Stephen Colbert

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Behind the scenes with the Gates Foundation’s ‘strategic media partners’ | 

media horde Flickr
Flickr, MMR d

Just kidding.

I wasn’t actually allowed behind the scenes at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s recent meeting in Seattle entitled “Strategic Media Partnerships.”

The Gates Foundation funds a lot of media – more than $25 million in media grants for 2012 (but still less than 1% of the budget). 

I’m media but I wasn’t invited. I asked if I could come and report on it, but was told the meeting was off the record. Those attending included representatives from the New York Times, NPR, the Guardian, NBC, Seattle Times and a number of other news organizations, non-profit groups and foundations. Not all were grant recipients, or partners. Some just came to consult.

Spoiler alert: Nothing sinister happened. But there’s still a story here.

The public doesn’t see much coverage of the media’s collaboration with the Gates Foundation. Yet it’s substantial, influential and, despite the media’s distaste for reporting on itself, I feel compelled. So here’s my news analysis…. Continue reading

“Here’s to the geeks” – Bill Gates on Colbert Report | 

Bill Gates was on the Colbert Report to talk about the foundation’s humanitarian work and his annual letter. It’s encouraging to hear the audience cheer for reductions in global child mortality and ridding the world of polio! And Bill seemed to be having fun. Stephen Colbert asked Bill if he thought data was more important than passion and, perhaps surprising to some, Bill said passion, commitment is more important. But data and measurement, he said, makes passion more effective.

At one point, Colbert also asked Bill if he realized he wasn’t as cool as the late Steve Jobs. “You don’t have the cool factor, no offense,” said Colbert. Bill acknowledged he probably wasn’t as cool as Jobs. Bill: “It’s okay … He had his own style; I guess mine is a little geekier.” Actually, I think that made Bill look pretty cool.

Melinda Gates on Colbert Report, family planning and ‘going to hell’ | 

Stephen Colbert asks fellow Catholic Melinda Gates how she can support family planning and take the risk of going to hell as well as potentially making the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation into a “slut factory.”

Melinda holds her own, repeatedly refuses to take Colbert’s bait and makes the case for family planning. Here’s more info about the philanthropy’s upcoming events and plans in this arena from the Gates Foundation’s Impatient Optimists blog.

Here’s Geekwire’s take on the humorous interview.