The impact of polarization on American society cannot be overstated. It is increasingly affecting what we do (masks or no masks?), who we listen to (CNN or OANN?), and even how we think (fair or rigged election?). And the division is only deepening. These days, hostility to those with opposite views has reached a level in which hatred motivates voters more than their own beliefs.

How can journalism, and the people who support it, address polarization in America?

This year’s Knight Media Forum examined how local news innovators and their supporters are responding to some of these forces, including the COVID-19 pandemic, the national reckoning over systemic racism, and rampant disinformation that undermines the trust needed for democracy to function. KMF also highlighted business models that are gaining traction, and approaches to audience engagement that are changing local journalism from within.

Media Impact Funders is offered funders a special preview of Knight Foundation’s 2021 Knight Media Forum.

We heard from:

This program was co-sponsored with Philanthropy New York.

Watch the discussion: