Knight, Gates Foundations Support Media Impact Project

The Norman Lear Center at the University of Southern California's Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism has announced grants totaling $3.25 million from the John S. and James L. Knight and Bill & Melinda Gates foundations in support of its Media Impact Project.

Despite advances in "big data," relatively primitive metrics are still used to assess audience engagement with media content and its effects on individual perceptions and behaviors. The project, which aims to help media organizations, journalists, and social change-makers expand their use of storytelling through data and impact measurement, will use the grant funds to develop metrics that are more robust than TV ratings, page views, retweets, and the like to determine how media influences people's awareness and actions 8212 a particular challenge for organizations looking to connect audiences with important social issues and support long-term change.

To that end, social and behavioral scientists, journalists, analytics experts, and other specialists affiliated with the center will work to test and create new ways to measure the impact of media. Content creators, distributors, and media funders will then be invited to apply these techniques to improve their work and strengthen audience engagement.

"We're delighted that Gates and Knight have recognized the Lear Center as a leader, and the Annenberg School as a center of excellence, in measuring media engagement and impact," said USC Annenberg dean Ernest L. Wilson.

"New Program Funded to Measure Media Impact and Audience Engagement." USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center Press Release 04/29/2013.