The 2022 Media Impact Forum: Stories for Justice, held at the National Geographic Society in Washington, D.C., showcased media and dialogue about the ways in which funders can support storytelling as a powerful lever in the fight for equal justice.

Below, you’ll find recordings of each session, links to resources, and transcripts for each session in chronological order so that you can watch any portion of the day. Also check out our 2022 Media Impact Forum photo album, which captures the excitement and energy of our network!


Resourcing Voices from Around the World

What is authentic storytelling? What are the best examples of effective philanthropic support? This expert panel showcased powerful examples of resourcing and sustaining voices and stories of justice from around the world, raising our awareness of the different approaches philanthropy can pursue to support equal justice.

Relevant resources related to this discussion:

Research Spotlight
The science behind decision making, negotiations and conflict

Julia Minson, Associate Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government and a Civic Science Fellow at the Shorenstein Center, is a decision scientist whose research addresses the “psychology of disagreement”: How do people engage with opinions, judgments and decisions that are different from our own? Julia, a native of Russia, is partnering on an international initiative, mail2RU, to send anti-war messaging and independent news to the people of Russia.

Relevant resources related to this discussion:

  • International initiative to correct disinformation about the Russian invasion of Ukraine:
  • Julia’s presentation on the “psychology of disagreement” at the 2022 Frank gathering

Engaging Affected Communities With “The Territory”

The National Geographic film “The Territory” is a powerful example of engaging communities affected by climate change and stolen land in the media making process.

  • Marianna Olinger, Lead Impact Producer, “The Territory”
  • Alex Pritz, Director, “The Territory”
  • Txai Suruí, Executive Producer, “The Territory” (on screen)

Uncovering Hidden Truths about Facebook

In 2021, former Facebook data scientist Frances Haugen disclosed thousands of internal documents to lawmakers and regulators, sparking allegations that Facebook intentionally placed profit over the public good. After the release of “The Facebook Papers,” Color of Change—the nation’s largest online social justice organization—called for immediate government intervention. This fascinating conversation, moderated by Doris Duke Charitable Foundation President Sam Gill, explored the social consequences of algorithms that push misinformation, disinformation and hate speech.

Relevant resources related to this discussion:

A Brief Update on the Effort to Subsidize Journalism

Steve Waldman, Co-Founder and President of Report for America, and Founder and Chair of the Rebuild Local News Coalition, will share the latest developments on the Local Journalism Sustainability Act, a bill that would provide Americans with a five-year credit of up to $250 annually to subscribe or donate to local news outlets.

Breakout session: Story to drive lasting change: A Look at the Florida Wildlife Corridor

Watch this breakout session for a deep look at how funders can support compelling and well-designed stories that lead to lasting, observable change. Our panel deconstructed Florida’s successful effort to drive publicly funded conservation, and shared four research-based principles that you can bring to your next project.

View the slides from this presentation.


A Focus on Storytelling with the Chicago Community Trust

More community foundations are recognizing the importance of public-interest media as a critical ingredient in building and sustaining healthy communities. Watch this clip for a spotlight on efforts by the Chicago Community Trust to support local journalism and storytelling platforms authentic to and anchored within Chicago’s Black and Latinx communities.

  • Daniel Ash, Associate Vice President of Community Impact, Chicago Community Trust

Below are relevant resources related to this discussion:

Reframing, Reclaiming and Preserving Black Narratives

This rich panel discussion introduced funders to storytellers, curators and archivists who are all working to reshape narratives around the Black experience.

Relevant resources related to this discussion:

Research Spotlight: Media impact research

University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center Managing Director Johanna Blakley will share the organization’s overall approach to media impact research. Norman Lear’s research focuses on understanding the content of media narratives, the audiences who consume them, and their impact on knowledge, attitudes and behavior.

  • Johanna Blakley, Managing Director of the Norman Lear Center

View the slides for this presentation.

Breakout sessions

What Works in Science Journalism? Best Practices for Maximizing Impact
Norman Lear Center Director of Research Erica Rosenthal discussed preliminary findings from a study of “what works” in science journalism, supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Drawing from interviews with journalists and climate communication experts, along with a landscape analysis describing the state of the field of science journalism, she will present 10 emerging best practices for maximizing the impact of science reporting. The goal of this research, which is still ongoing, is to inform future investments in science journalism. Next steps include an analysis of the prevalence of the identified best practices in stories produced through an HHMI-funded climate journalism initiative and the relationships between these best practices and social media reach and engagement.

Overview of The Guardian’s Journalism Impact Toolkit
The Guardian has developed a robust suite of tools to measure impact and gain insights about philanthropically supported journalism. In this presentation, Rachel White—Executive Vice President of Philanthropic & Strategic Partnerships at Guardian News & Media—offered an overview of the Guardian’s impact toolkit, three brief case studies of how impact measurement tools were deployed for specific editorial projects, and brought particular focus to the role of social listening tools.

  • Erica Rosenthal, Director of Research, Norman Lear Center
  • Rachel White, Executive Vice President of Philanthropic & Strategic Partnerships, Guardian News & Media

Stories for Justice: A Multiyear Storytelling Initiative

As storytelling about the criminal justice system surged in recent years, ITVS (the largest funder of independent documentary film for public television) and its Emmy Award-winning PBS documentary series “Independent Lens” built Stories for Justice, a multiyear strategy to spark community conversations and boost the work of those on the front lines of justice reform.

  • Grace Anglin, ITVS Director of Research and Evaluation, A 10+ year veteran of evaluation focused on equity in health and social services
  • Angela Tucker, Producer of “Belly of the Beast”
  • Noland Walker, ITVS VP of Content, co-curator of Independent Lens, executive producer of the forthcoming Stories for Justice docuseries The Dallas Project and member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences 
  • Lolly Bowean, Program Officer, Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation (moderator)

Relevant resources related to this discussion: