“Can We Measure Media Impact?” That is the driving question behind a pair of articles that appear in the Fall 2015 issue of SSIR. As nonprofit news outlets become an ever more prominent element of the media environment, those organizations and their funders are becoming ever more attentive to the problem of determining whether they are reaching an audience and whether they are making a difference in the world. In “Reading Between the Lines,” the second of those articles, Chip Giller and Katharine Wroth cite the work of the Media Impact Project (MIP), an initiative based at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

To supplement the article, we share two items that illustrate what MIP is aiming to accomplish—and what media organizations and their funders can hope to accomplish when it comes to measuring impact. We present this material in its original form and with the permission of the Media Impact Project.

As Giller and Wroth explain in their article, MIP is developing an ambitious measurement system that will enable media professionals to gather and analyze a wide array of data—from both online and offline sources—about who accesses their content and how people respond to that content. To summarize the scope and purpose of the system, MIP created a brief video segment.

The Media Impact Project Measurement System

“You might think that a Facebook like isn’t going to tell you anything useful. And, well, on its own, that’s true. But those likes, combined with Twitter response, email forwards, Web analytics, and interviews with your audience, can tell you a lot. The Media Impact Project Measurement System feeds all this data into an integrated database that is unique to your organization.”—from the video narration

The challenge of creating and using impact metrics is one that concerns not just nonprofit media outlets but also their funders. Measuring media impact, in other words, is a coin that has two sides. In recognition of that fact, MIP prepared a “2-in-1” brochure—a compact handbook that is designed to meet the needs of both groups. On one side, the brochure offers insights and tips for news organizations. On the obverse side, it offers comparable material for funding institutions. Here, we invite readers to download and review this brochure.

A 2-in-1 Guide: Impact Assessment & Metrics

“JOURNALISM’S OLD BUSINESS MODELS—ONCE DEPENDENT ON LONG-STANDING relationships with advertisers, subscribers and politicians—are being reimagined. Emerging news outlets, many of them digital-first, are more about participatory journalism; they’re more opinionated, more engaged and identified with users, and more reliant on topic-specific support. … Determining the impact of these next-generation nonprofit journalism projects is a journey that funders, editors and development staff are navigating together.”—from the brochure


Download the complete document here.