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Open Society Foundations;
Concern over online interference in elections is now widespread—from the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the pernicious effects messaging apps have had in elections in Kenya or Brazil. Yet regulatory and monitoring efforts have lagged behind in addressing the challenges of how public opinion can be manipulated online, and its impact on elections. The phenomenon of online electoral interference is global. It affects established democracies, countries in transition, and places where freedom of expression and access to information are tightly controlled.But fundamental questions of what should be legal and illegal in digital political communication have yet to be answered in order to extend the rule of electoral law from the offline to the online. Answering these questions would help determine the right scope for online election observation, too. This scoping report explains why social media is one of the elements of a democratic, rule of law–based state that observer groups should monitor. It aggregates experience from diverse civil society and nongovernmental initiatives that are innovating in this field, and sets out questions to guide the development of new mandates for election observers. The internet and new digital tools are profoundly reshaping political communication and campaigning. But an independent and authoritative assessment of the impact of these effects is wanting. Election observation organizations need to adapt their mandate and methodology in order to remain relevant and protect the integrity of democratic processes.
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.
Skoll Cennter for Social Impact Entertainment;
Social impact entertainment (SIE) is changing the world. Our landmark report explores this emerging field through the views and insight of the artists and industry experts who know it best.
Media Impact Funders;
Both radio and audio are being used in exciting ways to reach new audiences, spark civic engagement and dialogue across diverse communities, examine science and advance disability education, and much more. Radio, in particular, is garnering significant support from philanthropy across a range of programming themes. While perhaps considered a less dynamic media format in recent years, compared to extraordinary growth in web- and mobile-based media grantmaking, funding data tell a different story. Radio receives a significant share of philanthropic funding, particularly when compared to television and film and video.
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.
Across the news industry, organizations large and small, commercial and nonprofit, single issue and daily news are experimenting with "engagement": Audience engagement, engaged journalism, engagement editors and specialists, engaging for trust, and the list goes on. But what is engagement? Why are organizations experimenting with engagement, and to what effect? We set out to answer these questions through a four month research project where we surveyed the field to identify the practices organizations consider to be "engaged journalism," an inclusive practice that prioritizes the information needs and wants of the community members it serves, creates collaborative space for the audience in all aspects of the journalistic process, and is dedicated to building and preserving trusting relationships between journalists and the public. We then dove deep into four very different organizations to learn not only what they do, but why they engage with communities, as well as how they know if their strategies are having an impact.
Media Impact Funders;
With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Media Impact Funders has been researching trends, challenges and opportunities for global media funding. The research in this report draws on a variety of sources: data from the media data map through 2015, results from a survey of leading organizations engaged in funding media-related projects around the world, analyses of existing literature and reports, and insights offered by experts across a range of media funding issues.
The ability to communicate during and after a disaster is a life-and-death matter. And few disasters better exemplify this need than Hurricanes Irma and Maria, which devastated Puerto Rico in September 2017.Hurricane Irma struck on Sept. 6 and left more than a million people without power while weakening Puerto Rico's already fragile infrastructure. Then on Sept. 20, Hurricane Maria — a Category 4 storm — destroyed the islands' infrastructure. It left nearly the entire population without power and knocked out Puerto Rico's communications networks. Between 3,000–5,000 people died, making Maria one of the deadliest disasters in U.S. history. And the inability of Puerto Ricans to make calls or access life-saving information contributed to the death toll.The failure of the islands' communications infrastructure was a major factor in the death toll. This report's goal is to call attention to the critical need to examine and investigate all of the causes for the collapse of the communications networks -- and to ensure a crisis like this isn't repeated.
How the multibillion-dollar business behind online advertising could reinvent public media, revitalize journalism and strengthen democracy
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.
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.In Colombia, analog free-to-air television is still by far the most influential source of news. Digitization seems to be increasing both the quantity and range of news and the total public consumption of media as many traditional outlets now have online versions, while some new online only outlets have been born in recent years and gained recognition as news providers. Internet use is increasing very fast in urban areas and higher socioeconomic groups.Public media have been strengthened in recent years and public service provision is considered an important issue in Colombia. The transition to digital terrestrial television (DTT) is seen as both a challenge and an opportunity to public media. Digital activism too has grown in Colombia, and active internet users have proved the power of social networking, which has become very popular. Political debates and hostage rescue operations have, among others, triggered big digital mobilizations, especially on Facebook and Twitter.The policy and regulatory framework for digital media is still being defined as the media regulatory framework itself is functional, but there are several procedural flaws in the implementation.
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.