Up in the lofty reaches of theory, the case for the impact of news is clear: Reporters report facts in good faith, and audiences consume these stories and deliberate with others who might not share their perspectives. In the process, they’re better informed to act in their role as citizens, and a better democracy results. Down here in the trenches of 2016, though, the impact story is much messier.
In his eighth and final speech to the United Nations General Assembly, President Obama called on world leaders to embrace the idea of open society as the only way for nations to prosper. “Entrepreneurs need to access information in order to invent; young people need a global education in order to thrive; independent media needs to check the abuses of power,” he said.
This post originally appeared on the Ford Foundation’s Equals Change blog on Sept. 21, 2016.
Not everyone knows the name Sir Tim Berners-Lee, but they certainly know his invention: the World Wide Web. And if being responsible for one of the most important innovations in human history wasn’t enough, early on Berners-Lee made the generous and vital decision to give it away for free.
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
Many funders have been supporting efforts to solidify net neutrality protections and open Internet principles for over a decade. Last year, four million people commented on the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) proposed Internet rules, and the President called for true open Internet protections, including reclassification of the Internet under Title II jurisdiction. This February the FCC voted to reclassify the Internet and stop states from banning municipal broadband networks. The rate of change has been dizzying. Read more
In recent years we’ve seen major progress on seemingly intractable social issues including juvenile justice reform and healthcare disparities among vulnerable populations. Strategic, coordinated media projects and campaigns are tipping the scales and helping to rapidly advance policy change across a wide-spectrum of issues. Read more
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
Communications are driving social change more than ever. Media Impact Funders held a morning breakfast conversation with Mary Lou Fulton, Senior Program Manager at The California Endowment; Martha Davis, Senior Program Officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Read more