The Media Consortium is pleased to release a mini-report in collaboration with the Center for Social Media. Investing in Impact: Media Summits Reveal Pressing Needs, Tools for Evaluating Public Interest Media was developed out a series of “Media Impact Summits” that took place in seven cities around the country throughout the first quarter of 2010.
Jessica Clark of CSM and Tracy Van Slyke of TMC drew together dozens of leading public interest media makers, funders and researchers from Chicago, New York, Miami, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Boston to address the question that many media makers are asking themselves: “How do you know your media matters?”
Insights from those summits are the basis for Investing in Impact, which outlines the major arguments for assessing impact, synthesizes the five top impact evaluation needs, and proposes five new tools for public interest media assessment. As a quick highlight, the five overarching needs expressed by summit attendees include:
- Getting on the same page: Developing shared categories of impact assessment
- Following the story: Tracking the movement of content and frames across platforms and over time
- Contextualizing the anecdotal : Refining methods for analyzing shifts in public awareness, deliberation and behavior
- Understanding our users: Creating more sophisticated profiles of audience demographics, habits and concerns
- Moving beyond market assumptions: Defining the uses and limitations of commercial metrics schemes for assessing public interest media
And the five proposed tools to help public interest media makers assess their impact include:
- Putting it all in one place: Building a unified social media dashboard
- Chasing the frame: Building a social issue buzz tracker
- Telling your story of impact: Developing model formats and processes for strategically communicating outcomes
- Asking the right questions: Creating common survey tools for evaluation and audience assessment
- Identifying networks: Creating a suite of tools that track the growth, health and effectiveness of networks
We encourage you to read and download the analysis (see below) and share it with your colleagues and peers. We also hope that you feel free to leave comments at one or or both of our web sites. If you would like to tweet about the report, please use the hashtag #mediaimpact.
We hope Investing in Impact begins to answer the questions of many public interest media makers, funders and allies on why and how to define and assess impact. CSM and TMC are both committed to continuing this conversation and working with partners to test out these theories and build out proposed tools.