The Rita Allen Foundation’s support for innovation in media impact measurement is mentioned in an article published today on MediaShift, a website that covers the changing media landscape.
The piece describes how news outlets, both nonprofit and commercial, are experimenting with a variety of audience metrics. It highlights the challenges of evaluating audience awareness and knowledge, especially when compared to tracking more straightforward outcomes, such as clicks and shares, or even changes in laws and policies influenced by reporting.
The article also points out how foundation funders, with an increasing focus on measuring the impacts of their investments, may encourage nonprofit news organizations to invest in finding new ways to understand how effectively their content builds audience knowledge of key public-interest topics. Featured funders include the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rita Allen Foundation:
The Rita Allen Foundation, which invests in civic literacy and engagement projects, helps fund efforts by the Engaging News Project, Media Impact Funders and Solutions Journalism Network to measure impact. Elizabeth Good Christopherson, president and CEO of the Rita Allen Foundation, said efforts to measure awareness and knowledge align with its mission of “creating an engaged and informed citizenry.”
Also quoted are Talia Stroud, director of the Engaging News Project; Richard Tofel, president of ProPublica (which the Rita Allen Foundation has supported); Jessica Clark, director of research and strategy at Media Impact Funders; and Rikha Sharma Rani, intelligence director for the Solutions Journalism Network.