Who's Setting The Agenda?: People + the News and the Social Media Connection


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This is a talk given by Alisa Miller, CEO of PRI at the University of Chicago Harris School Dean's International Council, on May 9, 2013. The news agenda is now being set and informed by collaboration between journalistic organizations and the people formerly known as the audience. The power of social media cannot be underestimated to engage and build meaning. Informative charts and graphs are included.

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  • Good afternoon, thank you for that generous introduction.Also, thanks to Steve for that great context for our comments.My comments today have three acts:First – what are we currently consuming in terms of news content andhow the very process of journalistic storytelling is transforming to collaborate with the public in new ways Second, how are we make choices that directly impact the quality and breadth of our news and therefore our policy understandingThird, I will conclude with a couple of examples of how these trends come together and can impact policy conversations or outcomes.
  • To begin, as we tackle the topic of media’s relative influence in the development and analysis of public policy, the communications theorists McCombs and Shaw said it as good as anyone…This still basically holds true, even today with all the changes in the media…
  • And what is the quality of what we are consuming?Unfortunately, many of these sources are often chock-full of the news equivalent of trans fat and high-fructose corn syrup.
  • Examples of policy-news-public intersection given these trends
  • State Integrity investigation was a joint partnership between PRI and two other public media organizations, Center for public Integrity and a group called Global Integrity. We created comprehensive report cards of the 50 state governments, rating them for the potential for corruption and then told stories and engaged people about the results.The success of the Investigation was the result of three organizations combining their complementary strengths for a single project and vision. Global Integrity provided a wealth of experience in research and data-gathering in the area of government transparency and accountability. The CPI brought a network of investigative journalists and important editorial leadership. And PRI contributed editorial expertise, leadership in web, social media and digital tools and its collaborative skills by selecting and working with a network of public radio station collaborators.In the end, PRI’s project goals were three-fold: contributing to the creation of a storytelling platform for government transparency and effectiveness, partnering with leading stations and other news players to tell local-national-and-international angles on these stories, and finally inspiring people to share the results with their family, friends, neighbors and the elected officials who have the power to change the way state government is working or not working.
  • Right after the release of the report cards, we tracked what influence we had on the broader press, and I’m happy to report public media lead this effort!What actions that state began to takeFor example:No of stories, reach,How many people did things with the content.How many stations contributed stories.And what website traffic and social media conversations ensued
  • Over time, we have continued to track our impact but less time and effort is spent on tracking consumption, and more is focused on the continued Ripple Effects in the broader civic participation arenaSo as you can see here, measured passed, measures introduced, etc.Clearly there are direct ties to influences here and policy outcomes.
  • The next very brief example I will share is that of Global Cancer, as this project is one where we focused on learning more about engagement people earlier on in the story creation process. This was deeply focused on learning more about where engagement, content and reach meet. It was a limited series of five stories on our global news program The World heard on public radio stations.Our program TW decided to investigate Cancer in the Developing world. So PRI and TW working together, we began to build out our project.
  • We learned what was important. It raised issues and some insights for us, like people think Cancer in the developing world is hopeless and one of the reasons cited was that Cancer is not an infectious disease so it cant be prevented.
  • Before any story saw the air, we began byproviding value by releasing infographic maps and shared social media packages with stations, so people could compare cancer rates and types, around the world.
  • And by sharing infographicsthat illuminated that more people die of cancer in the developing world than …
  • We added more value:We found there were lots of pockets of people talking but no unifying way to collect them together, so we introduced a hashtag#globalcancer
  • And THEN we told a series of stories, one of which illuminated that a sizable percentage of cancer in the developing world is actually caused by viruses (much more so in the US), so it is at least partially “preventable”
  • We engaged listeners as conversationalists
  • We brought interested groups together
  • And we had impact, over a one week broadcast series on The World, we….2.5 million people were reached in broadcast on over 330 stations12,000 social mentions led to over 2,000,000 impressions of content related to our seriesOver 1 million pageviews were generated to articles/assets re the seriesOver 600 discreet conversations were tracked across social media mentioning global cancer.Over 50 organizations were connected and participated in spreading, and sharing the content.Saw Pickup of the content by other media organizations including BBC, local public radio stations, newspapers, bloggers.
  • In summary….
  • Also by way of context, I usually get asked this question, who is PRI exactly and how does that relate to NPR. I am CEO of PRI, public radio international, that has been headquartered in here the Twin Cities for 30 years.You can find us on over 800 public radio stations, on satellite radio, online at PRI.org and theworld.org, millions to our podcasts each month of our programs and on special topics as well as enjoy PRI on our Iphone and andriod apps, Flipboard, Tune-In and others. Public radio stations take programming from PRI and NPR to make their schedules.
  • Who's Setting The Agenda?: People + the News and the Social Media Connection

    1. “Who’s setting the agenda?:People + The News”Alisa MillerCEO, PRIDean’s International CouncilThe Media’s Influence in the Developmentand Analysis of Public PolicyMay 2013
    2. SocialJusticeScienceSome Context….Maxwell McCombs andDr. Donald Shaw:… the mass media is not that great attelling people what to think but isstunningly good at telling them whatto think about.Alisa Miller, 2013
    3. Some Context….Alisa Miller, 2013
    4. Junk food for the brain?Alisa Miller, 2013
    5. Label Source: Alisa MillerData Source: Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, Journalism.org,State of News Media 2006. Local News content analysis.Alisa Miller, 2013
    6. Label Source: Alisa MillerData Source: Original Analysis of the Vanderbilt Television ArchiveAlisa Miller, 2013
    7. World Land MassSource:Worldmapper.orgAlisa Miller, 2013
    8. Map source:Worldmapper.orgJuly 2009 News Map(CNN and ABC)Based on an analysis of data from the Vanderbilt University Television News ArchiveU.K. IranSomaliaIndiaAustraliaHondurasCanadaAlisa Miller, 2013
    9. I listen to my friends…Alisa Miller, 2013
    10.  67% percent of Americans surveyed by Pew saidthe following statement describes them very wellor somewhat:“I only follow news about specific topicsthat really interest me.”I want it my way…Alisa Miller, 2013
    11. The ‘good’ ole days…StoryGoes PublicmeTimeAlisa Miller, 2013
    12. Then…StoryGoes PublicTimemeAlisa Miller, 2013
    13. Now…StoryGoes PublicmeAlisa Miller, 2013
    14. From this…Goes PublicStory“EngagementWindow”meAlisa Miller, 2013
    15. To this…Goes PublicStory“EngagementWindow”meAlisa Miller, 2013
    16. Building meaning (engagement)Make life changesCivic participationOrganize and helpDonate or buyOffer insight, contribute to contentCommentShareLearn more‘Consume’Alisa Miller, 2013
    17. State IntegrityInvestigationCase Study #1Alisa Miller, 2013
    18. State Integrity InvestigationAlisa Miller, 2013
    19. Elements of the Investigation• Three lead partners• Risk index of 330 questions• 50 state reporters• 49 independent reviewers• 16 major station partners• Social properties (Tw, FB)• 5000+ social community• Web site• Public engagementAlisa Miller, 2013
    20. Impact 10 Days After Release• 1000+ press stories• 50+ editorials (NYT,WP,CSM…)• State actions in SC, VA, GA, MI…• 160,000+ unique visitors to site• 1500+ report cards emailed to officials• 26+ public radio stations had stories• 12 million peopleAlisa Miller, 2013
    21. Impact ~1 Year After Release• 1300+ press stories• 17 million people• Measures passed: DE, IA, ME, RI, SC• Campaigns for reform: NY, AR, HI, TX• Measures introduced: CA, FL, GA, MI, OH, SC, ND• NYT, ABC News, 23 public radio stations, etc.Alisa Miller, 2013
    22. Global CancerCase Study #2Alisa Miller, 2013
    23. @AJStreamF: 66,000@BBCWorldServiceF: 38,000@HariF: 9,000@ViewfromthecaveF: 10,000@TheBushCenterF: 15,000@LivestrongF: 436,000@BoingBoingF: 156,000@PIHF: 175,000 @DreamhamptonF: 43,000@PulitzerCeterF: 15,000@LivestrongCEOF: 1,115,000@GAVIAllianceF: 18,000Identified & listened to thecommunityAlisa Miller, 2013
    24. What are the issues?Alisa Miller, 2013
    25. Added Value: Shared MapsAlisa Miller, 2013
    26. Added Value:Shared InfographicsAlisa Miller, 2013
    27. Added Value:#hashtagged the topic#GlobalCancer3,650 tweetsAlisa Miller, 2013
    28. Added Value: Told StoriesAlisa Miller, 2013
    29. Engaged: Spurred conversationAlisa Miller, 2013
    30. Engaged: Brought others together• Center for Global Development• Centre for Infectious Disease Research• Rwandan Minister of Health• GAVI Alliance• Global Health Delivery Partnership• Harvard Kennedy School• Human Rights Watch• Instituto Nacional de Cancerologica (Mexico)• Ivano-Frankivsk Hospice (Ukraine)• Johns Hopkins• Livestrong• Susan G. Komen• The Max Foundation• United Nations Foundation• World Health OrganizationAlisa Miller, 2013
    31. IMPACT–Reach/Conversation/Connection“12,000”2,000,000> 1,000,0006092,500,000>330 stations50+Alisa Miller, 2013
    32. In Summary• Agenda setting function is real and thepublic makes choices too– “What agendas are we setting?”• Some media is collaborating with thepublic earlier in the process –More than just i-witness, now for context,community-building and more, which can lead to apowerful policy-changing eco-system (or not).• Power of social media cannot beunderestimated – can help to further informand in early stages potentially misinform before“correcting function” takes holdAlisa Miller, 2013
    33. Thanks!
    34. Reach +16 million people each weekLargest US broadcast provider of globalnews, player in mobile & on demandLeading partnership organization inpublic mediaNearly 65% of all current public radioprograms have been created, launchedor distributed by PRIPRI