Around the Institute

The Tricky Art of Managing Expectations

May 23, 2013

Micro Narratives

Fast Company’s Rita King asks: how is Twitter changing the way we tell stories?  As much as some (*cough*) may bemoan the ebb in popularity of longer print narratives, tweets have undoubtedly reimagined what makes for an effective, infectious and certainly pithy story.  From an evaluation perspective, the challenge becomes what counts as meaningful: when 150 characters can build a movement and motivate people to action, how can you separate what matters from all the noise?

Another Helping of Edu-tainment

The Population Media Center (PMC) is gearing up to roll out yet another telenovela with a social message, a high school drama called East Los High. Soon-to-be-available on Hulu, East Los High seeks to educate Latino teenagers around the country on issues related to their sexual health.  PMC is taking a “transmedia” approach with the show—that is, they’re coupling the regular episodes with social media and other online offerings, in addition to good old outreach by partners like Planned Parenthood and the California Family Health Council.  We’re anxiously awaiting the premiere and the evaluation results!

Unpacking the “Presidency Addiction Machine”

The first step is admitting you have a problem.  So let’s just come out with it: we’re all obsessed with the presidency.  And according to Aaron David Miller’s recent piece in Foreign Policy, this happens to be a major contributor to our eventual disappointment in the president—no matter who plays that role.  As evaluators, we are also constantly managing the expectations of our clients.  If we expect our president to be (in Miller’s words) “a cross between Superman, Moses, Mohammad, and Jesus,” what do folks expect of their evaluators?