Thanks for registering for the 2021 Knight Media Forum. I’m delighted to welcome you, and write today to give you a preview of what to expect.
This will be the 14th annual in a series that began – while Facebook was still a college thing – as a gathering of some 200 people from community and regional foundation and news organizations. Thanks to an all-virtual format, this will be our largest KMF ever, with close to 3,000 participants from across the United States and beyond.
While the size of the conference and the complexity of issues has grown exponentially, our purpose has not changed. We will gather to discuss ways to inform citizens and engage community in a democracy. Our focus continues to be local and our hope continues to be the creation of broad understanding, even if not actual consensus, of many parts of our American communities.
Since last year’s conference, the nation has been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic and rocked by a disputed election further marred by subsequent violence. We also saw a mass movement for racial justice and accountability.
American institutions, including powerful media and philanthropic organizations like Knight, are also being examined through the lens of the past year and contemporary debates over objectivity, free expression, and historical obligations. Knight recognizes the complexity of free expression in the digital age — we are listening. Panelists will tackle these questions and more in what we hope will be invigorating, thought-provoking conversations.
You will hear from a diverse range of thinkers in journalism, philanthropy and technology who may not agree with each other or with you, but who share a fundamental commitment to strengthening local news, communities, and democracy. Here is the full agenda for March 2-4, and here are resources for funders and practitioners strengthening local news.
Knight is proudly committed to supporting free expression and engaged, equitable and inclusive communities, even while acknowledging these aspirational goals seem sometimes in tension or contradiction. I look forward to your participation next week.
Media organizations around the world face a crisis in building sustainable business models and building audiences. Nonprofit news ventures in the public interest are on the rise, often filling the gaps left by traditional news organizations with diminished resources. At Knight Foundation, we explore how local journalism is changing in a globally connected world, supporting new approaches and models that help meet the information needs of communities. (Photo by The Texas Tribune via Flickr)
It takes a village to build an informed community. Here are resources for individual and institutional funders, community leaders, journalists and social entrepreneurs to build a sustainable future for local news.