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Growth in Foundation Support for Media in the United States

November 11, 2013

Over the last decade, media -- the means by which we communicate -- has evolved significantly. Television, radio, and print newspapers and magazines were once the primary means to obtain news and information. However, the rapid evolution of the Internet and mobile technology has generated new media platforms and expanded the universe of information creators, producers, and distributors. Media information once flowed in one direction, but the expansion of the field has made the movement more diffuse.With this changing landscape as a backdrop, the Foundation Center, with support from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Wyncote Foundation, and in collaboration with Media Impact Funders, GuideStar, and the Ford Foundation, sought to provide a fuller picture of media-related grantmaking by U.S. foundations. Tracking investments from 2009 to 2011, the data reveals that foundations are increasingly supporting media-related work across multiple areas. At the same time, they are tapping into larger trends, with investments in new media growing at a faster pace than traditional media investments. However, growth in grantmaking across the spectrum of media is inconsistent -- with growth in public broadcasting falling behind growth in investments in other areas.As demand for media funding continues to rise, these gaps are the most important ones to watch -- especially considering the 2011 Federal Communications Commission report, "The Information Needs of Communities", which called for philanthropy to play a bigger role in supporting media. Since this is a baseline assessment, it will be crucial to see how media grantmaking evolves.

Journalism, News, and Information; Media Access and Policy; Media Applications and Tools; Media Platforms; Telecommunications Infrastructure

Investing in Broadband Evaluation: Guiding Policy & Innovation for the Future

February 4, 2013

How we address the broadband challenge has been called the most important infrastructure challenge of the new century by the National Broadband Plan. High-speed Internet can connect remote communities, help coordinate and streamline health care services, enable our children with unparalleled access to learning opportunities, and spark and support innovation in numerous fields. The challenge, however, is understanding what works and why across all of these important uses of broadband technology. Program evaluation can answer this need, especially if it is built into new programs and policies from the start.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Digital Differences

April 13, 2012

Examines 2000-11 trends in Internet use, high-speed broadband access, methods of accessing the Internet, and online and mobile activities by gender, race/ethnicity, age, income, education, and disability status, as well as reasons for not going online.

Media Access and Policy; Telecommunications Infrastructure

Broadband at the Speed of Light: How Three Communities Built Next-Generation Networks

April 1, 2012

The United States has made progress in recognizing that high-capacity broadband infrastructure is a critical and necessary component of a community's economic well-being and quality of life. Much still remains to be done, however, to turn this recognition into the reality of smart and connected communities across the nation.Local governments everywhere want their communities to have affordable access to robust broadband infrastructure, just as local governments a century ago wanted their communities to have affordable access to reliable electric power. Then, with the private sector unable to electrify America everywhere at the same time, more than 3300 communities stepped forward to develop their own public power systems. Those that did generally survived and thrived, while many that waited for the private sector to get around to them did not. Now, a growing number of communities believe that history is repeating itself in the broadband area, that if their businesses and residents are to succeed in an increasingly competitive information-based global economy, they must again take their futures into their own hands. Not surprisingly, as the private power companies did a century ago, several communications companies have sought to erect a wide range of legal, political, financial, and other barriers to the ability of communities to serve their own needs. This is true even in some rural areas that do not offer enough economic incentives for private investment. So, what should guide local governments as they navigate these highly complicated waters of high-capacity broadband?This report details the experiences of three municipalities that have gained attention around the world for successfully designing and implementing public broadband networks -- Bristol, Virginia; Lafayette, Louisiana; and Chattanooga, Tennessee. Each has faced significant challenges in its quests to bring 21st century communications technology and its benefits to its community. Each has met these challenges and is now providing its community multiple benefits that would not have been achievable any other way.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Next Generation Connectivity: A Review of Broadband Internet Transitions and Policy From Around the World

February 1, 2010

Fostering the development of a ubiquitously networked society, connected over high-capacity networks, is a widely shared goal among both developed and developing countries. High capacity networks are seen as strategic infrastructure, intended to contribute to high and sustainable economic growth and to core aspects of human development. In the pursuit of this goal, various countries have, over the past decade and a half, deployed different strategies, and enjoyed different results. At the Commission's request, this study reviews the current plans and practices pursued by other countries in the transition to the next generation of connectivity, as well as their past experience. By observing the experiences of a range of market-oriented democracies that pursued a similar goal over a similar time period, we hope to learn from the successes and failures of others about what practices and policies best promote that goal. By reviewing current plans or policy efforts, we hope to learn what others see as challenges in the next generation transition, and to learn about the range of possible solutions to these challenges.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

Buying Broadband a Boost: The Information Super Buy-Way?

March 30, 2009

The federal government and many state governments are making efforts to increase or improve access to broadband internet services. With this attention in the states, communication companies are spending millions of dollars on state campaigns and hiring thousands of state-level lobbyists.Fast FactsThe five communications companies in the report hired 2,609 lobbyists around the country. Again, AT&T and Verizon led the pack, with 1,373 and 868, respectively.The five communications companies this report gave almost evenly to Republican and Democratic candidates across the country. Republicans received $7.6 million and Democrats received $6.8 million. However, the companies gave $6 million to Republican party committees, almost twice the $3.5 million given to Democratic party committees.California received the most contributions from the five communications companies in the report, by far. Recipients in California got $8.2 million. Florida was second with $2.8 million.Of the five communications companies studied, AT&T and Verizon dominated the contributing, giving $14.9 million and $10.8 million respectively. Qwest, Embarq, and U.S. Cellular combined for an additional $2.4 million.

Telecommunications Infrastructure

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