Knight Media Forum 2021

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The Knight Media Forum is the premier gathering of leaders in philanthropy, journalism and technology working to strengthen local news, communities and democracy.

The 2020 election and the pandemic have accelerated the polarization of the media in the United States, hardening Americans into two information silos shaped principally by partisanship. This fractured media ecosystem has serious consequences for American democracy and institutions, from national elections to decision-making at City Hall.

The one medium proven to break through the partisan divide, and bring people together around a common set of facts, is local news. 

From March 2-4, the 2021 Knight Media Forum examined how local news innovators and their supporters are responding to the pandemic, the national reckoning over systemic racism, and misinformation that undermines the trust needed for democracy to function. It highlighted business models that are gaining traction, and approaches to audience engagement that are changing local journalism from within.

The event was oriented towards action; participants left with the knowledge they needed to address cutting-edge issues and major trends in local news, along with practical tools and replicable ideas to promote more informed and engaged communities. 

While the forum is geared towards foundation presidents and leaders in media and technology, the 2021 forum was online and open to all. 

Featured speakers included: 

Cesar Conde

Cesar Conde

Chairman, NBCUniversal News Group
Renée DiResta

Renée DiResta

Stanford Internet Observatory
Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

Harvard University
Dr. Helene D. Gayle

Dr. Helene D. Gayle

The Chicago Community Trust
Tristan Harris

Tristan Harris

Center for Humane Technology
Brad Smith

Brad Smith

Microsoft President
Isabel Wilkerson

Isabel Wilkerson

Author and Journalist
Thomas Chatterton Williams

Thomas Chatterton Williams

American cultural critic and author