The Public Media Stack Summit
May 14-15,
Metro 599, NYC

What is the Public Media Stack Summit?

This was a two day summit to explore the idea of a Public Media Stack - an ecosystem of technologies that can support public media projects in an ethical and sustainable way.

The summit developed out of two blog posts on the idea of a Public Media Stack by Matt Locke in Jan 2019. Over the last decade, the rise of monopolising platforms like Google, Facebook, Amazon and Apple has created ethical, strategic and tactical issues for digital public media projects. It’s now almost impossible to develop a successful public media project without relying on these platforms for storage, distribution, reach, or audience engagement. This means that public media projects have to exist within platforms that do not always share their ethics and values, and investment in public media ends up supporting the growth of these platforms.

This doesn’t have to be the case in the future. In ten years time we could have a sustainable ecosystem of ethical, independent, technologies to support public media projects without exploiting the data, content or relationships that are critical to successful public media.

If we want this future to happen, we have to start by building a map of what a Public Media Stack could look like. From this, we can build a way of tracking progress towards this goal over the next ten years, and ways to support and invest in technologies that share public media values and ethics

What happened at the first Summit in NYC?

The first summit focused on three things - testing the working model of a Public Media Stack from the original blog posts; developing a list of critical features and values for each element of the Public Media Stack; and compile a list of existing projects and initiatives that deliver to each element of the Stack.

The Summit was an incredible success - we had three fantastic panels exploring the core issues facing the Public Media Stack, and then workshops that produced a detailed list of over 130 existing software products that public media orgs already use. We are now working on the outputs of the workshop to produce the first Public Media Stack report in June/July 2019.

The aim is to make the annual Public Media Stack Report a major event in the public media and technology calendar - like the WWF Living Planet Report, it will be an annual summary of the health of the Public Media Stack as an ecosystem, and will act as a guide to technology decisions for organisations working in public media. It will also identify areas that need investment, potentially informing the investment strategies of foundations and investors committed to supporting public media.

We’re want to involve as many people as possible in the production of the first report, so we’re sharing plans, research questionnaires and drafts via the weekly project newsletter. If you’d like to be involved, you can subscribe using the form below:

What happens next, and how can I help?

After the summit, we’re working on analysing the outcomes from the workshops, commissioning more research, and developing the first report. Here’s the current timetable for this work:

May 20-31:
Review and write-up transcripts and outputs from summit
Develop the structure for profiling each software product in the Public Media Stack
Follow up conversations with potential funders for the report

June 3-21:
Launch further research with public media projects in US and EU
Produce first draft of profiles for 130+ software products in Public Media Stack
Develop final structure for first Public Media Stack report

June 24th-July 19th:
Write up first report and profiles
Share first draft of report with project partners and subscribers
Plan launch for first report

July 22nd-26th:
Launch of first Public Media Stack Report

We’re currently looking for funders to help us with the commissioning, research and production costs for the first report.

If you’d be interested in funding or sponsoring the report, please get in touch with Matt Locke at Storythings.

Who was at the first summit?

We invited about 50 people already for the first summit, including people working on public media projects, public media technology, and foundations/funders of public media projects. Here’s the list of attendees at the first workshop:


Matt Locke, Director, Storythings
Ben Werdmuller, VP Product Development, Unlock

Kilian Schalk, Founder / PurpleGray
Simon Galperin, GroundSource
Brian Dell, Innovation Strategist, Consensys
Alicia Kennedy, Freelance Writer
Jereme Bivins, Principal, Good Dog Strategies
Kaarina Nikunen, Professor, Tampere University
Jessica Clark, Founder/Director, Dot Connector Studio
Tony Ageh, Chief Digital Officer- New York Public Library
Florian Hager, Managing Director funk(ARD/ZDF)
Bertram Gugel, Gugelproductions
Alexis Lloyd, Head of Design Innovation & Product Experience, Automattic
Fred Graver, Self employed producer/ writer/ media consultant
Corey Ford, Managing Director, Matter Ventures
Andrew Losowsky, Head of Coral at Vox Media
Elizabeth Minkel, Editor of How We Get To Next
Gabe Stein, Product Developer, PubPub
Libby Horacek, Software developer, Position Development (lead developer of a membership platform for independent magazines)
Andrew Haeg, CEO GroundSource
Simon Galperin, GroundSource
Molly Scwartz, Metropolitan New York Library Council
Federico Gaggio, Media Advisor, DO & COMPANY
Opeyemi Olukemi Executive Producer, POV Spark
Allan Donald, Head of Product, Curation, Authoring and Metadata at BBC News
Brian Waniewski, Executive Director, Harmony Labs
Molly McArdle, Associate editor, Increment
Nate Hill, Executive Director, Metropolitan New York Library Council
Neil Sieling, Public Media Architect
Ben Arnon, CEO & Co-Founder, Color Farm Media
Heather Bryant, Founder, Project Facet
Joan Shigekawa, Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center and United States Artists: National Boards
Minna Horowitz, Researcher, University of Helsinki - St. John's University; Coordinator of the Global Public Service Media Experts Network
Luke Swarthout, Director of Policy NYPL Digital
Nathaniel Landau, Chief Digital Officer, New York Public Radio/WNYC
Nozlee Samadzadeh, Senior full stack engineer, Chorus team, Vox Media
Warrington Hudlin, Vice-Chairman Museum of the Moving Image
Dave Rice, Archivist, CUNY Television
Mike Janssen, Digital Editor, Current
Peter Herdrich, Project Director, Digital Library of the Middle East
Marisa Mazria Katz, Editorial Director, Eyebeam Center for the Future of Journalism
Christopher Berry, Director, Product Intelligence, Canadian Broadcasting Corporation
Emily Goligoski, Research Director for the Membership Puzzle Project

Summit Schedule

Day One - Tuesday May 14th

9.30 - Arrivals and coffee

10.00 - Intro and vision for the Public Media Stack
10.30 - Panel One: Ethical

Kaarina Nikunen -  Professor of Media and Communication Research, Tampere University
Tony Ageh - Chief Digital Officer, NYPL
Alexis Lloyd - Head of Design Innovation & Product Experience, Automattic
Andrew Losowsky - Head of Coral, VoxMedia

11.45 - Panel Two: Strategic
Nozlee Samadzadeh - Senior Full Stack Engineer, Vox Media
Ben Werdmuller - Product Development, Unlock Inc
Allan Donald - Head of Product, Curation, Authoring and Metadata, BBC News

13.00 - Lunch

14.00 - Panel Three: Tactical
Simon Galperin - GroundSource
Killian Schalk - Founder, PurpleGray
Emily Goligoski, Research Director for the Membership Puzzle Project
Misa Ogura - Software Engineer, BBC R&D

15.15 - Workshop One: Developing The Stack Model
Split into groups to discuss issues and drivers for each of the three layers of the stack - Ethical, Strategic and Tactical

Google Form for this workshop

16.30 - Report back from each group

17.30 - End

Day Two - Wednesday May 15th

9.30 - Arrivals/coffee

10.00 - Recap of Day One
10.30 - Workshop Two: Mapping the projects in the Stack
Break into three groups to discuss existing projects that fit into the Public Media Stack:
What services do these projects provide?
How are they structured/funded?
What are the risks/opportunities for these projects in the next year?

Google Form for this workshop

12.30 - Groups report back

13.30 - Lunch

14.30 - Workshop Three: Designing the Stack Report
Break into three groups to discuss how the Public Media Stack report can be most useful for different stakeholder groups:
Public Media Projects
Tech Projects
Foundations/Investors
16.00 - Report back and next steps

17.30 - End