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Open Society Foundations;
The Mapping Digital Media project examines the global opportunities and risks created by the transition from traditional to digital media. Covering 60 countries, the project examines how these changes affect the core democratic service that any media system should provide: news about political, economic, and social affairs.
Nigeria has a relatively high internet penetration rate, driven primarily by a rapid expansion of mobile platforms. Recent figures suggest that over a third of the population have access to the internet and there are over 50 mobile phones per 100 Nigerians. However, internet access is concentrated geographically within just 16 percent of the country, and overwhelmingly within urban areas. Access to digital broadcasting platforms is largely contained within pay-TV networks, and free-to-air digital broadcasting is still embryonic.
Regarding free-to-air, there are currently no legal requirements on broadcasters to facilitate citizen access to digital platforms, nor any measures to ensure its affordability. Regulatory pressure has been applied to commercial broadcasters, but state broadcasters have been criticized for failing to take a leadership role in driving the switch-over.
The report suggests that the development of the mobile sector offers the best hope for bridging regional and social divides in the medium term. But the enduring significance of these divides presents the most profound obstacle to Nigerian society reaping the benefits of digital media in terms of increased diversity, openness, and access.
Pew Charitable Trust;
This report from the Pew Charitable Trusts highlights practices for state programs aimed at expanding broadband access to un- and underserved areas.
Based on interviews with more than three hundred representatives of state broadband programs, Internet service providers, local governments, and broadband coalitions, the report identified five promising and mutually reinforcing practices: stakeholder outreach and engagement at both the state and local levels; a policy framework with well-defined goals that connects broadband to other policy priorities; planning and capacity building in support of broadband infrastructure projects; funding and operations through grant programs, with an emphasis on accountability and data collection; and program evaluation and evolution to ensure that lessons learned inform the next iteration of goals and activities. The study explores how nine states — California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin — have adapted and implemented different combinations of those practices to close gaps in broadband access.
West Africa Civil Society Institute (WACSI);
The effective implementation of WACSI's interventions is dependent on civil society's contributions and feedback on the Institute's work in promoting an open, safe and prosperous West Africa. WACSI's interventions are guided and inspired by the critical voices from key stakeholders and engagement by different communities and groups across West Africa. At WACSI, we are conscious that civic space affects everything civil society does and everything civil society does affects civic space. A safe, open, free and enabling space for all to form and voice opinions, debate, be heard and peacefully protest, is also an essential prerequisite for achieving the ECOWAS Vision 2020. Civic freedoms including the freedom of expression, association and peaceful assembly, safe environments and effective participation are therefore essential. This Op-Ed critically assesses the civic space environment in 2019, predictions for 2020 and issues that need more introspection and collective action.
Media Impact Funders;
This report provides an examination of the current state of the field of media impact assessment, which Media Impact Funders (MIF) has been tracking for seven years.
It is meant to serve as a practical resource for funders who want to understand where to start. Informed by feedback from our network, it represents a synthesis of the past seven years of work we've done in the impact space, and includes examples of successful media impact evaluation, tools and frameworks for assessment, and the challenges of defining and measuring impact in a rapidly-shifting media landscape.
Our years of research have led us to four key insights, and this report includes a deep dive into each of them, as well as companion guest essays from leaders in the field. We hope you will use this guide to inform your own practice, and to continue this critical conversation.
Many journalism stakeholders have begun looking to philanthropic foundations to help newsrooms find economic sustainability. The rapidly expanding role of foundations as a revenue source for news publishers raises an important question: How do foundations exercise their influence over the newsrooms they fund? Using the hierarchy of influence model, this study utilizes more than 40 interviews with journalists at digitally native nonprofit news organizations and employees from foundations that fund nonprofit journalism to better understand the impact of foundation funding on journalistic practice. Drawing on previous scholarship exploring extra-media influence on the news industry, we argue that the impact of foundations on journalism parallels that of advertisers throughout the 20th century—with one important distinction: Journalism practitioners and researchers have long forbidden the influence from advertisers on editorial decisions, seeing the blurring of the two as inherently unethical. Outside funding from foundations, on the other hand, is often premised on editorial influence, complicating efforts by journalists to maintain the firewall between news revenue and production.
This report seeks to investigate existing research about crowdfunding for nonprofit organizations using the lens of #GivingTuesday as a way to focus on the questions, concerns, and potential for this relatively new tool for giving to nonprofit organizations. Crowdfunding is broadly defined as "the raising of capital from a large and diverse pool of donors via online platforms" (Davies, 2014). While many forms of crowdfunding exist, including funding of for-profit projects, businesses, and peer-to-peer giving, this report focuses on crowdfunding for nonprofit organizations exclusively.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
A crisis faces local newsrooms across the nation. News publishers have, for over a decade, competed with search engines and digital platforms, not only for their readers' attention, but also for advertising revenue. At the same time, we have seen decades of growing distrust and partisan antipathy toward institutions of all kinds, including journalism. Local newspapers are especially vulnerable to these trends. As a result, there have been waves of consolidation, often resulting in fewer newsroom jobs. Particularly controversial have been acquisitions of newspapers by private equity investors, often followed by debate about how the newsroom is managed by its new ownership.
This Gallup/Knight Foundation study seeks to better understand whether Americans care about the fate of local news organizations, what they value about these organizations and what could be done to make more of these organizations financially sustainable. The results are sobering, but they also point toward potential solutions for addressing some of the economic challenges facing many local news organizations.
Open Society Initiative of West Africa (OSIWA);
Over the last two decades, technology tools available for civil society actors in Africa have tremendously evolved. Journalists and activists relied mostly on print media to call out dictators and authoritarian regimes. To avoid being incarcerated, they hid their identities or never stayed in one location. Today, they use digital technologies to mask their identities and digital footprints, and communicate in real-time with informants and reporters using technologically advanced tools . To keep pace with the world and be effective in the work that they do, such media and civil society actors have had to embrace new and emerging technologies to facilitate their work.
Center for High Impact Philanthropy at University of Pennsylvania;
Multiple surveys over the past decade have revealed a trend of declining confidence in democracy among Americans. While many factors contribute to this growing sense that democracy is weakening, there are practical and thoughtful efforts underway to reverse these sentiments. The Center for High Impact Philanthropy's "We the People: A Philanthropic Guide to Strengthening Democracy" creates a framework for anyone looking to strengthen the democratic system.
To assist donors who are ready to act immediately, CHIP has published a supplement, "We the People: Nonprofits Making an Impact to Strengthen Democracy," highlighting initiatives and organizations that are strengthening democracy through civic engagement and local media.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
Most histories of religion, media, and capitalism have focused on televangelists or on conservative religious leaders who built their own broadcasting networks. But this is not the entire story. Religious insiders—frequently centrist liberals—did not need to create their own broadcasting networks because their connections with media networks and philanthropists gave them a privileged place in the American mediascape. In this report, I investigate the relationship between the Rockefeller family and religious media. I focus especially on John D. Rockefeller, Jr. and his funding of Riverside Church's Harry Emerson Fosdick and his National Vespers radio program. This report demonstrates the prominence of liberal religious media during the "Golden Age" of radio, and it helps explain how religious liberals navigated the financial dilemmas of producing sustaining programs.
Rockefeller Archive Center;
Within communication and media studies, Paul Lazarsfeld is primarily known for his methodological innovations in the field of audience research. Yet, during the early 1950s, Lazarsfeld was asked to chair the Ford Foundation's Television Advisory Committee (TAC). This committee had been established by Robert M. Hutchins, then an associate director of the Ford Foundation. Hutchins had established the TAC as a means of continuing the work of the Commission on the Freedom of the Press, that he himself had chaired during the mid-1940s. Based upon material held in the Ford Foundation archives at the Rockefeller Archive Center, as well as material held at the archives of Columbia University and the University of Maryland, this paper provides an overview of Lazarsfeld's chairing of the TAC. It examines Lazarsfeld's relationship with both the commercial broadcasting industry and the media reform movement, two factions that had an interest in the work of the TAC, but whose relationship with each other was antagonistic. The paper argues that he was selected to chair the TAC because of his previous involvement with, and good standing within, the two factions. Ultimately, however, Lazarsfeld was unable to advance the cause of media reform within the Ford Foundation, and oversaw the production of a research report that was of little consequence, either to the development of television as a new medium, or to the case of media reform.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation;
This report examines trust in media, showing that many young adults use news media to make decisions on policies and voting. It reveals that a majority of young adults are concerned about the impact of news on democracy and unity in the country, expressing that news organizations might divide and polarize citizens. Conducted by NORC at the University of Chicago, the report analyzes the findings of a survey of 1,660 adults between the ages of 18 and 34. It also surveyed large samples of African American and Hispanic participants to explore beliefs and behaviors across races and ethnicities.
The study shows that young people believe some news sources are actively hurting democracy and corroding national unity. Sixty-four percent of young adults say their least-liked news source hurts democracy and 73 percent say their least-liked news source divides the country. Only 47 percent say their favorite news source helps unite it. When comparing partisan attitudes, 51 percent of Democrats say their favorite source unites the public, while 42 percent of Republicans say the same.