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

Documentaries Telling Truth to Power

Dangerous DocumentariesMany of the issues most important to understand and discuss are also those that powerful people or institutions don’t want made public. How do independent makers of documentaries that tell truth to power cope with this reality? A just-released report by the Center for Media & Social Impact discusses the risks, and how they can be mitigated to encourage more and better expression on the important issues of the day.

The report, built on interviews with 53 people including makers, lawyers, insurers, funders and programmers, was funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.


Testify: Community Voices on Public TV and Diversity

PubTV ForumAn open forum on the future for independent, diverse voices on public TV packed the theater and featured testimony from dozens of people. The common theme: communities expect public TV to showcase diverse perspectives on important but often overlooked issues in primetime. 

The issue that drew them all to the School of Communication’s theater on a frigid February evening was PBS’ commitment to Independent Lens and POV, two series that feature diverse, independent voices on important but underrepresented public issues. In late December, just before the winter holidays began, WNET announced that it would drop the series from its primetime lineup on its primary station in New York—the largest market in the country. PBS was unsure whether the series would stay in their primetime slot—especially given the pullout by the largest-market station—when the new season is announced in May.


Building Outreach Campaigns

Brigid MaherWith growing consensus about the importance of social impact in documentary filmmaking, many major funders: The Fledgling Fund, Pare Lorentz Doc Fund, and Tribeca Film Institute, among others, now require outreach campaigns be included in their grant outcomes. Can successful impact strategies can be catalysts for attitude and behavior change?  American University Professor Brigid Maher, Producer/Director of The Mama Sherpas, developed a trial impact study to evaluate society’s thoughts on midwifery; dispelling myths and altering mindsets about nurse-midwives and their practice.


Social Engagement with Social Television: Sharan Sklar on Media That Matters.

Sharan SklarThe 2015 Media That Matters conference is right around the corner, so we decided to let our #MTMDC panelists to introduce themselves and explain in their own words how they engage with media that matters.

The Independent Television Service (ITVS)’ director of business development, Sharan Sklar is responsible on the growth of OVEE a social TV platform. She will be presenting at  the Media Tools Showcase.