The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation provide major grantmaking support to media projects in the US and internationally. They have collaborated to streamline evaluation and reporting requirements for grantees, and to more clearly define how to measure the impact of media engagement.
The Need and Impetus for the Project
Measuring the effectiveness of media and communications efforts is notoriously challenging. To provide guidance to the field, in December 2011, the Gates and Knight Foundations engaged LFA to develop a media measurement framework: a guide for media funders and grantees in their efforts to understand what quality media measurement looks like, how to think about media engagement and impact, and tools to measure the impact of their work.
LFA facilitated a series of three convenings with foundation representatives, media professionals, academics, and evaluators to explore opportunities to strengthen the field’s approach to media impact evaluation. Attendees provided perspectives about the challenges media organizations face in collecting and analyzing data, and funders discussed the need to make the case for how media affects audiences. The rich conversations surfaced insights about the importance of media measurement in a quickly changing world and the need for a shared understanding between funders and grantees. LFA supplemented insights from the convenings with additional research into best practices for media measurement and interviews with key stakeholders. The resulting "Media Measurement Framework" serves as a guide, presenting a perspective of what quality media measurement is, a framework to use when conceptualizing a measurement approach, and tools to guide practitioners.
The Results: Learning for Action
The guide has allowed the Gates and Knight Foundations, as well as the broader fields of media and communications, to have a shared language and understanding to draw from when talking to media grantees about measurement and evaluation. Foundation staff have re-purposed parts of the guide to create practical tools for media organizations as they work to specify their goals and action plans. The guide includes case studies of media measurement that are used as examples for organizations that are new to measurement or unsure how to embark on evaluation processes.