Investing in Innovation in Media and Journalism
Media and journalism are vital to progress in a free and open society. A free press plays many important roles. A watchdog that holds power to account. A forum for debate, dissenting views, and new ideas. A connection to local communities. And as a civic institution, equipping people with information to engage their government and their neighbors. Indeed, as Thomas Jefferson said, “our liberty depends on the freedom of the press.”
Today, media is undergoing a once in a generation transformation. Innovation has democratized information in an unprecedented way, sparking profound changes and disrupting previous forms of media that society had come to rely on. Lower barriers to entry and creative new products present a world of possibility. But changing audience behavior and expectations and shifting business models require new ways of thinking and operating. As a consequence, we must develop new mechanisms to ensure a free press continues to play its vital role in society, even as the form that it takes evolves. This requires a focus on accuracy, trust, and a diversity of viewpoints, while protecting bedrock principles such as free speech and free expression.
This period of transformation calls for entrepreneurial thinking and a vision for a better future. That’s why the Stand Together community works with partners who are committed to helping media and journalism not just survive but thrive. For example:
- The Poynter-Koch Media and Journalism Fellowship is one of numerous talent development programs Stand Together Fellowships has supported to empower journalists and media entrepreneurs with the knowledge, skills, and relationships to succeed. Since 2019, the Poynter-Koch Fellowship has supported hundreds of aspiring journalists to learn from seasoned experts at dozens of news outlets across the country.
- Freethink is a cutting-edge media company that believes “the daily news should inspire people to build a better world.” They focus on solutions: “the smartest people, the biggest ideas, and the most groundbreaking technology shaping our future.”
- The Knight First Amendment Institute at Columbia University explores and then acts on critical questions facing media today, such as “Should the President of the United States be allowed to block social media users who publicly disagree in response to his Tweets?” The Center represented seven plaintiffs in defense of their First Amendment right to publicly express their disagreement with a President in response to his online activity.
- The Foundation for Individual Rights and Expression (FIRE) is the nation’s leading advocate for “free speech and free thought – the most essential qualities of liberty.” Stand Together Trust’s major partnership with FIRE helped them expand from defending the rights of students and scholars on campus to defending free speech and free expression for all Americans.
- Americans for Prosperity recently took a stand for press freedom in Florida where proposed legislation would have made it harder to criticize the government. And Stand Together Trust leaders have spoken out directly to promote free speech – which is especially important on controversial issues.
In recognition of the critical role of media and journalism in society – and the many related challenges and opportunities today – we anticipate expanding our work and partnerships in this area in the months and years ahead and welcome those with new ideas to reach out and work with us.
Learn more about our work to protect free speech and promote bridging divides.
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