READING, PA (February 20, 2020) – Each year, the Knight Foundation provides a gathering space for leaders from journalism, technology, philanthropy, and civic organizations like libraries who care deeply about the future of news and information in their communities.

And each year, I wish I could take the whole of Berks County’s nonprofit community with me to hear the speakers discuss the latest trends. Why? Because having a well-informed community impacts an organization’s ability to do its work, to tell its story, and to understand the people it serves.

While I can’t take everyone with me, this year anyone who is interested can attend the Knight Media Forum free of charge because much of it is being livestreamed.

Knight Media Forum 2020 livestreaming

I’ve been fortunate to be a “scribe” at the Knight Media Forum for many years. My role is to sit in on sessions and draft reports about them that are posted later for everyone to read. As a result, I’ve had a front-row seat to the changes wrought by social media, technology, and shifting revenue streams.

It was my time at the Knight Media Forum, in fact, that helped the Community Foundation understand why it was critical to provide funding nearly a decade ago to help BCTV reinvent as a community information site.

Heidi Williamson serves as a scribe during the Knight Media Forum 2019.

Heidi Williamson serves as a scribe during the Knight Media Forum 2019.

Unfortunately, Berks County has not been immune to the national upheaval in the news industry. Hardest hit have been the local newspapers, who find themselves with fewer traditional reporters on the street to cover community meetings and dig deep on important topics, while the journalists who remain work twice as hard to keep us informed.

And yet, according to the Pew Research Center, 71% of US adults say they think the local news media is doing well financially, while only 14% of adults paid for local news in the past year.

There’s no better place to learn about those trends and how they impact your ability to be well-informed about your community than at the Knight Media Forum.

Here’s the link for the livestream:

Here is a link to the full agenda of sessions that will be livestreamed:

And here are a few sessions that may be of particular interest:

Tuesday, February 25:

12:15 – 2 p.m.: Recode Decode: A conversation with Univision’s Jorge Ramos
Jorge Ramos, Anchor, Journalist, Univision; Kara Swisher, Co-founder, Recode and New York Times Contributor. Introduction: Jennifer Preston, Vice President/Journalism, Knight Foundation. This plenary will be taped for an upcoming episode of Swisher’s podcast.

4 – 5 p.m.: The internet unleashed: The growing challenge of hateful content online
Safiya Umoja Noble, Associate Professor, UCLA; Talal Ansari, Reporter, The Wall Street Journal; Joan Donovan, Director of Technology and Social Change, Harvard’s Shorenstein Center; Ethan Zuckerman, Director of the Center for Civic Media, MIT. Introduction: Sam Gill, Senior Vice President and Chief Program Officer, Knight Foundation

Wednesday, February 26

8:30 – 9:15 a.m.: Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Inventor, World Wide Web

9:20 – 10:20 a.m. : Amplifying voices from underrepresented communities
Maria Hinojosa, President and Founder, Futuro Media Group; Jeff Hirota, CEO, Community Foundation Boulder County; Martin Reynolds, Co-Executive Director, Maynard Institute. Moderator: Jennifer Choi, News Integrity Initiative, Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY. Introduction: Karen Rundlet, Director/Journalism, Knight Foundation

10:30 – 11:15 a.m. : Making issues move: the role of data and digital in elections
A conversation with Teddy Goff, Founding Partner, Precision Strategies, former Digital Director, Obama for America 2012 and Ory Rinat, Deputy Assistant to the President and Chief Digital Officer, The White House. Moderator: Judy Woodruff, Anchor and Managing Editor, PBS NewsHour

12:45 – 2:15 p.m. : Creating value not content: The importance of original reporting
A.G. Sulzberger, Publisher, The New York Times. Introduction: Alberto Ibargüen, President, Knight Foundation


Hope to “see” you there!


Heidi Williamson
Senior Vice President for Programs and Initiatives
Berks County Community Foundation