Empowering Media That Matters

The Center for
Media & Social Impact

The Center for Media & Social Impact is an innovation lab and research center that studies, designs and showcases media for social impact.

More about CMSI

The Center's latest report examines risks and resources for filmmakers challenging the status quo. 

Visual arts community launches Code of Best Practices in Fair Use!

Just Released! Public TV remains leading source of diverse programming.

“Stand Up Planet” Impact Evaluation Demonstrates Power of Comedy for Change

Our latest report takes an in-depth look at the range of media impact tools currently available.

Media That Matters

PBS and WNET Keep Independent Documentary in Primetime

After months of public and private discussion that raised fundamental questions about the purpose of public TV, PBS and WNET have struck an agreement to support the public TV series that showcase diverse, independent voices: Independent Lens and POV. 


THE MAMA SHERPAS Premieres in Los Angeles on May 27

The Mama SherpasIncoming Co-Director at CMSI, Brigid Maher, announced today the acquisition of her upcoming documentary The Mama Sherpas, by BOND/360 and executive producers Ricki Lake and Abby Epstein. The Mama Sherpas will premiere on May 27th in Los Angeles, followed by regional, VOD and DVD releases.

"I'm humbled and honored to have Abby and Ricki come on board as Executive Producers," said Maher, associate professor in American University’s School of Communication. "Their 2008 film The Business of Business Born had a groundbreaking impact on how women made choices around birth and inspired me to tell the story of hospital midwives who are working to bring the C-section rate down through their women based approach.


Diverse Voices Matter for Public Television

Indie Caucus SpeakeasyIndependent filmmakers are preparing to hear whether WNET and PBS officials will make any changes to programming decisions after engaging in a National Listening Tour.  In a recent The Pub podcast, WNET Vice President for Programming Stephen Segaller referred to feedback from the Listening Tour as “predictable,” “unanimous,” and filmmaker backlash to change, despite the many testimonials that came from constituents beyond the documentary community. Look no further than the New York Times Op-Ed by legendary American television writer and producer Norman Lear, “Is PBS Neglecting Its Mission?”

What was the “predictable” message delivered from community members and filmmakers alike?


Impact Takes Center Stage at Games for Change Festival

Games for ChangeWhen it comes to games, what exactly do we mean by impact? How do our different interpretations hold us back, and how can we bridge them to move forward?

These questions have spurred a new Games for Change research project (see http://GameImpact.net), which seeks to create shared language around impact games and improve collaboration between designers and researchers. The first report of the series, titled “Impact with Games: A Fragmented Field,” lays out the challenges the series will address.