The biweekly “So What?” guide highlights advice, events, and tips—mostly from the advocacy and evaluation worlds, selected by the Aspen Planning and Evaluation Program. We’re a consulting practice at the Aspen Institute that partners with foundations, nonprofit organizations, and individual funders to help them strengthen their efforts to bring about positive change in society.
What’s Killing TV?
Like evaluators, advertisers love data-rich entities that can provide precise and comprehensive information. For advertisers, these are Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, and Google — not ABC and Fox. The hunt for better data, claims Shelly Palmer, could make TV unsustainable and ultimately obsolete. Maybe the revolution will be livestreamed instead. Or maybe, just as curated news puts us in news bubbles, curated ads will cushion us in consumer bubbles. Shoutout to Five Best Ideas for putting us on to this.
Who better to answer “so what” about last Saturday’s March for Science than a (political) scientist? Dr. Hahrie Han studies activism, and asserts that there are lots of proxy measures for effective marches: number of participants, money raised, and media coverage. But those don’t necessarily translate into influence. Han says the keys are relationships with political elites, a central mission, and distributed work across many constituents. Diversity helps. Sustained commitment is key. SSIR offers three models for improved civic engagement and citizen participation.
Income inequality and political fragmentation are hot issues, but not the only divides worth our attention. Changes in charitable-giving patterns can affect who is served and how they are served. You can see for yourself with the Chronicle of Philanthropy’s interactive map. And while the divide between conservative and liberal elites and public audiences can appear more visceral than ever, this analysis of elite and public opinion on foreign policy shows that their views coalesce in some surprising ways.