Over the last decade, media reformers have been waging a series of high-stakes battles against news consolidation, the balkanization of the internet, and the explosion in political ads, and scored signature victories for local media control and freedom of expression.

On November 17, Media Impact Funders and Philanthropy New York invited three experts to discuss the fraught relationship between democracy and media: Robert McChesney, Professor of Communication, University of Illinois and Co-Founder of Free Press; Helen Brunner, Director, Media Democracy Fund, and Michael Copps, former Commissioner,  Federal Communications Commission and current Special Advisor, Media and Democracy Reform Initiative at Common Cause.
Media Impact Funders’ Executive Director Vince Stehle moderated the event, and penned a related piece for the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

“As long as shadowy donors are able to make undisclosed and unlimited contributions to sway elections and as long as those donations are used to fill our airwaves with false and negative messages, fixing our political system will be impossible,” he writes. “Yet very little grant money goes to dealing with such issues. ”
Among other topics, the event featured a series of creative interventions by media makers, designed to make complex policy topics more accessible to a broad range of audiences. More than 230,000 viewers have watched The Internet Must Go, a half-hour mockumentary exploring the fight for net neutrality. Watch and share it here.
Common Cause recently worked with illustrated journalism tablet magazine Symbolia to create a comic on the same topic, Big Deal, Big Money:
big deal big money
Collaborations such as these between makers and advocates show how far the media reform field has come in finding ways to connect with audiences who might not otherwise get involved.
Learn more about the Mediacracy event—which generated a lively Twitter conversation—in this Storify.
Thanks to the  The William C. Bullitt Foundation for co-sponsoring this event.