The 2023 Media Impact Forum: Stories of Community served as an important reminder of the robust network of funders, storytellers, journalists, and others who understand the importance of media for healthy communities. Held at KQED headquarters in San Francisco, the Media Impact Forum focused on uplifting voices from the news outlets and media organizations that are deeply rooted in community. Uniquely positioned to reflect local concerns and surface appropriate solutions, media that’s created in and reflective of the communities it serves plays a vital role in our information ecosystem, providing the means for cultural expression, discussion, and debate.

Below, you’ll find recordings of each session in chronological order so that you can watch any portion of the day. The Forum featured three main blocks of programming, the first of which focused on journalism. The second explored narrative storytelling and podcasting, and the third focused on documentary film.

Before each programming block, we showcased the work of one of our members, Catchlight, a media organization that’s focused on the intersection of visual storytelling and social impact. When we talk about stories of community, we have to acknowledge that photographers and visual storytellers can’t tell a story from their computer. They have to go to the story. They have to go to communities, win the trust of people who might not have any reason to trust them, and then they have to be able to show us the story in a way that makes us hungry for more. This work has taken on new urgency as disinformation continues to flood our digital spaces. Take a look at some of their work below.

Check out our 2023 Media Impact Forum photo album, which captures the excitement and energy of our network! See what some in the network had to say—head on over to our event hashtag, #MIForum.


Welcome/Opening Remarks
  • Liz Carter, President and CEO, Scripps Howard Foundation; Media Impact Funders Board Member
  • Nina Sachdev, Director of Communications, Media Impact Funders

Spotlight on Catchlight

Lifting up Community Voices

California is a state rich with diverse media outlets and voices. In our opening panel, we highlighted different approaches to community-centered media, its impact, and how to advance local journalism using several community models.

  • Michael Yamashita, Publisher, Bay Area Reporter
  • Paulette Brown-Hinds, Publisher of Black Voice News; John S. Knight Journalism Senior Fellow at Stanford University; and board member of the American Press Institute, The James Irvine Foundation and Inland Empire Community Foundation
  • Tasneem Raja, Editor-in-Chief, The Oaklandside
  • Moderated by Alexis Madrigal, co-host of KQED’s, “Forum”

An Interview with John Palfrey, President, John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation

KQED’s Alexis Madrigal interviewed John Palfrey, president of the MacArthur Foundation, one of the most influential funders of media and journalism. We hears about Press Forward, a new initiative aimed at stimulating large-scale philanthropic support for journalism.

University-Supported Journalism: Engines of Innovation and Proving Grounds for Service

Journalism fellowships empower leaders to reimagine and transform journalism. We’ll hear about the innovative work from two John S. Knight Journalism Fellows, and then highlights from California’s state funding of local journalism through UC Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism—the largest allocation of state funding to date to support local news.

  • Geeta Anand, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author; Dean and Professor, UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism
  • Katherine Ann Rowlands, President, Bay City News; former John S. Knight Journalism Fellow
  • Elodie Mailliet-Storm, Executive Director, CatchLight; former John S. Knight Journalism Fellow
  • Moderated by Alexis Madrigal, co-host of KQED’s, “Forum”

“Circle Way”: A Book That Draws on Generations of Bay Area Stories & Contributes to the Future of Journalism

Writer and media consultant Eric Newton talked about how thinking ahead matters in life and in philanthropy. He told the story of “Circle Way,” the book he finished for his late wife— journalist and writing teacher Mary Ann Hogan— about her father, longtime San Francisco Chronicle book editor William Hogan.

Now It’s Time for a TechTok (Get It?)

Throughout the day, we heard short talks from experts working at the intersection of media and tech. First up was Deepti Doshi, Co-Director of New_Public, who talked about the need for new business models to create the right incentive structures to build healthy social networks.

Stories of Global Migration Through Music: A Performance by Meklit

A performance by Meklit and short discussion about her podcast, “Movement,” a transmedia storytelling initiative that lives at the intersection of migration and music. “Movement” uplifts narratives working to change the conversation around migration.

Spotlight on Catchlight

The Power of Podcasting & the Conversations that Create Community

We heard about two compelling podcasts.

“Ear Hustle” is the Pulitzer Prize-nominated PRX podcast that shares stories about the daily realities of life inside and after prison, shared by those living it.

  • Nigel Poor, Co-Founder, “Ear Hustle”
  • Earlonne Woods, Co-Founder, “Ear Hustle”

“After Ayotzinapa” is a podcast from Reveal at the Center for Investigative Reporting and PRX with the National Security Archive that investigates and exposes corruption at the highest levels and makes unsettling connections to America’s war on drugs.

  • Anayansi Diaz-Cortes, Senior Reporter and Producer, Reveal, Center for Investigative Reporting

Now It’s Time for Another TechTok

Meg Garlinghouse, Vice President of Social Impact at LinkedIn, discussed how more and more journalists are turning to LinkedIn to extend the footprint of their coverage and connect directly with their audiences. Meg shared top tips and best practices for how journalists can make the most of LinkedIn, including ways to amplify their stories, connect with sources, and grow their following.

The Urgency in Shifting Narratives on Homelessness and Poverty

This two-part plenary session focused on efforts to shift harmful narratives on poverty and homelessness.

In the first session, Grant Oliphant, Chief Executive Officer of the Conrad Prebys Foundation, engaged Mark Horvath, founder of multimedia storytelling and news publisher platform Invisible People, and Marisol Bello, executive director of the Housing Narrative Lab, a communications and narrative research hub, in a thoughtful dialogue about what we think we know about homelessness, and how to find—and resource—solutions.

In the second session, we explored the unique perspective that Devon Gray and EPIC bring to the poverty advocacy space—that narrative change, power-building, and policy change are inseparable. We discussed EPIC’s partnership with Emmy- and Sundance-winning filmmaker Jacob Kornbluth to capture the lived experiences of people in poverty and bring their voices and ideas to Sacramento, across California, and across the nation. Finally, we looked at the partnership in the context of a narrative change campaign—with their short documentary “The People and the Power” (working title), and dozens of short videos—as the primary assets. Tactics include screenings across the state with directly-impacted communities, a curriculum guide for teachers, sharing content with influencers, and more.

The Final TechTok

Marc Hand, CEO and Founder of Public Media Venture Group explained the next generation broadcasting landscape. NextGen TV is a transformational new television distribution platform that moves from traditional broadcasting to an IP data delivery platform. This will enable public television stations to significantly expand their capacity to deliver content, offer distinct content delivered to neighborhoods, diverse language groups and other unique streams, and will enable public TV to use part of its spectrum to generate new sources of revenue with data distribution and other commercial uses of their television spectrum. We learned how this can significantly change the role that local public television stations can play in serving their communities.

Spotlight on Catchlight

Reimagining the Documentary Landscape with Color Congress

Color Congress shared notes on its People of Color documentary ecosystem building, breaking down their approach, and why they believe this is power-building work that will strengthen the documentary field—and ultimately, society.

  • Sahar Driver, Founding Co-Director, Color Congress

Rooted in Community, Leading Important Ventures in Filmmaking

In our final plenary, Carrie Lozano, Sundance Institute’s Director of Documentary Film and Artist Program, and award-winning filmmaker Pete Nicks—two of the most dynamic players in the documentary film field—united for a sweeping conversation about the state of the field and Nicks’ filmography, which includes his three-part film project exploring public institutions in the city of Oakland.

  • Carrie Lozano, Sundance Institute’s Director of Documentary Film and Artist Program
  • Pete Nicks, Emmy Award-winning cinematographer, producer and director
  • Moderated by Chi-hui Yang, Senior Program Officer, Ford Foundation’s JustFilms initiative
About the Author
Media Impact Funders

Media Impact Funders

Contact us

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.