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Media Policy Initiative

About the Media Policy Initiative

The Media Policy Initiative, part of the New America Foundation’s Open Technology Initiative, formulates policy and regulatory reforms to foster the development of a healthy media that satisfies the needs of democracy in the 21st century. MPI’s fellows and staff research, analyze, and promote policies that are committed to maximizing the public interest potential of innovative media, supported by partnerships with communities, researchers, industry, and public interest groups. By studying the social and economic ramifications of policymaking – particularly on poor, rural, and other underserved constituencies – MPI provides in-depth, objective research, analysis, and findings for policy decisionmakers and the general public. 

MPI hired its first batch of fellows in Spring 2010, and its current work centers on the recently published Knight Commission Report Informing Communities: Sustaining Democracy in the Digital Age.

Building on the report's findings, in 2010 the MPI staff and fellows focus on policies to invigorate public media, increase independent public interest reporting, and improve citizen access to and engagement with high-quality information. MPI utilizes a broad definition of a community’s information needs, which includes information provided to the public by media, community institutions, and government. By tracking and critiquing policy initiatives at the federal level, as well as innovative media efforts in communities across the country, the Initiative reports on both the successes and failures in this interdisciplinary realm, along with their implications for the Knight Commission's recommendations.


  • Identify and recruit a cross-section of media thinkers and do-ers able to inform the policymaking processes ongoing at the FTC, FCC, and in Congress. 

  • Conduct assessments of local media ecosystems as a means of informing the debates in DC with diverse, outside-the-Beltway perspectives.

  • Build research collaborations among academics, media producers, entrepreneurs, and industry leaders.

  • Study the social and economic impacts of the ongoing disruption in media models.

  • Support business, government and social entrepreneurs pursuing pilot projects and proof-of-concept prototypes with data and analysis.

  • Support the development the Fellows many of whom are new to their role as policy entrepreneurs.

Policy Impacts & Interventions

The Media Policy Initiative is the newest initiative at the New America Foundation, but has already delivered some important thinking. In May 2010, MPI released a joint set of comments for the Federal Communications Commission’s Future of Media Project in collaboration with Free Press and the Media Access Project. The comments addressed the bulk of the questions raised in the FCC’s wide-ranging inquiry and sought to provide a set of solutions that would preserve the strengths of our legacy media, increase the potential of public media, and support the development of sustainable models that plug media gaps that have historically existed among poor and underserved communities in the future.

During the rest of 2010, MPI seeks to continue to develop its work across the country by collaborating with policy entrepreneurs working locally in communities across the U.S., as well as those working at the state level to pioneer new media models and to encourage policies that permit those models to operate sustainably.

Following our publication of two papers that examined the information ecologies of Seattle and Scranton, we expect to issue a number of additional information community case studies, as well as policy papers engaging questions of copyright and the role of journalism and communication schools in the emerging media ecosystem.

We are also pursuing research on various systems of measuring the health of local information ecologies.

Through these approaches and others, we hope to continue to uncover not only new models for media that support democracy in the digital age, but also new modes of collaborating with the diverse actors engaged in this field in D.C. and across the country.

For Additional Information, Contact:
Tom Glaisyer, Director
E-mail: glaisyer@newamerica.net