Measuring Media Impact: Dana Chinn on Media That Matters

by Dana Chinn

Thechinn 2015 Media That Matters conference is right around the corner, so we decided to let our #MTMDC panelists to introduce themselves and explain in their own words how they engage with media that matters.

Norman Lear Center Media Impact Project’ director, Dana Chinn focuses on web analytics for news and nonprofit organizations, data journalism, and the role of journalism in open data initiatives. She will participate at the ‘Impact Design: From Production to Measurement’ panel.

“I’m the director of ‘The Media Impact Project’ which, is a research center that advances the field of media measurement and helps organizations assess the impact of media. MIP conducts applied research, provides consulting on metrics strategy and implementation, and evaluates and develops methodologies and tools.

Our goal at MIP is to provide accurate measurement of media impact on individual knowledge, attitudes, and behavior by combining social science research protocols, cultural analysis and information technology expertise. Embedded within a Research I university, we are uniquely positioned to convene diverse constituencies, while tapping into a broad array of research expertise from academia, the media industry, nonprofits, and NGOs.

Key to accurate measurement and advances in research is a change in the culture of media organizations and those that fund media. Organizations lack good data, hampering their ability to use data for decision-making and invest in better measurement.

Big data, meaning all of the data that we can now get on media behavior and how it impacts people, has only reinforced the power of media to make connections with people on an individual, one-to-one basis. Media is just a tool – it’s what people do with media that really counts.

One of the ways that the MIP is unique is that our projects incorporate proprietary data such as web analytics, e-mail newsletter metrics and Facebook Insights in addition to traditional media metrics and social science research methodologies. There are many best practices from e-commerce that can be applied to media. We want to help media companies tap into the full potential of the proprietary data that they already have. Our partners include e-commerce vendors in addition to other media companies.

Most recently we published a series of ‘Understanding Media Metrics’ guides, available in print, downloadable PDF and online. Although geared toward journalists, the guides are applicable to anyone who wants to better understand: Basic Metrics, YouTube Metrics, Mobile Web Metrics and much more. We are also in the process of developing metrics projects with documentary filmmakers. And, our media metrics workshop in partnership with PBS MediaShift and the Knight Center for Journalism in the Americas on April 16 at UT Austin before the International Symposium on Online Journalism.

I’m looking forward to talking to everybody!  There’s so much we can learn from each other, and I can’t wait to meet you all in D.C.”

Meet Dana and other innovative media makers at the Media That Matters conference February 19-20. If you haven’t signed up yet, visit the registration page.


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