The Meaningful Content Fund, a philanthropic venture started by native ad software company Sharethrough, is helping storytelling evolve by putting paid distribution dollars behind the web’s best stories.
Sharethrough hopes to shift the focus of the Internet and its users toward content that enriches lives, rather than tabloid-style writing, celebrity obsessions and clickbait.
The Meaningful Content Fund emerged in response to two primary observations of the state of online content.
Storytellers are everywhere
First, the team at Sharethrough recognized a burgeoning movement of storytellers embracing new digital tools to create meaningful narratives.
The second is the realization that many of these stories are being drowned out by cat GIFs and “10 Things You Never Knew” listicles.
The goal of the Meaningful Content Fund is to find the best, underappreciated digital storytelling and help it rise above the clutter of the web.
Meaning is a function of change
The Meaningful Content Fund Advisory Board—a group of tech and media entrepreneurs who want to nurture this movement; work with our team of curators to hand-pick the web’s best stories.
Chartbeat CEO Tony Haile had the right idea, shared at the Native Ad Summit.
“The way we’ve been valuing content is oddly wrong,” said Haile. “Through the MCF we’re trying to identify underappreciated content – not just what can go viral, but what people are actually spending time and engaging with.”
James Buckhouse, head of innovation and growth at Twitter, believes “meaning can be a function of change."
"Having MCF to share these stories is making us think about what we’re sending out to the rest of the world — are we sending bad stories or stories that inspire people?” As a former animator at Dreamworks, story is truly in Buckhouse’s DNA.
Similarly, Haile understood that it's not as simple as the cream rising to the top in today's overcrowded, content-filled online world.
“In an ideal world, this fund wouldn’t have to exist,” said Haile. "But so many of the stories you hear about are the lowest common denominator.”
The team at Sharethrough said it is excited to uncover the truths behind why certain stories resonate.
To see which stories have already won grants or to submit your own stories for consideration, visit meaningfulcontent.org.