Democracy and the Internet may not be as compatible as many had hoped.
The “fake news” allegations of 2016 re-focused attention on longer-standing concerns about echo chambers, filter bubbles, declining journalistic revenue models and a range of issues in the online information space.
Earlier this year, we discussed the ways in which we’ll be continuing to improve our Assessing the Impact of Media (AIM) Initiative throughout 2017, and highlighted how we’ve been thinking about media impact and strategy so far. Since our subscriber list for the AIM newsletter has more than doubled in the past year, we wanted to take a moment to orient newcomers to this important part of our work. So, here’s a quick update on our recent progress, plus an FAQ on how to make the most of the AIM tools and resources we collect.
Last month, we headed down to Gainesville, Fla., for the annual Frank gathering of people who use communications to drive social change. This year, the conference felt more necessary than ever. Many of us in the social-change sector are looking for answers to how we continue our work in a culture that not only rejects facts and science, but one that also—thanks to sophisticated social media algorithms that tailor content specifically to our interests and the echo chambers that result—seemingly cannot distinguish between real information, unintentional misinformation and intentional disinformation.
Podcasting is burgeoning, as we document in a new report we wrote for the Knight Foundation, From Airwaves to Earbuds: Lessons from Knight Investments in Digital Audio and Podcasting. Digital distribution options are allowing media makers to bypass traditional radio broadcasters to reach listeners directly through a growing number of apps and non-broadcast networks. However, tracking the impact of these efforts is still a tough prospect—one that mirrors the challenges faced by many makers who create content for emerging platforms.
At the Einhorn Family Charitable Trust (EFCT), we focus as much on helping grantee partners become stronger organizations as on helping them achieve greater impact. These priorities go hand-in-hand, and we invest in the capacity our partners need to enhance and expand their work over time. In supporting a partner’s path to higher performance, we apply—and encourage—a learning and continuous improvement focus rather than sticking to an expected outcome.
Up in the lofty reaches of theory, the case for the impact of news is clear: Reporters report facts in good faith, and audiences consume these stories and deliberate with others who might not share their perspectives. In the process, they’re better informed to act in their role as citizens, and a better democracy results. Down here in the trenches of 2016, though, the impact story is much messier.
By Jessica Clark | director of strategy and research, Media Impact Funders By Katie Donnelly | research consultant, Media Impact Funders
Last month, NPR decided to remove comments from its site altogether, noting that user engagement was higher through other channels, and that comments were frequently not leading to productive conversations.
Producing a high-impact media project can be a befuddling prospect. What starts as a germ of an idea—“Let’s fund a film about X to solve Y!”—quickly snowballs into a social media campaign to reach Z, an app to accomplish A and B, and so on. And then there are all those outcomes to track for each platform. How are funders and grantees supposed to keep this all in their heads?
Media projects are often judged primarily on their own merit. When it comes to gauging impact, however, context rather than content can be king. Mapping tools can help to reveal that context, making it easier to both design outreach and assess outcomes.
Here are five mapping strategies to consider: Read more