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Media Philanthropy in the Global Pandemic: A New Way or Business as Usual?

Panel Discussion
Media funders discussion: Tuesday, June 8 from 6-7 pm CET
Tuesday, June 8, 2021, 6:00 pm – 7:00 pm

Before the pandemic, CEU’s Center for Media, Data and Society conducted a series of interviews with leading media funders. These conversations reflected on foundations’ strategy and future planning, discussed trends, and shared challenges and opportunities for the philanthropic sector supporting independent media and journalism.

This session will serve to re-engage foundation colleagues and add new voices into the mix to revisit issues raised in the initial interviews and cover issues that have emerged more recently, including the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. These include:

  • Key changes in the media philanthropy landscape triggered by the pandemic
  • The greatest challenges facing independent media and journalism in 2021 and expectations for the upcoming years
  • Thoughts about the sustainability of independent media, especially following the economic impact of the pandemic including the latest trends in the changes in business models for journalism
  • The growing role of the governments in the media through funding and ownership
  • Future priorities for media philanthropy

Please click here to register


Miguel Castro is Strategy Lead – Global Communications Partnerships at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. He oversees its grant-making portfolio of strategic media, journalism, and communications partnerships. His work includes supporting activities for transition to the digital environment for media outlets around the world as well as developing new program areas and joint projects with development organizations, media, international broadcasters, and digital/social media platforms to jointly achieve social change. 

Nishant Lalwani is Managing Director of Luminate, where he is responsible for the philanthropic organization’s global strategy for funding independent media. This work includes work in investigative journalism, press freedom, combating misinformation, and innovative financial models for editorial independence. He also leads the work in narrative change across all its impact areas, and he oversees Luminate’s strategy, learning and impact, and partner support teams. 

Sue Valentine is the Acting Director of the Opening Journalism portfolio in the Open Society Foundations’ Program on Independent Journalism, based in London. She is responsible for advancing the portfolio’s aims to strengthen journalism’s ability to innovate and remain relevant to the societies it seeks to serve. This work includes providing critical support to start-ups seeking to enrich the public debate, to news outlets determined to grow in their capacity for storytelling, audience engagement or revenue, as well as to organizations experimenting with new ideas. 


Marius Dragomir, Center for Media, Data and Society, CEU Democracy Institute

Welcome Remarks

Jason Weedon, Director of Philanthropy and Strategic Partnerships, CEU