Does medium matter? Exploring the role of virtual reality in journalism
April 30 2018
In this Knight Foundation-funded report, researchers from the Media Impact Project at the University of Southern California’s Norman Lear Center partnered with Frontline and Emblematic Group to explore the impact of using VR for journalism. They found that, relative to other platforms, VR can have a greater impact on holding attention and inspiring attitude and behavior changes. However, “the platform alone is not a magic bullet— it has unique affordances which, combined with effective storytelling and appropriate choice of subject matter, had an impact on a receptive audience.”
Media interventions and the Syrian crisis: Can we do more?
April 1 2018
How can media play a role in addressing humanitarian crises like the one in Syria? This white paper from cultural innovation studio CIEL, developed in collaboration with the nonprofit FilmAid, seeks to “create a deeper understanding of the role of media interventions as strategic drivers of impact on the ongoing Syrian crisis.” Through a landscape overview and a review of media-based programs FilmAid conducted in other countries, the analysis reveals “a need for increased transparency in funding and program evaluation,” and “a gap and opportunity in the field for community-centered and impact-driven communications.”
This special issue of the academic journal Digital Journalism, edited by Saint Louis University’s Matt Carlson, explores “measurable journalism”—i.e., “the cultural and material shift to digital platforms capable of providing real-time, individualizable, quantitative data about audience consumption practices.” In it, prominent researchers use a variety of research methods to examine the thorny issues involved with measuring journalistic impact and uncover new areas for future researchers to investigate.
This report, funded by the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, provides a four-part framework for measuring the progress of civic media—network building, holding space for discussion, distributing ownership and persistent input. It offers recommendations for funders and practitioners alike, including the recommendation that funders adequately fund impact evaluation by “build[ing] capacity of grantees to use qualitative evaluation frameworks and hold[ing] them accountable for regular updates.”
The promises, challenges, and futures of media literacy
February 1 2018
A report from the Data & Society Research Institute tracks the positive impact of media literacy education as well as the major challenges—including the lack of the kind of systematic evidence collection needed to fully understand all the dimensions of impact. One recommendation to bolster understanding is for funders already supporting this kind of work to collaborate on developing a national evidence base for media literacy.
Understanding public media’s most engaged podcast users
November 14 2017
The Knight Foundation commissioned Edison Research to conduct interviews with podcast listeners. They found that the most engaged podcast listeners—“super listeners”—tend to share specific characteristics including a “preference for in-depth content,” “a willingness to promote content to others, and reliance on word-of-mouth,” and “a loyalty to public media, and willingness to invest — even as broadcast consumption levels decline,” among other traits.
How the news media activate public expression and influence national agendas
November 10 2017
This multi-year study published in Science, in which 48 small media outlets were recruited to write articles on specific subjects on randomly assigned dates, finds that “exposure to the news media causes Americans to take public stands on specific issues, join national policy conversations, and express themselves publicly—all key components of democratic politics—more often than they would otherwise.”
A matter of space: Designing newsrooms for new digital practice
October 18 2017
This report from API examines how redesigning physical newsroom spaces can “better support the behaviors, workflows and attitudes required in an adaptive, modern media company,” which can lead to an increase in collaboration and innovation. Some are also incorporating impact metrics into physical design by displaying analytics on the walls.
Data-driven reporting: An on-going (r)evolution? An analysis of projects nominated for the Data Journalism Awards 2013–2016
October 17 2017
New research published in Journalism, an academic research journal, examines hundreds of award-nominated international data journalism projects and finds that the field has not advanced much over the past four years: Data journalism remains labor intensive, mostly conducted by newspapers using “pre-processed public data” and largely focused on politics.
The annual Newsroom Employment Diversity Survey from the American Society of News Editors (ASNE) surveyed 661 newsrooms in the U.S. and found that minority journalists make up 16.6 percent of staff. Over a quarter of news organizations reported having at least one minority editor among their top three editors, and nearly three quarters report having at least one female editor among their top three. See a visualization of this year’s survey results as well as historical trends on an interactive website created in partnership with Google News Lab.
Research from the International Center for Journalists (ICFJ), conducted with researchers from Georgetown University, reveals—among other findings—that analytics are not a high priority for a significant number of news organizations. For example, 19 percent of those surveyed “rarely or never” access analytics data, and of the 21 analytics metrics presented in the survey, “only five are used regularly by the majority of newsrooms.”
Report: Comparing models of collaborative journalism
September 20 2017
Many news outlets are finding they can increase their impact through collaborative journalism efforts. This study from the Center for Cooperative Media takes a close look at the different models for such collaborations, including “temporary and separate,” “temporary and co-creating,” “temporary and integrated,” “ongoing and separate,” “ongoing and co-creating,” and “ongoing and integrated.”