. Then, just the other day, while attending the frank2015 conference, an annual gathering focused on public interest communications, I heard a speaker say the following:

Success in public interest communications starts when people say ‘OMG this is important!’ Read more

A Tribute to Dori J. Maynard

By Jon Funabiki

On Monday morning (3/2), I joined hundreds of family members, friends, journalists and funders in mourning the death of Dori J. Maynard, the president of the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education and an unflinching critic of the news media’s treatment of African Americans and other minority groups. She passed away on Feb. 24 from lung cancer at the age of 56. Read more

Net Neutrality Updates

March 12, 2015 The FCC releases the new rule, protecting the Internet from blocking, throttling and paid prioritization. See excerpts and analysis from the New York Times.

February 26, 2015 Victory for the open Internet. The FCC formally voted 3-2 in favor of reclassifying Internet under Title II protections, enshrining net neutrality into law. Read more about this major achievement. Read more

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