Around the Institute

Evaluating Media Content for Impact, and Other Tidbits

June 7, 2013

Controversial Messaging

Coinciding with the International Day of the Prostitute on June 2nd, the Brazilian Health Ministry rolled out a health campaign to raise the rates of contraception-use among prostitutes: “Eu sou feliz sendo prostituta” (or “I’m happy being a prostitute”).  The Ministry hoped to crack the societally-imposed wall of shame that often prevents prostitutes from seeking medical treatment for sexually-transmitted diseases.  Of course, it was only a matter of days before Brazilian conservatives raised hell over the campaign, which was soon pulled in response.  Could the Ministry have tweaked its messaging in recognition of their various audiences, including the target community of prostitutes and those very influential “bystanders”?    

A Closer Look at Media Content Analysis

Later this year, Search for Common Ground’s Vanessa Corlazzoli and Jonathan White will publish an article that’s sure to launch quite a few conversations in advocacy evaluation circles—“Measuring the Un-Measurable: Solutions to Measurement Challenges in Fragile and Conflict-Affected Environments.”  But if you care for a preview, check out their blog post on “assessing impact with media content analysis.”  They underscore the value of combining quantitative data (e.g. volume of citations, frequency over a period of time) with a qualitative deep-dive into the content.  For us lit buffs, that’s music to our ears cupcakes to our tummies. 


Our colleagues in the Aspen Network of Development Entrepreneurs program are just about ready to host their annual Metrics Conference next week here at the Aspen Institute in Washington, DC.  This convening will showcase ideas on using metrics and evaluation to determine the impact of development work.  Have we sparked your interest yet?  Browse their 2012 conference page, watch some videos, and download the Power Point decks.  We’re still thinking about the GlobalGiving presentation on the storytelling evaluation strategy.  Fascinating stuff!