At the Media Impact Project, our mission is to understand the effects of media on viewers. We also strive to apply acquired knowledge to projects that serve the social good, and to be a thought leader on research issues in our field. This means we assume two distinctly different roles: the “critical friend” of the evaluator and the impartiality of the researcher.
By evaluating the work of individual documentarians, journalists, and other media makers, we help find ways to improve engagement opportunities with audiences on a micro level. In studying the general effects of media on society, we contribute to the greater body of research on this topic that touches us all. These are important distinctions to make, as evaluations of specific programs or films provides us with information about the whats -- audience demographics and how audiences responded, what actions they took, and if their behaviors changed; research on that same show can help us to understand the whysof media impact -- what was it about the program that sparked the response, spurred the action, or shifted behaviors.
Our distinctive contribution lies in our abilities to conduct innovative research and to apply extensive knowledge of media impact to current entertainment and news shows. Our position within the Norman Lear Center at USC Annenberg provides us with the resources of a leading university situated in the heart of the entertainment industry, making us uniquely-qualified in the field. We are always looking for new media and research partners … please contact us if you have a show or project that you would like to discuss!
Our Background In 2012, with funding from the Gates, Knight, and Open Society Foundations, the Lear Center founded the Media Impact Project (MIP) to conduct independent research and evaluation contributing to a greater understanding of media effects on society. Our partners include media makers such and philanthropies interested in working through media to promote the social good. We create and conduct program evaluation, develop and test research hypotheses, and publish and promote thought leadership on the role of media in social change.
MIP has developed a track record for supporting a wide variety of news and media organizations in evaluating the impact of their efforts. By implementing longitudinal survey research, mixed methods research, custom media metrics, audience development metrics and hands-on media metrics workshops, we have helped advanced the field of media impact measurement. Through our series of media metrics handbooks, our workshops, our public speaking engagements, and consultations with funders and media makers and organizations across the spectrum, we have shared the knowledge and helped establish ourselves as trust- ed experts and conveners in the field.