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The 2021 Media Impact Forum
Session 3 is Wednesday, April 21
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Podcasting for all

Podcasting is on the rise. Over 700,000 podcasts are available in iTunes with an estimated 90 million monthly listeners globally. No single entity controls podcasts, which means they are an accessible, decentralized, and democratized way to create content. Today, on-demand audio has dramatically transformed the way important stories and unheard voices reach us.

Listen up, grantmakers: Radio is a hot way to advance knowledge and culture

With the sharp rise of social media and the rapid collapse of so many daily newspapers in recent years, it would be easy to assume that radio is another traditional media format in decline. As more and more young listeners turn to music streaming services like Spotify and Pandora, predictions of broadcast radio’s imminent demise […]

As press freedom declines, philanthropy must address the safety, security of journalists around the world

Media philanthropy is a growing force on the global stage, with foundation support increasing significantly in recent years, more than doubling from $915 million in 2009 to $1.9 billion in 2015, the last year for which complete figures were available. Altogether, media grants amounted to about $9.9 billion in that span, according to a new […]

Why U.S. foundations should care about global media funding trends

Parachuting in is out. That’s one key takeaway from a new report from Media Impact Funders that we’re excited to release this week: Global Media Philanthropy: What Funders Need to Know About Data, Trends and Pressing Issues Facing the Field. Produced with support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, this scan of global media philanthropy […]

Corporate and political power diminishes quality journalism in India

With nearly 400 television news channels, an expanding newspaper market driven by regional languages, and the second highest number of internet users in the world, journalism in India can appear vibrant and thriving. But amidst the din of breaking news alerts, voices of critique and quality independent journalism grow fainter in the face of aggressive […]

Philanthropy’s blind spot is investing in our sector’s media

“Even the best-designed communication strategy will fail if there is no public platform from which to amplify campaigns.” (Oak Foundation, 2017 annual review) Late last year, Alliance magazine devoted a whole issue to the growing involvement of philanthropy and the media. Almost all contributors agreed that more funding of media—from investigative journalism to new technologies […]

The old is new again: Public service media in the funding agenda

The most trusted news sources? The providers of children’s educational programming? The curators, funders, and distributors of national cultural products? The safeguards of minority voices? The answer: Public service broadcasters. The list may seem idealistic, but applies at least partly to many national and publicly funded media organizations.

For funders working inside of hostile nations, sometimes the only solution is to leave

When the board of the Open Society Foundations (OSF) decided in spring 2018 to close its operation in Hungary, many local activists and NGOs were outraged, asserting that the charity— endowed by philanthropist George Soros—should stay and fight the populist, immigrant-bashing government of prime minister Viktor Orban. OSF’s decision to leave was prompted by the […]

A holistic approach to operational and digital security

A shrinking civic space and advanced technological means of attacking, surveilling, and silencing critics should concern all those who support civil society and other development objectives, and especially those who work with independent, investigative and community news organizations. According to Reporters without Borders’ 2018 report, “The climate of hatred is steadily more visible… The line […]

Lessons from citizen journalism—the promise of citizen philanthropy

More than a decade ago, a set of smart technologists predicted that social change would spring directly from the crowd, rather than managed by formal organizations controlling what gets done and by whom. How right they were. Today, technology is giving people access to systems and institutions that allow them to connect, communicate, and engage […]

Funding media freedom and digital rights: Taking a demand-driven approach to facilitate coordination and collaboration

Over the past decade, the challenges facing media funders have expanded at an alarming pace. It has now become hackneyed to note the vast changes wrought by the rapid global proliferation of the internet and communication technologies: from the crisis of disinformation and misinformation to decreased readership of traditional news providers to the Orwellian-seeming surveillance […]

Coalition-building as an approach to media development

If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the last two decades of international development, it’s that politics matter, yet this lesson has not been fully assimilated into the media assistance sector. In governance, health, education, and nearly every other area, there is a growing recognition that durable solutions to the world’s problems need to get […]