9:05 a.m.—Journey into the Future of Journalism with the Voices of Next-Gen Innovators 

In our opening plenary, we’ll hear from the voices propelling us into the future of journalism. Guided by Kai Wright, the esteemed journalist and host of WNYC Studios national live radio program and podcast Notes from America with Kai Wright, we’ll hear from a few bright minds from several journalism schools—an undergraduate, a graduate student, and a journalism fellow—each poised to share their unique insights and visions.

  • Jin Ding, Alumna of the Executive Program in News Innovation and Leadership at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism; CEO, Initium Media
  • Lotoya Francis, Graduate student, Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism 
  • Lawrence Ukenye, Labor and Employment Reporter, Politico
  • Kai Wright, Host & Managing Editor, Notes from America with Kai Wright (moderator)

9:35 a.m.—Fuel Your Optimism with David Byrne’s Reasons to be Cheerful 

Prepare to be uplifted as David Boardman, Dean of the Lew Klein College of Media and Communications at Temple University, sits down for an engaging chat with none other than David Byrne, the visionary founder of Reasons to be Cheerful and frontman of the Talking Heads. Dive into the heart of this nonprofit online magazine in which healthy optimism meets journalistic integrity in a symphony of hopeful narratives. From groundbreaking stories to infectious positivity, join us for an enlightening conversation that will leave you inspired and ready to see the world through a brighter lens.


  • David Boardman, Dean of the Lew Klein College of Media and Communications, Temple University 
  • David Byrne, Founder, Reasons to be Cheerful 

9:55 a.m.—Beyond the Headlines: The Power of Localized Criminal Justice Reporting 

Kai Wright will lead a discussion exploring criminal justice reporting and the power of local stories to drive national change.  We’ll hear from Carroll Bogert, President of the Marshall Project, and Liz Simons, Board Chair of both the Marshall Project and the Heising-Simons Foundation. Together with Tony Richardson, representing The George Gund Foundation, they’ll illuminate the Marshall Project’s powerful mission, groundbreaking impact, and its strategic shift towards local storytelling.


  • Carroll Bogert, President, The Marshall Project
  • Tony Richardson, President, The George Gund Foundation
  • Liz Simons, Board chair of Heising-Simons Foundation and The Marshall Project
  • Kai Wright, Host & Managing Editor, Notes from America with Kai Wright (moderator)

Networking Break—10:30-11 a.m.

Enjoy some open time to chat with colleagues, catch up on email, or just take a minute for yourself and grab a snack.


11 a.m.—A Dynamic Roundtable with Academic Thinkers 

Led by Kevin Corcoran, Strategy Director of the Lumina Foundation, this session promises an open and stimulating exchange of ideas around the evolving landscape of journalism education and strategies for nurturing the next generation of media trailblazers. 


  • Kevin Corcoran, Strategy Director, Lumina Foundation 
  • Graciela Mochkofsky, Dean, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY  
  • David Boardman, Dean of the Lew Klein College of Media and Communication, Temple University 
  • Yvette Miley, Executive Vice President of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, NBCU News Group

11 a.m.—Reporting from Conflict Zones: Ensuring Journalists’ Safety During the War in Gaza 

In this breakout session, we’ll navigate the complex landscape of journalism amidst the ongoing conflict in Gaza. Delve into the unique challenges faced by journalists on the frontlines and uncover the critical support systems they need to continue their essential work. From navigating dangerous situations to securing adequate resources, we’ll explore the multifaceted aspects of safeguarding journalists in high-risk environments. This session offers a platform to discuss actionable strategies for funders and stakeholders to bolster the safety and well-being of journalists and preserving press freedom and truth in conflict zones. 


  • Amna Nawaz, co-anchor, PBS NewsHour, moderator
  • Elisa Lees Muñoz, Executive Director, International Women’s Media Foundation
  • Jodie Ginsberg, CEO, Committee to Protect Journalists

NETWORKING LUNCH—11:45-12:45 p.m.

Grab a bite to eat and connect with the friends and colleagues on the 7th Floor.


1:15 p.m.—Confronting Lincoln Center’s Past with Stanley Nelson’s Latest Film, “San Juan Hill: Manhattan’s Lost Neighborhood”

Award-winning filmmaker Stanley Nelson is bringing a forgotten piece of Manhattan’s history to light with his new film, “San Juan Hill: Manhattan’s Lost Neighborhood.” “San Juan Hill,” commissioned by Lincoln Center, explores the story of Lincoln Square, a once-thriving and diverse neighborhood that fell victim to urban renewal in the late 1950s. This controversial project razed San Juan Hill to make way for the very Lincoln Center that stands today. In conversation with Chi-hui Yang, Director of the Creativity and Free Expression team at the Ford Foundation, Nelson will share the impact of this lost neighborhood and the complex relationship between urban development and cultural preservation.


  • Stanley Nelson, filmmaker, “San Juan Hill: Manhattan’s Forgotten Neighborhood”
  • Chi-hui Yang, Director of the Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation

1:45 p.m.—Empowering Change: Unveiling the Secrets of “New Power” with Lincoln Center President and CEO Henry Timms

Imagine a world where influence is not just wielded by the few, but by the many. In “New Power,” authors Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms paint a vibrant picture of a new era in which traditional structures are being upended by the power of communities. From viral memes to grassroots movements, Heimans and Timms explore how connected communities are driving change like never before. In this conversation led by Hillary Pennington, Executive Vice President of Programs at the Ford Foundation, Timms will discuss the emergence of autosapient AI systems—which possess autonomous capabilities—and the impact of these systems on power dynamics in our society. Timms argues that these AI systems are reshaping how information flows, how expertise is valued, how value is created, and emphasizes the need for leaders to develop new skills and approaches to navigate this evolving landscape.


  • Hilary Pennington, Executive Vice President of Programs, Ford Foundation (moderator)
  • Henry Timms, President and CEO, Lincoln Center

2:10 p.m.—The Climate Catalyst: Ayana Elizabeth Johnson on Sparking Climate Action through Media Philanthropy 

Imagine a future where we not only solved the climate crisis, but emerged with a healthier planet and stronger communities. That’s the world leading climate expert Ayana Elizabeth Johnson explores in her new book, “What If We Get It Right?” Johnson, a marine biologist and co-founder of transformative initiatives including Urban Ocean Lab, The All We Can Save Project, and How to Save a Planet, uses science, stories, and art to paint a picture of a hopeful future we can create together. It’s a call to action that’s both inspiring and practical, urging us to see our role in building a better tomorrow. In this dynamic interview with Ayana and Kaitlin Yarnall, National Geographic’s Chief Storytelling Officer, we’ll explore Ayana’s role as a climate catalyst and her blueprint for shaping narratives around climate action.


  • Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, Co-Founder, Urban Ocean Lab
  • Kaitlin Yarnall, Chief Storytelling Officer, National Geographic Society (moderator)

Networking Break—2:30-3 p.m.

Enjoy some open time to chat with colleagues, catch up on email, or just take a minute for yourself and grab a snack.


3 p.m.—Breaking Barriers: Media Strategies for Prison Rehabilitation & Empowerment 

This session will explore the transformative power of media in reshaping the landscape of prison reform. We’ll look at a few innovative initiatives that are not just redefining rehabilitation; they’re fostering empathy, understanding, and positive change within the correctional system: 

  • The Information Equity Initiative (IEI) is breaking down barriers to information within correctional facilities by revolutionizing the way incarcerated individuals access knowledge and resources. IEI addresses critical aspects of well-being and re-entry readiness by allowing local educators and mental health professionals to curate digital content for individuals and classrooms via “datacasting” on PBS television spectrum. This highly scalable effort satisfies the safety concerns of wardens and Departments of Corrections, and ensures that incarcerated individuals can benefit from these critical resources, even though they do not have access to the internet.
  • The Prison Journalism Project is a groundbreaking initiative focused on empowering incarcerated individuals with the skills and platform to become journalists. Through comprehensive training programs conducted within correctional facilities, the project equips inmates with the tools and knowledge needed to report on their own experiences and those of their peers, and aims to shed light on the realities of life behind bars and advocate for meaningful reform within the criminal justice system. 
  • “Daughters,” a feature documentary that chronicles the lives of young girls impacted by their fathers’ absence due to mass incarceration. With in-person visitation systematically halted since 2014, families are left to navigate costly video calls, creating barriers to staying connected. Co-Director Angela Patton provides unique access to incarcerated fathers participating in the Date With Dad program, offering fatherhood coaching and essential life skills. Counteracting systemic practices, the program aims to strengthen familial bonds and facilitate successful reintegration into communities post-release. 


  • Erik Langner, CEO, Information Equity Initiative
  • Yukari Kane, Co-founder & CEO, Prison Journalism Project
  • Angela Patton, Co-Director, “Daughters”; CEO, Girls for a Change
  • Tony Richardson, President, the George Gund Foundation (moderator)

3 p.m.—Building Bridges: Israel-Palestine Dialogue in the Age of New Power

The Israeli-Palestinian conflict, a seemingly intractable web of territorial disputes and geopolitical tensions, might seem an unlikely place to find common ground. Yet, hope flickers in the form of a recent TED Talk conversation between Palestinian peace activist Ali Abu Awwad and Israeli social entrepreneur Ami Dar. Their dialogue explores the essential ingredients for constructing a future where both identities can coexist harmoniously. But the discussion goes beyond the specificities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It sheds light on a broader phenomenon: the rise of “New Power.”  Gone are the days when change could only be driven by traditional hierarchies. Today, individuals like Abu Awwad and Dar wield the power to spark meaningful discussions, bypassing the limitations of established structures. Social media and media platforms such as TED serve as a megaphone for these voices, amplifying their message and extending their reach to a global audience. Join us for this thought-provoking session and see how social media and platforms such as TED empower individuals to bridge divides and work toward a more peaceful future, not just in Israel and Palestine, but across the globe.


  • Ali Abu Awwad, world-recognized Palestinian Activist & founding leader of the Taghyeer (Change) Palestinian National Nonviolence Movement
  • Ami Dar, Executive Director,
  • Amna Nawaz, co-anchor, PBS NewsHour, moderator 

4 p.m.—Documenting Silence: Capturing the Legacy of Japanese American Incarceration and Intergenerational Healing

Through evocative portraits and heartfelt testimonies, documentary photographer Haruka Sakaguchi explores the enduring impact of the incarceration of Japanese Americans in remote camps across the US during World War II, with a focus on the intergenerational trauma passed down through generations. Through Sakaguchi’s lens, we witness the healing potential of bearing witness to untold histories, offering a window into the human spirit’s capacity to endure and overcome.


  • Haruka Sakaguchi, documentary photographer

4:20 p.m.—Musical Interlude Featuring Silkroad

Imagine a world in which music transcends borders, weaving a tapestry of cultures instead of division. This was the vision of Yo-Yo Ma when he created the Silkroad Ensemble in 1998. Inspired by the ancient Silk Road trade route, Ma assembled a unique group of musicians, each from a different region along this historic pathway. Their mission: to create a new musical language—forged from a beautiful blend of traditions and innovation—as a model for cultural collaboration. Today, under the leadership of Artistic Director Rhiannon Giddens, Silkroad creates music that engages difference, sparking radical cultural collaboration and passion-driven learning for a more hopeful and inclusive world.

In this interlude, we’ll hear a short piece from Silkroad and witness the unifying power of music.

4:30 p.m.Leap of Faith: Bridging Divides Through Shared Values 

Nicholas Ma, renowned writer, director, and producer, will share details about his upcoming documentary, Leap of Faith. This compelling film takes viewers on a transformative ride alongside 12 Christian pastors from diverse backgrounds. Together, they confront personal contradictions and societal divisions within their faith, exploring the power of shared values to foster unity in the face of adversity. In conversation with Kristen Cambell, Executive Director of PACE, Ma will explain the documentary’s purpose and the profound impact of embracing common ground to bridge divides.


  • Nicholas Ma, Director, Leap of Faith
  • Kristen Cambell, Executive Director, PACE 

4:50 p.m.—Musical Interlude Featuring Silkroad

We’ll hear another short piece from Silkroad Ensemble.

5:05 p.m.—Cocktail Reception

Join us for drinks and snacks from 5-6 p.m.

We can’t wait to see you tomorrow for a day of funder discussions!

May 22 Agenda

Day 2 of the Media Impact Forum is focused on facilitated funder-only discussions. Funders will be able to choose from one of three discussion tracks: climate media; journalism; and international journalism. When registering, you must choose the track you’re interested in attending.