MacArthur Foundation, ITVS partner for journalism initiative

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the MacArthur Foundation have formed a partnership to encourage collaboration between journalists and indie filmmakers.
January 30, 2015

The Independent Television Service (ITVS) and the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation have formed a partnership to encourage collaboration between journalists and indie filmmakers.

The project will see the MacArthur foundation giving ITVS funding to help partner with news organizations to distribute the videos and “experiment with new models of in-depth storytelling,” ITVS states. .

U.S. newspaper The Washington Post is among the first of those partners, and will select and offer ITVS videos on PostTV, while also periodically suggesting content themes for the video pipeline.

“While journalists excel at breaking news, independent filmmakers illuminate the personal, human stories behind the headlines,” said Sally Jo Fifer, president and CEO of ITVS and exec producer of PBS doc strand ‘Independent Lens,’ in a statement.

“If we can combine the journalist’s drive for immediacy and accuracy with the filmmaker’s knack for character, that’s an opportunity to create something new and strike up conversations on the essential issues of our time.”

Kathy Im, director of media, culture, and special initiatives at the MacArthur Foundation, added: “Documentaries play an increasingly vital role in informing the American public. It is our hope that documentary storytelling paired with journalism outlets can help humanize and contextualize serious, timely stories all over the world.”

The MacArthur Foundation has to date been most notable in the documentary world for its large, no-strings-attached ‘genius’ grants, which have been given to filmmakers such as Laura Poitras and Joshua Oppenheimer.

About The Author
Barry Walsh is editor and content director for realscreen, and has served as editor of the publication since 2009. With a career in entertainment media that spans two decades, prior to realscreen, he held the associate editor post for now defunct sister publication Boards, which focused on the advertising and commercial production industries. Before Boards, he served as editor of Canadian Music Network, a weekly music industry trade, and as music editor for As content director, he also oversees the development of content for the brand's market-leading events, the Realscreen Summit and Realscreen West, as well as new content initiatives.