Archive for media impact
How can we translate awareness into action?
If you’re a regular news consumer in the United States you might get the impression that world is going to hell. Especially when it comes to international news, you’ve probably recoiled from the grizzly headlines and wondered how on earth, in the 21st century, we find ourselves surrounded by such barbarism, poverty, and countless other intractable global ills.
Unless you’re a global development professional, or someone who’s watched one of Hans Roslings’ acerbic TED videos, you probably wouldn’t know about all of the absolutely mind-boggling improvements that have been made to the quality of life for billions of people around the globe.
Unfortunately, the great successes of the Millennium Development Goals, didn’t exactly make front page news. In the financially failing news industry, the international beat is the most expensive to cover, and with the public dead-set against increasing foreign aid and selfishly focused on its own backyard, news outlets don’t have the best incentives to report on boring things like the MDG targets that were met. Little old things like . . .
- Goal 1: Extreme poverty was reduced from 47% to 14% in developing nations.
- Goal 2: 91% of kids in the developing world are receiving primary education.
- Goal 3: The developing regions as a whole achieved the target for gender equality in primary, secondary and tertiary education.
- Goal 4: The mortality rate for children under five has declined by more than half.
- Goal 5: There was a 45% decline in maternal mortality.
- Goal 6: There was a 45% decrease in HIV infections, a 58% drop in the malaria mortality rate, and a 45% drop in the TB mortality rate.
- Goal 7: 2.6 billion people now have access to better water – this target was achieved five years ahead of schedule.
- Goal 8: Despite public opinion, we’ve seen a 66% increase in development assistance.
Pleasantly surprised? Perhaps a little more inclined to follow the progress of the Sustainable Development Goals, which just launched in January?
Well, the UN hopes you will be. But, beyond injecting capital into the news industry, how do NGOs, governments and global development activists figure out a way to reach and engage the public? Read the rest of this entry »
The New York Times devoted significant ink this week to The Participant Index (TPI), an effort by Participant Media to quantify and compare the relative social impact of films, TV shows and online video. The article also mentioned the Lear Center’s $4.2 million Media Impact Project: I’m the co-principal investigator on that project and we’ve been consulting with Participant on the development of TPI.
Here’s a little back story: Participant approached the Lear Center because of its academic expertise in measuring the impact of educational messages embedded in entertainment content. Our Hollywood, Health & Society program (for which I wrote the initial grant) has partnered with the CDC for the last 14 years to look at how health story lines in popular TV shows affect viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior. The survey component of TPI includes a combination of questions that have become standard in entertainment education evaluation: the “transportation scale” identifies the type of emotional involvement that the entertainment content triggered and the outcome questions indicate what real-world actions a subject has taken after exposure to the content. TPI combines these two measures to create a score for each piece of video content in the study. Read the rest of this entry »