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.

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Registration is open for Media That Matters 2015: Tools of the Trade!

How can we make collections containing orphan works available to the public? These guidelines are a good place to start. 

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

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

Three case studies of social issue docs demonstrate how outreach campaigns can enable publics to form around social and political issues.

Media That Matters

Sundance Panel Showcases Indies' Issues with Public TV

DocbustersWhether PBS and WNET will feature the TV series Independent Lens and POV in primetime on primary channels was brought up at the Sundance Film Festival Panel "DOCBUSTERS: Your Creative Vision and the Power of the PBS Audience," hosted by WNET and PBS on Saturday, January 24.

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Fair Use Successes in Documentary Film: The Most Dangerous Man in America

The Most Dangerous Man in AmericaWhat difference does employing fair use make to a film?

Sometimes it means the difference between making a film and not making it.

Take “The Most Dangerous Man in America,” the Academy Award-nominated film about whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. “Knowing how to employ fair use meant that we could finish the film,” said producer/director Judith Ehrlich.

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More Fun with the Public Domain

A Trip to the MoonIn a mostly-copyrighted world, it’s really hard for media makers to find work that’s genuinely public domain (uncopyrighted), but a new project is making it easy.

The collaborative online video marketplace Pond5 (you can upload your own footage to it and sell it there) is launching a library of public domain content that includes 10,000 video clips, 65,000 photos, thousands of sound recordings, and hundreds of 3D models.

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6 Reasons Why Indie Filmmakers Still Care If They’re on TV

POV DocsDoes anyone still need broadcast TV to reach an audience? I mean, hello, YouTube, and hey there, Amazon Prime.

That’s the question that hit independent documentary filmmakers across the country in late December, when it looked like the two public TV series that carry indie docs—Independent Lens and POV—might get moved to the programming equivalent of Siberia. A 1,200 signature petition changed WNET and PBS’s minds for the moment, and prompted a nation-wide listening tour. The first event on the tour, in San Francisco, packed a room with more than 200 people, speaking about how indie film on public TV makes a difference to soldiers, moms, vets, immigrants, young people and more.

But in a cord-cutting world, why are indie filmmakers so passionate about public TV?

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