Building stronger societes
View this email in a browser December 2020
News from Luminate

It is no longer a question of whether a truly meaningful response needs to be mounted to the crisis facing independent public interest journalism; it is how and what that response should be. At the World Press Freedom Conference beginning today, the conversation must take a decisive step forward

Independent media outlets have faced financial challenges in recent years, but the pandemic has led to devastating revenue losses. The grim reality of the COVID-19 crisis means that many countries around the world may be facing a future with no independent journalism at all, right when access to reliable information can be a matter of life and death.   

Nishant Lalwani and BBC Media Action's James Deane call on international donors and policy makers to recognise the urgency of this challenge and to mount a meaningful international response. 

Listening and learning for better partnership: our Grantee Perception Report findings
Earlier this year we commissioned the Center for Effective Philanthropy (CEP) to conduct a Grantee Perception Report survey to help us better understand our partners' experiences working with us. Stephen King shared CEP's findings and recommendations, along with our reflections and plans to improve.
We must continue the fight for justice
The US election was a referendum on the politics of hate and division, and the American people made their voices heard -- the majority of voters want a country with equal opportunities for all, where justice prevails, science matters, and racism and xenophobia are rejected. Alissa Black wrote that while there is much to celebrate, we can't lose sight of the challenges ahead, and we must all continue to work for justice and an equitable future.
Measuring perceptions of democracy in Latin America
Democracy is facing a crisis of representation and a crisis of trust in Latin America. Felipe Estefan, Gabriela Hadid, and Rafael Georges wrote about the findings from a newly published survey which asked people in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico how COVID-19 has impacted their perceptions of democracy.  
Our lessons learned from the Grantee Perception Report
Laura Bacon compiled reflections from going through the Grantee Perception Report process and offers 10 lessons learned for funders seeking feedback from partners or considering doing the GPR in the future and for civil society organisations who invest time in providing their responses to such surveys.
Podcast: Future Proofing Media Freedom
In collaboration with Chatham House and ICFJ, Luminate launched a mini-series to explore the challenges facing public interest media and to highlight how a range of actors are tackling them. The episodes feature conversations on the financial survival of independent media, the crisis of disinformation, and growing attacks on media professionals.
Cultivating a long-term relationship with donors
Melanie Hui spoke at Splice Beta about how to cultivate a long-term relationship with your donor that goes beyond just money. Read the key takeaways or watch her session for Melanie’s advice on building a lasting partnership with trust and communication.
Ensuring equitable participation for all
"One big question we have to ask ourselves is, who is invited to participate? And when we say participation, does that actually mean participation for all?" Watch Amira El-Sayed in a new interview with Transparency and Accountability Initiative for their Full Disclosure series, where they talk with people working in transparency, civic participation, and accountability.
Growing financial independence to protect editorial independence
Following on from research in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, and Mexico which found that people are willing to pay for high-quality, independent news if reporting holds those in power to account, Felipe Estefan and Gabriela Hadid published an op-ed in Animal Politico on how we must protect media's editorial and financial independence in order to protect democracy.
News from our partners

Many of these inspiring organisations are hiring. Check out open positions with our partners here.

ePanstwo Foundation co-organised an Internet Governance Forum 2020 pre-event, "How to tackle discrimination by AI-enabled technologies? The potential of existing regulatory frameworks and AIAs", which focused on the regulatory possibilities to prevent discrimination and deepening of inequalities of AI-enabled technologies. Watch the webinar here.

“The Cartel Project”, coordinated by Forbidden Stories, united 60 journalists from 25 media outlets to continue the work of murdered colleagues in Mexico. The journalists are investigating the global networks of Mexican drug cartels and their political connections around the world.

Amidst the pandemic FUSE Corps is doubling down on helping local government agencies in the U.S. move forward and respond to communities’ needs. Check out their current fellowship openings focused on everything from helping minority small business owners survive the pandemic to delivering critically needed digital access to underserved neighborhoods.

ICFJ and the Tow Center launched the Journalism & the Pandemic Project, which surveyed more than 1,400 journalists to learn about COVID-19’s effect on their outlets and how they do their work. Additional survey findings will follow in the coming months.

International Budget Partnership-South Africa released a new report evaluating the transparency of municipal governments around procurement. 

Membership Puzzle Project published a practical guide to launching a membership program offering best practices and advice for newsrooms at any stage of their membership journey.

More in Common launched Britain’s Choice, a sweeping study of 2020s British society aimed to help shape efforts to build a more cohesive society, resilient to the threat of polarisation. It follows similar studies in France, Germany, and the US, all of which serve as a starting point for further work, with and in support of a wide range of partners.

Myanmar Tech Accountability Network launched a dashboard exploring viral content related to the Myanmar elections. MTAN researchers also contributed to this in-depth report on inauthentic behavior and disinformation campaigns.

After receiving 1,400 applications for funding, New Media Ventures announced their 14 new investments in organisations that are developing infrastructure, building Black and Indigenous power, protecting democracy in the U.S., and transforming the local media landscape.  

Public and Private Development Centre won the ONE Africa Award, which recognises their impactful work on open contracting and monitoring public procurement in Nigeria.

A recent study from Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism found that for most news organisations, audience reach is up during COVID-19, but revenue is down. If the study’s respondents are indicative of the situation in the global news industry, newspapers alone are looking at a loss that could amount to a decline of $30 billion in revenues in 2020.

SOFTIE, which tells the story of Kenyan activist Boniface Mwangi, has won a number of awards recently, including at El Gouna Film Festival, Durban International Film Festival, and Encounters South Africa documentary festival. The film is currently available to viewers in the United States and the United Kingdom.

The GovLab hosted a panel on navigating data collaboration during COVID-19. Luminate’s Swee Leng Harris joined to discuss the role data rights play in data collaboration, how citizens can participate in open data initiatives, and how the pandemic has put a spotlight on data rights.

Velocidad announced the six Latin American media startups which progressed to the second phase of the accelerator. 

Where you can find us
World Press Freedom Conference (9-10 December)
Today kicks off the World Press Freedom Conference, where Nishant Lalwani will join development and media experts to explore the implications of growing economic challenges for journalism and discuss how solutions like the International Fund for Public Interest Media could help the sector survive. Register to join the event.
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