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Inequality in 1,100 Popular Films.

July 1, 2018

The study reveals how little top-grossing movies have changed when it comes to the on-screen prevalence and portrayal of females, underrepresented racial/ ethnic groups, the LGBT community, and individuals with disabilities. The study is the largest and most comprehensive intersectional analysis of characters in motion picture content to date.

Does Medium Matter? Exploring the Role of Virtual Reality in Journalism

April 1, 2018

In this Knight Foundation-funded report, researchers from the Media Impact Project at the University of Southern California's Norman Lear Center partnered with Frontline and Emblematic Group to explore the impact of using VR for journalism. They found that, relative to other platforms, VR can have a greater impact on holding attention and inspiring attitude and behavior changes. However, "the platform alone is not a magic bullet— it has unique affordances which, combined with effective storytelling and appropriate choice of subject matter, had an impact on a receptive audience."

Measuring Media Impact: An Overview of the Field

December 1, 2014

The goal of this report is to provide a comprehensive overview and assessment of the approaches being employed in this formative period of assessing media impact, with a focus on what is termed here a social value perspective. Social value in this context refers to analytical approaches that extend beyond financial measures of success to take into account criteria such as improving the well-being of individuals and communities across a wide range of dimensions that are central goals of most public interest media initiatives. This report seeks to identify relevant analytical approaches, methodologies, and metrics for assessing media impact in an effort to develop a baseline inventory of analytical tools, methods, and metrics that can inform further work in this area; and to identify approaches that appear particularly promising.

Films That Make a Difference

September 29, 2012

As part of the 2012 Seattle International Film Festival -- the largest and most-highly attended festival in the United States -- Vulcan Productions hosted a forum examining how filmmakers are using innovative campaigns to deepen the impact of their work titled, Films that Make a Difference. The event was held at the SIFF Film Center on June 3, 2012.The forum was moderated by Warren Etheredge, founder of the Warren Report (, and included Johanna Blakley, Managing Director, The Norman Lear Center; Bonnie Benjamin-Phariss, Director, Vulcan Productions; Ted Richane, Vice President, Cause + Affect; and Holly Gordon, Executive Director, 10x10, a Multi-platform Initiative about girls' education. The forum examined ways to maximize the effect of film projects through various social impact initiatives.

From Attention to Engagement: The Transformation of the Content Industry

March 6, 2012

This presentation was given by Lear Center Director Martin Kaplan at a public forum in Barcelona. The event was sponsored by the Barcelona Media Center.

Global Health in Lights: Hollywood's Master Storytellers & Stars Highlight Global Health in Entertainment

October 11, 2011

Sandra de Castro Buffington, director of the Norman Lear Center's Hollywood, Health & Society program, moderated this discussion which brought top TV producers, writers and performers together with key Washington policymakers to focus on how global health is portrayed in entertainment media.

Primetime War on Drugs & Terror

September 1, 2011

At the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center, we've produced research demonstrating the profound impact that televised entertainment can have on audiences. Whether we like it or not, people are moved by entertainment content and, if the depictions seem realistic, there is a good chance they will apply what they see on the screen to their lives.This is one reason that we decided to develop a research project with the American Civil Liberties Union that would help us understand what Americans (and the rest of the world) might be learning about the War on Terror and the War on Drugs from the most popular shows on U.S. television (which are watched by billions of people around the world). With the assistance of Princeton Survey Research Associates International, we conducted a very detailed analysis of 49 recent episodes of popular primetime dramas (Fig. 2).We selected episodes that addressed the War on Terror or the War on Drugs from ten highly-rated one hour network dramas: 24, CSI, CSI: Miami, The Good Wife, House, Law & Order, Law & Order: Los Angeles, Law & Order: SVU, NCIS and NCIS: Los Angeles. All of the episodes aired during 2010, except for eight shows which aired in late 2009 as part of the network 2009-10 season. The aim was to analyze how terror or drugrelated plots were portrayed rather than to assess how frequently these plots appeared. We subjected each episode to a codebook with 145 variables and over 800 sub-variables (see the Methodology section on page 27 for more details). In an effort to contextualize this research and how it might come into dialogue with other conversations about the War on Drugs and the War on Terror, we include recent public opinion survey data about these wars as well as data about how the government and the justice system, in particular, are conducting them. We think viewing these three types of data together -- that is, depictions on television, public opinion and statistics about real world practices -- is the best way to begin an informed conversation about how these wars are being carried out and understood in America.

The Business and Culture of Social Media: In Search of the People Formerly Known As the Audience

June 26, 2009

This presentation addresses three transformations: the transformation of the audience; of advertising models; and of media businesses. The talk describes how they were transformed first by digital technology, and how they are now being transformed by social media. It goes on to describe what we call the "three economies" which govern the era of social media and proposes some research needed in order to understand and to monetize the audiences of this era.