Media Content

Media Issues

GFEM is an advocate to our grantmaker colleagues, encouraging them to fund innovative media arts and public interest media—through support of content, infrastructure, and policy—as a vital form of cultural expression and essential component of our democracy. Whether providing support for documentary or narrative films, or efforts to close the national or international “digital divide,” or supporting advocacy and educational organizations to keep the Internet unrestricted, or highlighting media advancements being made in developing countries, or the evolving media policies in developed nations-GFEM’s aim is to provide small and large funders alike with information to assist them in making decisions about supporting the interconnected areas of media content, infrastructure and policy.


A television program or film puts a face on an issue. A radio news feature or documentary brings a tangible reality to recited facts. Video streamed on a website underscores issues presented in plain text and can move people to action. Whether the content is targeted to public or commercial media outlets, funders need a working understanding of the entire media landscape in order to be most effective in their grantmaking. View Content articles


A high-speed, unfettered Internet, community-based media arts organizations, PBS, NPR, Public/Educational/Government (PEG) public access stations, or mobile phones are all a part of our media infrastructure—GFEM provides funders with information to help them in supporting media infrastructure, whether local, national, or international. View Infrastructure articles


Restrictive media policies can curtail access to the content we do have through the infrastructure we currently have in place. There are clear roles for funders to play in helping to address media policy issues and GFEM works to keep funders abreast of the constantly shifting media policy environment. View Policy articles

NPR CEO Gary Knell: We Need to “Smash Together the Digital and So-Called Audio Journalists”

[Source: Nieman Journalism Lab, by Justin Ellis, October 23, 2012]
In a visit to the Nieman Foundation, the NPR boss discusses digital transformation, his earlier work at Sesame Workshop and political perceptions of Big Bird.

Freedom and Connectivity in the Americas

[Source: The Aspen Institute, October 1, 2012]
The Aspen Institute Communications and Society Program released a report of the Forum on the Freedom to Communicate, Freedom and Connectivity: Advancing the Freedom to Communicate in the Americas, ...

Supreme Court Rejects Appeal of Media Ownership Restrictions

[Source: The Los Angeles Times, by Jim Puzzanghera, June 30, 2012]
The U.S. Supreme Court turns down an appeal by media firms of government rules limiting the ownership of a newspaper and broadcast station in the same market. WASHINGTON — The U.S. Supreme Court ...

Igniting U.S. Broadband Through Obama Administration Executive Order

[Source:, by Chris Naoum, June 20, 2012]
WASHINGTON — Last Thursday President Obama announced the launch of a new initiative, “U.S. Ignite,” and signed an executive order reducing the cost of and barriers to broadband build-out and ...

Mother Jones Wins Inaugural International Data Journalism Award

[Source: Mother Jones, June 3, 2012]
Mother Jones won the first international Data Journalism Award, in a field that included the Wall Street Journal, the UK Financial Times, Spain's El Mundo, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, ...

GMs Take Up PBS Plan to Expand Web Video Output

[Source:, by Dru Sefton, May 29, 2012]
Three dozen general managers have coalesced around a proposal by PBS Interactive chief Jason Seiken to jumpstart low-cost local video production at public TV stations.   Seiken laid out his plan ...

Genachowski Ignores Harm of His Data Cap Sentiments

[Source: Public Knowledge, by Art Brodsky, May 24, 2012]
There probably was no great need for Comcast to raise the usage caps on its broadband service, as it did last week from 250 gigabytes (GB) to 300 GB per month. If the company thought for an ...

Four Signs America's Broadband Policy Is Failing

[Source: ArsTechnica, by Timothy B. Lee, May 28, 2012]
Where's the robust broadband competition we were promised?   In 2008, I wrote a paper for the Cato Institute questioning the need for network neutrality regulations; I argued that the Internet's ...

You Can Change the Channel, but Local News Is the Same

[Source: The New York Times, by Brian Stelter, May 28, 2012]
SAN ANGELO, Tex. — Call a reporter at the CBS television station here, and it might be an anchor for the NBC station who calls back.