This year’s Media Impact Forum, convened at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Menlo Park, featured inspired talks by inspiring speakers — social entrepreneurs and Internet pioneers who are helping to create a more vibrant and just digital future. We asked our morning speakers to address the simple question: what do we want? And their aspirations are laid out in the videos below.
What becomes clear in these presentations about increasing diversity and justice in the technology industry, creating a universal digital archive for free for all and strengthening trust in journalism, is that these are some lofty — but achievable — ambitions. In an era when crazy billions are chasing daft business ideas around Silicon Valley, it’s clear that modest millions from philanthropy hold the potential to deliver enormous dividends to the public interest if effectively deployed in digital strategies.
- Unlocking Opportunity in Diverse Communities: Van Jones
- New Carnegie Moment: Brewster Kahle
- All the Words: Erin Mckean
- Trust in News: Craig Newmark
- The Ethics of Data Privacy: Lucy Bernholz
- Closing Reflections: Sandy Herz
Unlocking Opportunity in Diverse Communities: Van Jones
We kicked off our symposium with a moving presentation by CNN Commentator and former Obama Administration official Van Jones, who laid out a vision for greater inclusion in the technology industry, focusing on the #YesWeCode initiative run by his organization, Dream Corps, with support from The Atlantic Philanthropies.
New Carnegie Moment: Brewster Kahle
Brewster Kahle was truly in the vanguard of the Internet, creator of the early publishing system known as Wide Area Information Server, which he sold to AOL, and co-founder of the Alexa Web catalog system, which was sold to Amazon in 1999. Kahle is also founder of the Internet Archive and in that capacity he proposes to create a universal digital archive of all knowledge for all people for free — which he describes as philanthropy’s new “Carnegie moment,” reminiscent of the vast library system created by Andrew Carnegie more than a century ago.
All the Words: Erin McKean
Erin McKean’s aspiration is only slightly less ambitious — she wants all the words. A novelist and former editor of American Dictionaries for Oxford University Press, McKean has created Wordnik, a new nonprofit organization that is designed to be the world’s biggest online dictionary.
Trust in News: Craig Newmark
Craig Newmark, founder of the eponymously named Internet marketplace, has for years left the management of craigslist to others, while he devotes himself to philanthropy and public service projects, in large measure through craigconnects. Craig focuses his efforts on service to veterans and military families, women in technology and — the subject of his remarks to our forum — increasing trust in news, which he describes as the immune system of democracy.
The Ethics of Data and Privacy: Lucy Bernholz
Lucy Bernholz lays out the perils and promise of ubiquitous digital data collection, which requires philanthropy and nonprofits to encode our values into the information systems we build. And like all of the other talks in the morning, she argues, the health of our democracy depends upon philanthropy getting this right.
Closing Reflections: Sandy Herz
Sandy Herz, Director of Global Partnerships at the Skoll Foundation had perhaps the toughest job of the day, reflecting and synthesizing everything we heard throughout the day. And she did an excellent job pulling it all together.
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