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

The Case for Open Journalism Now

[Source: Annenberg Innovation Lab, by Melanie Sill, December 1, 2011]
A discussion paper by Melanie Sill, Executive in Residence, USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, December 2011.

U.S. Ruling Sets Troubling Precedent for Social Media Privacy

[Source:, by Aidan Mac Guill, November 22, 2011]
This month a U.S. judge ordered Twitter to hand over records for three of its users to the Department of Justice's investigation into Wikileaks. The ruling has troubling implications for privacy ...

Nonprofit Journalism and the Need for Policy Solutions

[Source:, by Josh Stearns, December 5, 2011]
For decades, some of the best journalism in America has been produced by nonprofit news organizations.

Verizon’s Spectrum Deal with Cable Is the End of Broadband Competition

[Source: GigaOm, by Stacey Higginbotham, December 2, 2011]
The spectrum deal Verizon signed with Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks Friday, in which the nation’s largest wireless operator would buy the unused airwaves from the nation’s ...

NBC Universal Threatens Partners That They Need To Sign 'Grassroots' Support of SOPA/PIPA or It Might Have to Drop Them

[Source: TechDirt, by Mike Masnick, November 29, 2011]
We've talked about CreativeAmerica, the astroturfing group set up by the major Hollywood studios, pretending to be a "grassroots effort" in favor of SOPA & PIPA.

NY Times & LA Times Both Come Out Against SOPA & PIPA

[Source: TechDirt, by Mike Masnick, November 28, 2011]
We've written a few times about how columnists at various mainstream press outlets have been speaking out against SOPA and PIPA, showing that the story is catching on in the mainstream media. ...

Infographic: Big Cable v. Grassroots in Community Broadband Referendum

[Source: Community Broadband Networks, November 28, 2011]
Learning the lessons of Longmont's recent cable referendum. Download the PDF version here.

FCC to Probe San Francisco Subway Cell Phone "Interruption" Policy

[Source: ArsTechnica, by Matthew Lasar, December 2, 2011]
August 2011 protest against BART cell phone "interruption."   The fallout keeps raining down from the San Francisco Bay Area rail transit system's controversial move to block cell phone access ...

When Candidates Lie, What's a Political Reporter to Do?

[Source: Nieman Watchdog, by Dan Froomkin, November 30, 2011]
How journalists respond to intentional deception will be a defining feature of 2012 political coverage. Will they allow themselves to become accessories to deceptive politicians? Or will they ...

Congress Considers Anti-Piracy Bills that Could Cripple Internet Industries

[Source: O'Reilly Radar, by Alex Howard, November 22, 2011]
SOPA and PROTECT IP would harm innovation.