This is where you’ll find recaps of each our five 2021 Media Impact Forum sessions. This year’s Media Impact Forum is focusing on evidence-based communications through one online discussion a month from February to June. The recorded sessions appear in chronological order below.


Date: Wednesday, Feb. 17 | 1-2:30 p.m. ET
Session 1: Addressing vaccine hesitancy

Billions of dollars were invested in developing COVID-19 vaccines, but they won’t protect us until they are broadly accepted and taken. We need a widespread public communications that is rooted in science to build confidence in the vaccine.

This fall, the Center for Public Interest Communications at the University of Florida collaborated with 16 scholars from the disciplines of behavioral economics, social psychology, medical anthropology, political communication, and neuroscience with funding from the United Nations Verified initiative. They developed a research-driven communication framework for decreasing vaccine hesitancy, and their eight-part framework offers guidelines for creating an effective communications strategy. We’ll explore the framework in depth during this session.

Then, we’ll break out into two concurrent sessions:

  • FOR ALL FUNDERS: Funders will explore the essential role philanthropy can play in testing and promoting effective communications about the necessity of the COVID-19 vaccine by investing in strategies that translate this research into meaningful, actionable and trustworthy messages targeted to specific communities.
  • FOR JOURNALISM FUNDERS: In this breakout, we’ll reframe the insights in a way that offers value to news organizations that are covering the vaccine rollout. (This session will be facilitated by Joy Mayer, Director, Trusting News; and Matt Sheehan, Managing Director, Center for Public Interest Communications; Senior Lecturer, Journalism, University of Florida)


  • Ann Christiano, founder and Director of the Center for Public Interest Communications, University of Florida
  • Jack J. Barry, Post-Doctoral Research Associate at the Center for Public Interest Communications, University of Florida
  • Joy Mayer, Director, Trusting News
  • Matt Sheehan, Managing Director of the Center for Public Interest Communications
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Media Impact Funders

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Media Impact Funders traces its roots back to the Council on Foundations, a longtime philanthropy-serving organization. Formerly Grantmakers in Film, Video & Television, MIF began on a volunteer basis in 1984 as an affinity group for funders interested in the power of film to highlight social issues. Reflecting changes in technology and media behavior over the past decade, it was renamed Grantmakers in Film & Electronic Media (GFEM) and formally incorporated in 2008 to advance the field of media arts and public interest media funding. It had 45 members and was headed by former MacArthur Foundation Program Officer Alyce Myatt. GFEM was renamed Media Impact Funders in 2012 and has since expanded its strategy to include a broad range media funding interests such as journalism, immersive technologies, media policy and more. Since that time, MIF has grown to more than 80 organizational members representing some of the largest foundations, and holds more than 40 in-person and online events yearly.