We expect a lot from our stories these days. We may want them to bring people together, or to call them to action. But how, exactly, can stories make a difference? Our How Do We Know research, focus groups, and workshops bring together creatives, funders, advocates, and evaluators to ask: What does story-fueled impact look like? What are we learning, and what are the consequences of measurement? Read more.
RAKES are stories that scratch the surface of an issue to engage people with different perspectives around common values.
TROWELS dig in deeply and deliberately to plant a seed of advocacy.
SPRINKLERS facilitate new growth from a wide array of storytellers, not just a single creator.
TRELLISES are stories that help movements grow by affirming, directing, and heightening the visibility of existing efforts.
SHOVELS - usually investigative in nature - dig for the truth and expose alarming information
WHEELBARROWS transport audiences through a strong narrative structure but refrain from offering simple solutions.
Our informal focus groups and research suggest that, when it comes to measuring impact, people have a lot to say.
Why not measure to see if we’re right, to learn more about what’s working and what’s not. Bring it on.
We’re dedicated to measuring impact because we want to know if our media grantmaking strategies are working and how to advance the field.
Funders aren’t looking at proposals that don’t promise ‘measurable change.’ I don’t even submit projects anymore that aren’t trying to have a specific impact. So yes, we’re censoring ourselves.
When we consider funding media, we need to be able to prove who it influences. We have to ask: 'Are there cheaper, more cost effective ways to get where we’re trying to go?'
People come up to me after screenings in tears saying, ‘it changed the way I think.’ How do you put metrics on that?
Our policy is NOT to ask media makers about their measurable objectives at the beginning of a project. How could they possibly know - that early on? - (Besides, you’re setting yourself up for a bull#&$% answer…)
It’s hard when foundations are interested in outreach goals and objectives but don’t want to contribute to the production of the film. This limits impact because filmmakers are always struggling, and so it can be difficult to reach long-term objectives.
If you have an opinion, sentiment, or under-expressed idea about measuring the impact of media, please share with us.
Thursday, May 18th, 2017
by Johanna Blakley, Managing Director at the Norman Lear Center *This is the second post in our new “Ask the Evaluators!” series, exploring real-world assessment of recent media projects to help you make informed decisions about what can be measured, and good questions to ask along the way. Stay tuned for future posts and click here to see…Read more...