“Anger and hope”: Why the Parkland survivors are winning the social-media war
February 20 2018
Why have the teenage survivors of the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, been so effective at focusing attention and demanding action on gun issues? In part, it’s because of their “innate understanding of the social-media ecosystem.” These students, digital natives who already use these social media platforms in their daily lives, are telling their own stories and disseminating messages instantly over social media. What’s more, they are not shying away from participating in public debates with policymakers.
Fake news and bots may be worrisome, but their political power is overblown
February 13 2018
Many people are concerned about the impact of bots and misinformation, which can “mislead and polarize citizens, undermine trust in the media, and distort the content of public debate.” However, Dartmouth Professor Brendan Nyhan points out that bots actually may not have that strong of an effect on changing people’s minds—in fact, research indicates that “most forms of political persuasion seem to have little effect at all.”
Four ways to incorporate a gender lens in your measurement and evaluation efforts
January 31 2018
Social change consulting firm FSG provides guidance for foundations and other organizations seeking to use gender equity as part of an evaluation framework. These steps include: using gender-sensitive measures to document changes in gender equity; collecting qualitative data; disaggregating data by sex and/or gender throughout the entire research cycle; and keeping track of unintended consequences.
As emojis become further embedded in our lives, how can journalists find the stories inside?
January 24 2018
How can journalists and researchers better understand the impact of emojis? Data journalists have begun to examine emoji usage in limited ways, but journalism falls short of other industries in seriously considering wide scale emoji trends and implications: “While journalists certainly have invested heavily in data reporting amid resource restraints, no newsrooms have been regularly parsing what’s been called the fastest-growing type of communication in its two decades of existence.”
This new blockchain protocol wants to create accountability for social impact
January 5 2018
South Africa’s Ixo Foundation is developing a “proof of impact” protocol that enables a project to document markers of impact (such as when a tree is planted or a film is screened) and store them via blockchain. “This enables the claim of impact to be verified as legitimate and for funders thousands of miles away to see that their money has been well spent.” In addition, it creates “a new asset class, a cryptographic token that’s issued as the claim is authenticated,” which could inform how funders evaluate investments in the future.
MediaShift asked 10 impact experts to share their predictions for media metrics in 2018. From focusing on emotional responses, to prioritizing transparency over vanity metrics, to developing new models and organizations as existing ones learn that “platforms are not their friend,” these experts offer a range of ideas of what we’ll likely see unfold over the coming year.
The 3 types of news subscribers: Why they pay and how to convert them
December 7 2017
The second phase of the Media Insight Project, a collaboration between the American Press Institute and the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research, probes how news organizations can learn from the emotional and behavioral motivations that lead people to subscribe to publications or not. It identifies three main types of news subscribers: the “civically committed,” “thrifty transactors” and “elusive engagers.”
After a decade, it’s time to reinvent social media in newsrooms
November 14 2017
News organizations need to overhaul their social media strategies, according to this strategy study from the American Press Institute. News outlets are still largely without long-term social media strategies, and they are rarely using social media to engage directly with readers or correct misinformation. This study posits ideal uses for news organizations’ social media strategies, including using social media for accountability reporting, to combat misinformation, and to foster trust with audiences.
How to tell the story of metrics inside your news organization
November 10 2017
In this talk from Poynter’s Measuring Journalism conference, thought leader Ryan Sholin provides guidance on how to select meaningful metrics for an organization’s particular goals, make them actionable, and create insightful reports that “ban the scourge of ‘copypastism’ from your analytics routines.”
News shared on Twitter can drive the conversation, study finds
November 9 2017
A recent study published in Science finds that “even a handful of stories by mostly small publications can boost Twitter traffic on topics such as race or climate by 63 percent over the course of a week, relative to a typical day’s traffic on that subject.” The study, which had small publications serve as active participants in the research, provided participating outlets with the opportunity to assess their impact and influence in a new way. Critics find the study “methodologically ingenious” although whether the findings are “substantively important” remains to be seen.
Program evaluations can be helpful for funders and for organizations considering similar projects, but reading them can be time-consuming. Rebekah Levin, director of evaluation and learning for the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, offers suggestions for discerning whether a program evaluation is worth reading. In addition to including detailed methodology, relevant context, and information about populations served, it “has to be an evaluation and not a PR piece.”
Viewers favor visuals in news stories, especially millennials
October 27 2017
A survey of 1,000 random participants from content producer Arkadium and research organization Toluna finds that users find news stories with visuals to be more trustworthy, and are more likely to visit news sites that consistently incorporate visuals into news coverage. The study “suggests that pairing a news headline with an image or video is much more likely to drive reader engagement and click-throughs.”