Let’s be honest; our media system is a mess. We’re overwhelmed with bad news and false info. Despite all of the platforms in the world, people still feel underrepresented, local outlets continue to struggle, and polarization is at an all-time high.

But have no fear—with our fab clients we are working to solve these problems. Read on to learn about our latest projects, articles and reports you can’t miss. If it’s all a little too much, we provide some diversion at the end.

If you’re new to this newsletter, you’re getting it because we’ve worked together, met at a conference, or have otherwise connected. We only send it every so often to keep down your inbox clutter.

We love our network! Let us know what you think and what you’ve been up to.

Enjoy your autumn,

Jessica Clark
Director, Dot Connector Studio

New and notable

Over the course of the past six months, the Dot Connector Studio team investigated the future of media, learning, technology and the open internet for the Wikimedia Foundation’s 2030 strategy process. We wrote seven research briefs and presented at the annual Wikimania Conference in Montreal in August.

Keep an eye out for our final report soon. Forecasting future trends for one of the web’s most-used public interest media projects has been exhilarating! In 2018, we’ll be digging deeper into speculative thinking with our existing partners—and some new ones, too. Stay tuned.

Nancy Watzman, our director of strategic initiatives, is leading Dot Connector Studio efforts to help the Knight Foundation in engaging the public around the work of the Knight Commission on Trust, Media and DemocracyOur work begins with the this Medium site, where we’ll be posting regular updates on the Commission’s work and other related resources and debates. Please visit and lend us your wisdom.

The whole team’s been hard at work analyzing and showcasing new directions in journalism for the Democracy fund. Don’t miss:

We’re gonna fix this news thing yet!

Over at Media Impact Funders, Jessica’s been working with Kelly Born of the Hewlett Foundation to organize a series of webinars on how media funders can combat misinformation. Read her recaps on the first and second webinars in the series, and join us for the third one.

We’ve got new blood here at Dot Connector Studio, with the addition of Junior Associate Michelle Polyak. A recent Oberlin College graduate with a B.A. in Art History. Polyak has previously worked at numerous art nonprofits and galleries in New York and Philadelphia, but this is her first foray into the media industry.

We’ve also updated our Twitter account—follow us: @DotCoStudio.

Introducing Impact Pack v. 2.5

Over the summer, we issued an updated version of our Impact Pack, a media strategy deck designed to help funders, makers and researchers plan and evaluate their engagement strategies. The updated deck includes two new cards; “trust” and “collaboration.”

The “trust” card is based on the many conversations we’ve been having around the country on lack of trust in the media and falls into the “outcomes” category of the deck. The “collaboration” card grew out of a need to add partnerships as an option in the “connectors” category of the deck.

Do you have an older deck? Want these new cards? Just fill out this survey.

Want a deck—or 20? Order here.


Launched in February, the Impact Pack has now been featured in workshops and presentations around the world, including the Greenpeace International Digital Camp in Amsterdam, the Central European University in Budapest, the Jakarta Global Forum for Media Development, the Story Money Impact Conference in Canada—not to mention U.S. film festivals and conferences such as AFI Docs Impact Lab, ComNet17, the Double Exposure Investigative Film Festival, and more.

Immerse yourself in emerging platforms

Since we last touched base in the spring, Immerse has published 6 issues and just celebrated its first birthday!

Want to join the conversation about emerging nonfiction storytelling? Dive into this publication, which Jessica launched last fall with the Tribeca Film Institute, MIT’s Open Documentary Lab, and the Fledgling Fund. Each month Immerse offers deep reads, upcoming events for digital storytellers, and conversations with makers and thinkers. 

We’re also launching a new series on Immerse based on a forthcoming research project by Kamal Sinclair: Making a New Reality. Funded by the Ford Foundation with supplemental support from the Sundance Institute, this series will explore ways to further equality in new media. Watch for more details in the November issue.

Here are highlights from the last few months:

Issue #9: We examine the accessibility of immersive media — who gets to make, experience and critique it? Check out “Who is VR For?” by Immerse producer Ingrid Kopp, this set of interviews featured at SXSW about the role of women in the field, and a report from the Allied Media Conference by Immerse editor-at-large Sarah Wolozin.

Issue #10: Why do i-Docs matter? This issue was curated by the editors of i-Docs: The Evolving Practices of Interactive Documentary and offers great insights on making, teaching about, and analyzing interactive documentaries.

Issue #11: We grapple with privacy in the realm of digital production. Immerse sat down with Mozilla’s Commissioning Editor Brett Gaylor and creative director/visiting researcher at MIT Open Doc Lab, Sandra Rodriguez to better understand how much is too much when it comes to collecting audience data.

Click here to see all of the past issues, and don’t miss an issue! 

Subscribe to the Immerse newsletter today.

We’ve also been busy…

  • Editing a report for AIR that offers strategies for journalists and audio producers seeking to tell more community-based stories.
  • Helping Capital Public Radio evaluate the impact of their Place and Privilege documentary project.
  • Working with Media Impact Funders to conduct research and convene conversations that reveal how our new political realities raise the stakes for media in the public interest. Check out a full listing of their recent events, and read about how funders are supporting alternatives to the all-Trump-all-the-time media.  

In our off hours…

  • Jessica is taking pictures of feisty bumper stickers, pondering the complexities of gender by reading sci fi novels such as The Power, Autonomous, and Too Like the Lightening—and appreciating the newly relevant benefits of working mostly with women.

  • Katie is chasing after her rambunctious nine-month-old and looking forward to sleeping again someday.

  • Nancy is shuttling kids to soccer games and swim meets, thinking about the Thanksgiving menu, and reading about Artificial Intelligence.

  • Carrie is rabble-rousing for public schools.

  • Angelica is brushing up on photography basics for an upcoming trip to India and searching for the perfect pair of new winter boots.
  • Michelle is scouring rescue shelters looking for the perfect dog to adopt.