The MIF Newsletter

August 2020

MIF to focus on evidence-based communications this year

Coming off of a year focusing intently on philanthropy's efforts to support media that addresses climate and the environment, we are announcing a new but related program emphasis: philanthropy's role in supporting science and health. Specifically, the need for evidence-based communications and media focused on public health awareness and education has never been more critical. 

Support for our next phase of work comes in part from the Rita Allen Foundation to help expand the knowledge and capacity of funders supporting evidence-based communication. Media Impact Funders will engage a growing network of funders interested in questions about evidence-based communication. That doesn't mean we will no longer pursue programming around questions of impact or issues not related to science or health; we understand that funders support media to achieve a variety of goals, and we remain committed to listening to the field.

Questions? Let us know.
Contact us

Upcoming Events

Media equity and American politics: Best practices from community-centered journalism
Sept. 23 | Noon-1 p.m. ET

In July, the Ford Foundation published Reconstructing American News, which sums up lessons gleaned from two years of research into what it takes to support innovation for news equity.

Commissioned by the foundation’s journalism program officer, Farai Chideya, and co-authored by Dot Connector Studio’s Katie Donnelly and Jessica Clark, the report explores innovation by newsrooms led by women, people of color and other marginalized media makers, who are often shut out of funding and investment for journalism, and must battle bias in order to get important stories told. Despite that, such outlets have still been innovating in the face of a pandemic and what looks to be the most tumultuous election of our lifetimes.

Join us for a discussion about the report’s key takeaways—and hear from several nonprofit news leaders who are inventing new ways to engage their communities while covering American politics. 

We’ll hear from:

  • Farai Chideya, Program Officer, Creativity and Free Expression, Ford Foundation
  • Jessica Clark, Founder and Executive Director, Dot Connector Studio
  • Jon Funabiki, Executive Director, Renaissance Journalism
  • Mazin Sidahmed, Co-founding Editor/Senior Reporter, Documented
  • Andres Torres, (moderator) Program Officer, Robert R. McCormick Foundation
Register now
JFunders: The 2020 Annual
Journalism Funders Gathering

October 6-7 | Noon-5 p.m. ET
JFunders, our annual gathering of journalism funders, provides an important opportunity to strengthen connections and discuss new ideas and collaborations. In an effort to expand and strengthen the field, MIF is committed to giving funders the time and space to discuss the most pressing issues facing journalism today. We hope you'll join us for these two days of online programming, which will feature plenary discussions on equity in journalism, breakout discussions that will allow for ample networking time, and more.

Are you a potential first-timer? Learn more about our Journalism Funders Network here.

Please note: This is a funder-only meeting. We are still working to develop an online format for this program and will be sharing the agenda soon.

Register now

MIF News

Grant announcement
We've received a $300,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to expand our work with the Journalism Funders Network. If that does not signal the importance of sparking more philanthropic investment of the fourth estate, we don't know what does. Read more.

We have the latest data and trends on environmental media grantmaking. Want it? It's free.
Environmental media grantmaking is one of the most active areas of media philanthropy right now. Our latest report, "Environmental Media Grantmaking: How Funders Are Tipping the Scales Toward Change," highlights examples of innovative projects, and features key insights from funders and media makers in the field. We discussed findings from the report and heard from many of the essay authors as part of our 2020 Media Impact Forum focusing on philanthropy, media and the environment. Read the report.

A warm welcome to our new members
We're pleased to welcome Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Overdeck Family Foundation, the Alan Alda Center for Communicating Science, the Steinman Foundation, and the Far Star Action Fund to our growing list of funders who support media in the public interest. See our full list of members.

The latest on our media impact assessment work
  • Earlier this month, we held a funder-only discussion in partnership with the Perspective Fund to explore the latest developments in impact production, and what funders can do to support rebuilding this critical component of the media impact ecosystem. As we wrote about in our impact newsletter, Tracking Media Impact, the role of the impact producer is critical to the long-term success of a film whose goal is to catalyze social change. But most impact producers work from project to project, are not employed full-time, and may lack access to affordable health insurance. Their work depends largely on face-to-face engagements, such as community screenings, which are no longer possible amid COVID-19. Read more.
  • In this month's Tracking Media Impact (TMI), we explored how current evaluation frameworks and practices perpetuate inequity. As we discovered in our interview with the folks at the Equitable Evaluation Initiative, embedding equity in evaluation is not as simple as checking items off a list, nor is there a single solution. Read more.
  • To further explore these and other issues related to media impact and assessment, MIF is forming a working group of funders who want to strengthen the field of practice. Are you interested in learning more? Contact us.
COVID-19 funding resources tracker
Journalism funders around the country and the world are responding to the COVID-19 crisis with a variety of funding initiatives aimed at sustaining critical public interest information needs. MIF is tracking these funding resources and will continue updating the list as more resources become available. See the list of COVID-19 funding resources.

Smooth operations
We're pleased to announce a promotion for Marie Porter, who was hired as MIF's office manager in 2019. Now, as our new operations manager, Marie is making sure we are implementing and executing all the right processes and practices to keep our organization moving along in a virtual setting. (And she no longer has to keep our lonely little office stocked with coffee.) Congratulations, Marie! Learn more about our staff.

News from the Field

  • The Double Exposure Film Festival returns this Oct. 14-18 with a virtual festival that connects, strengthens and uplifts the investigative journalism and film communities in unprecedented times. With five days, a dozen new investigative films, over 30 panels, workshops and master classes, expect a deep dive with experts on safety and security in the field, interrogations into race and power, fundraising in the age of COVID-19, fact-checking, verifying and incorporating citizen-generated content and more. For more information and to reserve your pass, visit Get 10% off your pass using code DXIMPACT. 
  • Reconstructing American News, conducted on behalf of the Ford Foundation by Dot Connector Studio (longtime consultants of MIF), is a report released earlier this month that outlines what funders and newsroom leaders can do to create a more inclusive and sustainable media industry. The analysis investigates overlapping topics of equity in news, changing journalism business models in a period of rapid disruption, and responsive philanthropic strategies to address the many intersecting problems that currently exist in the industry. Learn more.
  • Starting today through Sept. 15, the LOR Foundation is awarding micro grants to help with U.S. Census efforts in rural parts of the Mountain West. These $1,000 Instagrants are available to nonprofits working to ensure a complete count in rural parts of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and New Mexico. Learn more.
  • New Media Ventures has announced 19 finalists for its 2020 Groups to Watch. There's some really interesting work represented here. For example, Climate Cabinet provides targeted data, messaging, and policy solutions for every district in the United States—empowering activists, political campaigns, and policymakers to solve the climate crisis. Tila Studios, a visual arts incubator that empowers black female visual artists to create and showcase their art to increase representation in museum and gallery spaces because only 4 percent of art in galleries and museums across the United States are from black women artists. Learn more.
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