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August 2022
SPECIAL EVENT SPOTLIGHT

Join us Oct. 18-19 in Philadelphia
to celebrate 20 years of journalism funders in community

We’ve come a long way since 2002, when a handful of journalism funders got together to compare notes about the most pressing issues facing journalism and how funders could address them. These days, our vibrant Journalism Funders Network represents more than 80 foundations of varying sizes and grantmaking priorities.

This October, journalism funders will convene at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to discuss the current state of local news and some of the most consequential collaborations, projects, and approaches that funders are supporting to strengthen information ecosystems across the United States and around the globe.


OUR TWO-DAY PROGRAM WILL FEATURE:
  • A special musical opening with pianist Michelle Cann, a champion of the music of classical composer Florence Price.
     
  • Nancy Gibbs, Director of the Shorenstein Center and Edward R. Murrow Professor of the Practice of Press, Politics, and Public Policy, will serve as our emcee for the first part of the day on Oct. 18 moderating discussions on the origin story of journalism funders in community and lessons learned along the way; an overview on the latest comprehensive research on the state of local news; and how the challenges facing the decline of local news are being addressed by investments in public media, venture philanthropy and more. 
     
  • Irving Washington, outgoing CEO of ONA and member of the Board of Directors at the American Journalism Project, will share his perspective on efforts by philanthropy to build and sustain local news over the years.
     
  • Concurrent sessions on lessons learned from 20 years of journalism grantmaking, science and health misinformation, and more.
     
  • An update on the latest news from Steve Waldman about the Rebuild News Coalition, which advocates for public policies that sustain local news systems in communities.
     
  • Discussions about the shifting power balance in media philanthropy between funders and grantees and connections between journalism and democracy, moderated by Errin Haines, editor-at-large at The 19th.
     
  • Flash talks about a few consequential news verticals, including abortion, gun violence, and criminal justice, and how and why funders would support deep news verticals to maximize impact.
     
  • The Baltimore Banner, the online news startup financed by Stewart W. Bainum Jr., is taking on the challenge of filling information gaps in Baltimore, where the paper of record there—The Baltimore Sun—is now owned by hedge fund firm Alden Global Capitol. Banner Publisher and CEO Imtiaz Patel will talk about approaches to ensuring the startup's sustainability beyond Bainum's initial investment, and strategies to produce inclusive coverage, including a public media partnership with WYPR. 
     
  • After two days of talks, discussions and plenaries, where do we go from here? Jim Brady, who joined Knight Foundation as Vice President of Journalism in 2021, will moderate our last session of the program, engaging funders in a discussion about using what we learned to formulate next steps.
     
  • Stay tuned as we confirm more speakers and content!
We hope you’ll join us on Oct. 18-19 at the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia to celebrate and reflect on the last 20 years of journalism funders in community, and to co-design the future of journalism.

Please note: This is a funders-only conference.
Learn more + Register for JFunders 2022

IN-PERSON MEETING

Funder roundtable: Investing in the future of independent journalism at IPI’s 2022 World Congress

Friday, Sept. 9 | 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Columbia University | New York

 
The International Press Institute (IPI), in partnership with Media Impact Funders and the Global Forum for Media Development, is inviting funders to a roundtable discussion on Sept. 9 at Columbia University in New York City to explore what media funders can learn from the world of impact investment.

The roundtable, “Investing in the Future of Independent Journalism,” is a side event to IPI’s 2022 World Congress, which runs from Sept. 8-10 at Columbia University. The World Congress is IPI’s flagship global forum that explores the challenges facing independent journalism and the most effective strategies to address them. The roundtable will explore how funders can expand the spectrum of capital available to support high-quality media as a public good, and ask questions such as: “Is it possible to balance financial returns with the social good that comes from safeguarding a robust and independent media ecosystem? Or is the entire premise a mirage, destined to disappoint as it creates unrealistic expectations of commercial viability in places hostile to media pluralism?”

The discussion will feature prominent speakers in a fishbowl format, surrounded by an audience of philanthropic foundations, media funders, impact investors, media development experts, regional accelerators, media builders and journalists. We would be delighted if you would share your expertise and take part as a member of the audience, contributing to the discussion through comments and questions. Participation in the roundtable is free for invited guests, but funders are also entitled to a discounted ticket to the two-and-a-half days of the entire 2022 World Congress. Tickets normally cost $300 but roundtable participants can attend the World Congress for just $100.

Attendance at the roundtable discussion is for funders and by invitation only.
Request an invitation

IN-PERSON MEETING

Funder gathering at ONA22

Thursday, Sept. 22 | 4-5:30 p.m. | Los Angeles

 
Are you heading to ONA22 in L.A.? MIF is hosting an informal gathering from 4-5:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 22, at the Westin Bonaventure (the conference hotel) for funders who are attending ONA22, the Online News Association's annual conference. Funders will have the opportunity to catch up, network, and hear a few short funder and media maker presentations by:

We hope to see you in Los Angeles!
Register now

MIF is hiring!

Media Impact Funders is seeking a full-time membership and development associate responsible for supporting member recruitment, engagement, retention, and fundraising efforts. Learn more.


MIF new members alert!

We're thrilled to welcome Jewish Story Partners and New Mexico Local News Fund as members. See our full member list.
 

Member spotlight: Joyce Foundation

The Joyce Foundation, a member of MIF since 2016, is a Chicago-based private foundation that focuses on evidence-based public policy solutions to some of the nation’s most pressing challenges. Since 1993, Joyce has been a leader among philanthropies in supporting efforts to prevent gun violence. (Research the foundation has supported informed key provisions of the recently passed Bipartisan Safer Communities Act, which Joyce called a “significant step forward in reducing gun violence in America.”) Joyce has been playing the long game in its support of journalism, too, recognizing the effective role media can play in surfacing public policy solutions. In this Q&A, Chief External Affairs Officer Kayce Ataiyero—who oversees the Journalism program at Joyce—shares more thinking around Joyce’s media funding, the importance of journalism for a healthy democracy, and advice for funders who may be interested in making media and journalism grants. Read the member spotlight.
 

Are you reporting your media grants data?

Our media grants data map, Foundation Maps for Media Funding, tracks the field of philanthropically supported media from 2009-present. MIF has used this data to produce research on the growing field of journalism funding, topic-specific media funding, and more to highlight trends, opportunities and gaps in funding. The research we produce depends on timely and accurate data reporting from you, the grantmakers. Our friends at Candid, which created our media grants data map, have created a handy guide outlining the steps to report your data, and why it's important for grantmakers to do so. Learn more and report your data.

MEDIA SPOTLIGHT

"Who We Are": A film that chronicles the history of anti-Black racism in America

"Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America" is available to watch on Netflix.
As part of the annual conference of the United Philanthropy Forum this June, MIF hosted a "Clips and Conversation" screening event with former criminal defense attorney Jeffery Robinson about his new film, "Who We Are: A Chronicle of Racism in America," a powerful and jarring tour of America's 400-year history of anti-Black racism starting with slavery during the country's founding. It's a history that many politicians around the country are attempting to expunge from our collective consciousness. That's why, in the film, Jeffery quotes George Orwell from his landmark novel, "1984," on the dangers of authoritarianism: “Whoever controls the past, controls the future.” Repeating it to the packed room of colleagues, he added: "A false narrative about the role of white supremacy and anti-Black racism in America has led to our failure to make significant, lasting progress on the issue of racial justice.”

To complement the film, Jeffery has established a nonprofit organization, the Who We Are Project, which is designed to continue public education efforts across all platforms, within educational institutions and within businesses to continue elevating the truth about our nation's racial past.

Philanthropy has an opportunity to support the development of stories such as "Who We Are" that offer a counterweight to the current assault on truth being led by politicians across America. MIF Executive Director Vince Stehle asserts in a new piece that one of the most effective ways for funders to support a critical examination of America’s dark history of racial inequality is by supporting documentary films. Read the piece.

MIF members connect, collaborate, share resources, build knowledge, and ultimately make more strategic media investments.

  • Rewire News Group and Mother Jones are leading dozens of media outlets in urging the Department of Justice to protect press freedoms in a post-Roe era as the anti-abortion movement pushes legislation that would criminalize journalists who report on abortion. The proposed legislation prohibits “aiding and abetting” someone seeking an abortion, including by “hosting or maintaining a website…that encourages or facilitates efforts to obtain an illegal abortion.” When reached for comment, Rewire President and Editor in Chief Galina Espinoza told MIF: "With this unprecedented push to criminalize journalists, we're seeing a direct threat to press freedom and, by extension, an attempt to subvert democracy. At this critical moment, it's important for media funders to bolster their financial support of reproductive rights reporting, and publicly affirm their commitment to this work." Learn more.
     
  • Whether you're heading to Los Angeles for the Online News Association conference or in the area already, the Institute for Nonprofit News (INN) invites all news funders to join INN and some of the most innovative leaders in news for a relaxed lunch on Wednesday, Sept. 21. The lunch will feature short lightning presentations on some intriguing innovations in news, but mostly will provide an opportunity to mingle, share stories and restore the spirit of fellowship between news supporters and innovators after years apart for many. This is a no-pitch zone. The gathering is in a lovely outdoor garden a short way from the ONA hotel. If you'd like to join for lunch, please register here
     
  • How is philanthropy backing science journalism? In a new piece, Inside Philanthropy writer Paul Karon outlines a few funder approaches to supporting the work, including training and education, topic-specific media funding, and intermediary organizations. Read more.
     
  • On Tuesday, Sept. 20, 6:30-7:30 p.m. ET, hear about the learnings highlighted in Delaware’s Local News & Information Ecosystem Assessment: Key Findings and Opportunities—including a discussion of the communities and subject areas in need of greater access and coverage—and then have a conversation about what's next for the First State. The report, by the Local Journalism Initiative—a fund of the Delaware Community Foundation—is already helping Delaware journalists, government agencies, nonprofits and others improve the community's access to local news and information. Register.
     
  • A new report by the Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University—"State of Local News in 2022"—has found that a fifth of the U.S. population live in a news desert or in a community at risk of becoming one. The report outlines where there are gaps in the flow of reliable and timely news that threaten democracy and society. Learn more.
     
  • A nationwide collaborative reporting project is aiming to draw widespread attention to threats facing U.S. democracy on Sept. 15 for U.S. Democracy Day. Media outlets are being asked to join together to sound the alarm collectively, giving the American public more information and more context on efforts to undermine democracy in the U.S. Learn more about how to support Democracy Day.
     
  • A new study by Northwestern’s School of Education and Social Policy has found that false balance in news coverage of climate change is undermining the science and making it harder to address the crisis. When journalists provide platforms to climate deniers in efforts to present "both sides" of the issue, the public is unable to distinguish fact from fiction. Read more.
     
  • The Marshall Project, a deep news vertical focused on criminal justice, has released the Language Project, a resource that's asking journalism to rethink the way we talk about people who were previously or currently incarcerated. Read more.
     
  • The American Journalism Project (AJP) announced $3.15 million in new support for three news organizations: Verité, a sister newsroom of Mississippi Today launching this fall in New Orleans, ICT (formerly Indian Country Today) and New York City-based THE CITY. Read more.
     
  • The Center for Community Media (CCM) at the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism has received a three-year $2.01 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, the largest single investment in CCM’s decade-long history. Learn more.
     
  • NOVA's "Picture a Scientist," which reveals discrimination against women in science and is in part supported by the Heising-Simons Foundation, has earned an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Science and Technology Documentary. PBS was nominated for 30 Emmy Awards. Learn more.

Want your new grant, project, partnership, collaboration or news item included in our next newsletter? Let us know!
 
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