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

Roundup: PBS and Indies at SXSW

#PBSAnywhereAt SXSW, PBS made a bigger splash than usual at the media/tech mecca, with seven (!) panels and three fest films. At the new-this-year PBS Lounge (swag, free beer, comfy couches, selfies posted direct to Net), you could meet filmmakers of the three PBS premieres. PBS also announced investment in theatricals. And more than two dozen PBSers were on hand to court indies. 

But it joined a throng of distributors—not just broadcasters but also online platforms—doing the same thing. At the same time, it couldn’t say what indies wanted to hear, and it demonstrated its own version of a digital divide.


Like, Link, Share: New Tools for Legacy Organisations

Like Link Share Cover

New research proves that established and traditional cultural institutions--museums, orchestras and libraries--are adjusting to a new digital reality. Looking to accommodate the public expectation of engaging with culture without sitting through a long performance or attending an exhibit, these legacy institutions are changing traditional ways of thinking and operating.


Bleeding-Edge News at SXSW

SXSWSXSW panels and events take the pulse of cutting—OK, bleeding—edge trends in tech for film. Seven takeaways from panels:

#1: Streaming video: Open and closed video streaming platforms are now mainstream, and funding programming. In fact, according to Buzzfeed’s Summer Anne Burton, YouTube (c. 160M monthly desktop viewers) is now a lean-back, longform(ish) medium—suitable for evening viewing.


Do Filmmakers Know Their Rights?

MaidanConversation on the filmmaker v. journalist distinction that happened at Sundance was also picked up at this year’s True/False Film Fest. Filmmakers who took some big risks took part in an “I Know My Rights” discussion that perhaps should have been more of a question than a statement. Nick Broomfield (Tales of the Grim Sleeper), David Felix Sutcliffe ((T)ERROR), Matthew Hieneman (Cartel Land) and Serhy Stetsenko (Maidan) spoke to many of the issues covered in the Center report released in February: “Dangerous Documentaries: Reducing Risk When Telling Truth to Power.”