Assessing Impact of Media

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Impact lessons from a community foundation investing in local journalism

By Lindsay Green-Barber | Founder & CEO, Impact Architects

In 2013, the city of Detroit filed for bankruptcy, and local media organizations struggled to stay afloat. In this turmoil, residents did not have access to high-quality journalism to meet their information needs, and the strain on journalism organizations made it difficult for them to make financial investment necessary for long-term investigative and accountability reporting. In response to the situation, the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation funded the creation of the Detroit Journalism Cooperative (DJC)—a collaborative reporting project that includes Detroit Public Television (DPTV), Detroit Public Radio (WDET), Michigan Radio, New Michigan Media, the Center for Michigan’s Bridge Magazine, and Chalkbeat Detroit—to report on “the city’s future after bankruptcy with stories that have never been told before—on-air, online and in the community.”

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What we know (and don’t) about the impact of solutions journalism

By Lindsay Green-Barber, PhD, Founder & CEO, Impact Architects

In the past five years, solutions journalism has become a closely watched model in the field of journalism. The Solutions Journalism Network has generated a robust network of journalists with formal training in solutions-oriented reporting, partnered with newsrooms whose leadership is committed to implementing solutions journalism as a core practice, and rigorously tested the underlying hypotheses for the impact of this practice.

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The Walton Family Foundation: A journey from nonmedia funder to nontraditional media funder

By Kristin Tracz | program officer, Walton Family Foundation
Christine Schneider | senior communications officer, Walton Family Foundation
Drew Jacobs |  strategy, learning and evaluation officer, Walton Family Foundation

Although we at the Walton Family Foundation (WFF) wouldn’t characterize ourselves as media funders, in early 2017 we came to realize that we were making significant investments in media across all three of our program areas—K-12 education, the environment, and the Foundation’s home region of Northwest Arkansas and the Arkansas-Mississippi delta.

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Lessons from the 2018 International Symposium on Online Journalism

By Lindsay Green-Barber, PhD, Founder & CEO, Impact Architects

Since 1999, the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas at the University of Texas at Austin has hosted the International Symposium on Online Journalism (ISOJ), and it is unique among journalism conferences for its international focus and participation. Last month’s ISOJ conference of nearly 500 journalists, researchers, and others from the media industry had a hopeful current running throughout, with panels and conversations about diverse revenue sources for journalism, creative audience engagement, and the importance of this work at a critical moment in living history.

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It took a group of heartbroken teenagers to move the needle on gun violence. Here’s how they did it.

In the month since the school shootingat Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla., which left 17 dead and numerous others wounded, the student leaders of the #NeverAgain movement have been able to move the needle on gun issues—even as many adults had thrown up their hands on the issues long ago. What’s more, the students’ impact has been significant:

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Why measuring media’s impact matters

Editor’s note: In November 2017, Science magazine published the results of a multi-year study—funded primarily by Voqal, a national collaboration of EBS licensees that work to advance social equity—in which 48 small media outlets were recruited to write articles on specific subjects on randomly assigned dates. Harvard Professor Gary King and his team wanted to better understand the impact of journalism on the national conversation. The researchers found that news by small- to medium-sized outlets can have a significant impact on how Americans discuss issues. Here, Voqal’s founder, John Schwartz, discusses why Voqal took this research on and what it means for the philanthropic community. Read more

Celebrating the impact of investigative storytelling at the Double Exposure Film Festival

By Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival

Next week, Double Exposure (DX), a project of the news organization 100Reporters, will open its doors to celebrate the newest documentary films inspired by investigative instinct, combining public screenings with a professional symposium for journalists and visual storytellers.

Media Impact Funders members receive a special 15% off discount on passes with the code DX17IMF. Register now while passes last.

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The Fledgling Fund offers insights on funding virtual reality

Editor’s note: Earlier this month, Media Impact Funders brought funders together at Philanthropy New York with organizers and presenters from the first VR for Change summit to explore how immersive platforms offer new ways to engage and mobilize users around social issues.

Because this is a new and quickly evolving medium, attendees had many questions. The lively conversation ranged across definitions of new technologies, ways to match funders’ goals to VR productions, emerging research on impact, and the costs of supporting such projects as platforms continue to roll out.

Diana Barrett of the Fledgling Fund has thought through many of these questions in her own practice. In this post adapted from a piece published in the online publication Immerse, she shares what she’s learned about the impact of VR, and how Fledgling chooses the projects they support. 

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MIF Monthly newsletter: September/October 2017

Assessing Impact of Media (AIM) monthly newsletter: November 2017

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