Jun 29, 2012

Free Press proposes new definition of pubmedia; GFEM renames itself

PHILADELPHIA — A new Free Press report released at this week’s annual Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media conference here envisions an expanded, more inclusive and better coordinated public media for America.

Craig Aaron, president of the media-reform group, presented “Greater Than the Sum: Creating Collaborative and Connected Public Media in America” Thursday (June 28) to some 100 media makers and funders.

Drawing from the report, Aaron proposed six categories for inclusion in a broader definition of public media:
  •  Noncoms such as NPR, PBS and Link TV;
  • Community media, including radio stations owned by local nonprofits and nonprofit online journalism projects;
  • Independent producers in film, radio, print and digital multimedia, such as the Association of Independents in Radio;
  • Independent nonprofit publications and websites, such Mother Jones and ProPublica;
  • Information media, including websites that aggregate information or offer informative interactive applications, such as SeeClickFix; and
  • Capacity-building organizations, like the National Center for Media Engagement, that provide resources and analysis for the field.
Aaron said that while he recognizes the hurdles in bringing the diverse groups under one umbrella, only through such collective action can public media access adequate funding and move forward.

In the meantime, GFEM itself is doing a little redefining. The group, an association of grantmakers working in the fields of media arts and public-interest media, unveiled a name change at the conference, meant to reflect its own broader mission. The organization will now be called Media Impact Funders. — Debra E. Blum

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