Investing in Impact

The Center for Social Media and The Media Consortium have a released a new report on the necessity of evaluating public media, entitled “Investing in Impact: Media Summits Reveal Pressing Needs, Tools for Evaluating Public Interest Media”:

Needs include:

1) Getting on the same page: Developing shared categories of impact assessment
2) Following the story: Tracking the movement of content and frames across platforms and over time
3) Contextualizing the anecdotal: Refining methods for analyzing shifts in public awareness, deliberation and
4) Understanding our users: Creating more sophisticated profiles of audience demographics, habits and concerns
5) Moving beyond market assumptions: Defining the uses and limitations of commercial metrics schemes for
assessing public interest media

Proposed tools to help public interest media makers assess their impact include:

1) Putting it all in one place: Building a unified social media dashboard
2) Chasing the frame: Building a social issue buzz tracker
3) Telling your story of impact: Developing model formats and processes for strategically communicating outcomes
4) Asking the right questions: Creating common survey tools for evaluation and audience assessment
5) Identifying networks: Creating a suite of tools that track the growth, health and effectiveness of networks

Last, but not least, we outline why funding for joint impact assessment projects is the true “killer app.”

The report also makes a great statement that echoes the Transmission Project’s priority of community engagement over community awareness:

To be clear, effectiveness is not synonymous with advocacy. Traditional journalistic values include holding the powerful to account, engaging users in dialogue about issues, and delivering timely, relevant information—all outcomes that can be tracked. Shifts in technology and user habits mean that old assumptions about what constitutes impact must be reconsidered. Simply reporting on an issue or community is no longer the final outcome in an era of multiplatform, participatory communication.

This report developed out of a series of Impact Summits held around the country, in which our Director Belinda Rawlins participated.


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Transmission Project