The MIF Newsletter

June 2021
Dear friends and colleagues,

I know we're weary and worn from battling the year-and-a-half-long pandemic. COVID-19 has tested us in ways we never thought imaginable, exposing our weaknesses and forcing us to deal with them in isolation. Now, there's another sickness we need to face head-on: Authoritarianism. It's been spreading across America for at least the last four years.

The deadly Capitol attack was not just the result of a violent mob. On Jan. 6, we survived a malicious attempt to undermine American democracy. Because of the last four years of disinformation and lies, millions of Americans truly believe the presidential election was stolen. We’ve come to the unfortunate and stark realization that democracy can die in darkness. 

But media can light the way, and philanthropy can play a significant role in the health of our democracy by supporting the flow of evidence-based media and communications.

That's why, tomorrow, Wednesday, June 16, the final session of our 2021 Media Impact Forum will focus on the critical role that trustworthy news and information can play in support of a healthy democracy. COVID-19 has shown us how fragile public trust is in the information sources that deliver basic information about public health. We need to strengthen that relationship, for democracy's sake.

In this high-level discussion, our expert speakers will demonstrate why it’s important for philanthropy to engage deeply in support of the media ecosystem through journalism, documentaries, public media and more. There is no stronger case for increasing critical support for media and journalism than this unprecedented attempt to undermine our democratic processes.

Please join us for an enlightening conversation exploring democracy and media that highlights the importance of telling stories that celebrate America's unique blend of culture from around the world. This session is free and open to both funders and non-funders.


Nina Sachdev
Communications Director
Media Impact Funders
Register for the Media Impact Forum

Upcoming Events

J-Funders 2021:
The annual journalism funders gathering

Wednesday, Oct. 13 & Thursday, Oct. 14
Philadelphia, PA
We’re excited to announce that our 2021 Journalism Funders Gathering will take place Oct. 13-14 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia. Yes, our goal (and our hope) is that we’ll be able to have face-to-face conversations with some of you. We’ll also have an online component for those who aren’t able to take the trip. Depending on health guidelines, if we decide to cancel the in-person meeting entirely, we’ll all convene remotely as we have been. Meeting logistics aside, we're focusing on the "big questions" facing journalism and the funders who support it.

This year’s agenda will feature plenty of networking and participant-led discussions, as well as curated plenaries and discussions on efforts to build and sustain media equity, new initiatives in the field, innovative funding models, and more. Stay tuned for more details as we continue to shape this program. In the meantime, see what we discussed at our 2020 gathering.
Register now
This is a funders-only event.

Did you miss an event? We record all of our discussions to make it easier for you to stay connected, at a time that's convenient for you.

Watch our events

MIF News

A comprehensive recap of the 2021 Media Impact Forum

The first four sessions of our Media Impact Forum have concluded, and they are available to watch. The sessions are focused on:
  • Ensuring you have the right communications strategy for your audience. Hesitancy isn't a one-size-fits-all issue. People's fears, objections and reservations vary widely based on a number of factors, so understanding your audience is key here.
  • Funder initiatives and collaborations aimed at boosting vaccine confidence
  • The path forward for making the field of science communications more equitable and inclusive
  • Building reporting initiatives that support a healthy planet
Watch these recordings for practical, actionable steps and valuable insights to help you continue this important work.

MIF member spotlight: The Wyncote Foundation

The Wyncote Foundation, based in Philadelphia, was founded in 2009 with funds from the Otto and Phoebe Haas Charitable Trusts, at the direction of John C. Haas. A place-based funder, Wyncote is a strong player in the field of media philanthropy and believes deeply in supporting local communities by lifting up the stories and voices of those who are not usually heard in mainstream media. The foundation also works to inform and inspire other place-based funders. Wyncote recently released a new report, "Culture, Heritage, and Place: How Media Amplifies Community Narratives," which focuses on the work of media organizations across the U.S. dedicated to local and regional cultural expression and connection. MIF and Wyncote co-hosted a discussion this month to engage funders on the topic of supporting media to foster cultural expression and community narratives. Learn more.

MIF receives $10,000 from Craig Newmark Philanthropies to help strengthen the field of media philanthropy

We're thrilled to announce Craig Newmark Philanthropies as a new member of MIF. Founded in 2016 by craigslist founder Craig Newmark, Craig Newmark Philanthropies works to strengthen democracy through supporting trustworthy journalism and the information ecosystem, voter protection, women in technology, and more. With a particular interest in fighting disinformation, Craig Newmark Philanthropies is supporting organizations such as The Markup, a nonprofit newsroom that investigates the influence of Big Tech on society. Learn more.

More MIF members!

We're thrilled to also welcome the Wichita Community Foundation and the Fund for Investigative Journalism as members. See our full member list.

News from the Field

  • A new op-ed in the Columbia Journalism Review makes the case for strengthening democracy by funding public media. "A public media safety net," the authors write, establishes media as a public good, ensuring that institutions are delivering critical news and information to all members of society. Read more. (Also, P.S. This is highly relevant to our Media Impact Forum. Scroll back up to my welcome note above.) 
  • NIHCM Foundation is now accepting letters of inquiry for the 2021-2022 funding cycle for its health care journalism grant program. Grants provide funding for health reporting, educational opportunities for health care reporters, or support for documentary films and their public engagement campaigns. Two-page proposals are accepted until July 12. Learn more and apply.
  • The Dart Centre Europe has released a new set of guidelines for reporting on sexual violence in conflict. Few journalistic challenges carry a greater weight of responsibility than interviewing survivors of sexual violence that occur in conflict. When rape is used in war, it has a devastating impact on individuals and their communities. Responsible journalism can bring attention and insight to crimes that people have difficulty finding adequate words for. Careless reporting, however, can make things worse by adding to distress and exposing survivors to further danger. Read more.
  • Congratulations are in order for our friend Jenny Choi, who is now serving as director of programs for the Media Democracy Fund. Previously, she was director of equity initiatives at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalist (CUNY). Read more.
  • Local news had a pretty bad day when Alden Capital's acquisition of the Tribune Publishing Company was approved by shareholders last month. The Alden playbook is well-documented: aggressive cost-cutting at the expense of communities and the information they need to function. But there's a bright spot in a different part of the country: A new nonprofit, the National Trust for Local News (NTLN), has partnered with the Colorado Sun to purchase 24 community newspapers in an effort to preserve local news in Colorado. NTLN is a fiscally sponsored project of the Lenfest Institute and funded by Knight Foundation and Google News Initiative. This innovative partnership represents the latest effort to protect journalism from private equity or hedge funds. Read more.
  • A new public information platform, Missing Perspectives, is focused on promoting the voices of women and girls around the world. The project was created in response to a report commissioned by the Gates Foundation, "The Missing Perspectives of Women in News," which highlights the continued marginalization of women in news coverage. Learn more.
  • Netflix is launching a Spanish-language series called "Somos.," which was inspired by a ProPublica investigation into the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency's role in triggering a massacre in Mexico in 2011. Learn more.
  • Borealis Philanthropy's Racial Equity in Journalism Fund has introduced its second cohort of grantees, awarding $3.6 million to 28 news organizations serving communities of color. Borealis announced the pooled fund at an MIF networking event back in 2019. Learn more about the fund.
  • Next Monday, June 21, Climate Central will launch Realtime Climate, a new, free system of localized climate alerts, Realtime Climate provides timely, personalized alerts when climate connections can be made to unusual weather events or newsworthy happenings in a community. Climate Central developed Realtime Climate to help media and other climate communicators meet their audience's desire for more coverage of local climate impacts and solutions. Learn more. 
Copyright © 2021 Media Impact Funders, All rights reserved.

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