• News

    2021 Walter Cronkite Award Winners Announced Exceptional Reporting on the Pandemic, Systemic Racism and Election Integrity Honored with 2021 Walter Cronkite Awards for TV Political Journalism CNN, CBS and PBS entries take network prizes; local wins for Milwaukee, Missoula and Phoenix Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s COVID-19 fact-checking wins Brooks Jackson Prize After an election year that witnessed… More
    Poverty Narratives in Pop Culture Our expansive cultural audit on poverty narratives in TV, film, music and video games is now out. Through a mixed-methods research study — including survey research, a systematic content analysis, interviews with thought leaders and a review of existing research — we examined poverty, wealth and opportunity narratives in popular… More
    Narratives of Health Equity Our Media Impact Project is exploring how media and entertainment narratives impact audiences’ understanding of health and well-being, disparities and solutions; and how entertainment might play a key role in shifting mindsets toward equity, justice and systemic change. Ultimately, this work aims to increase public support for more equitable policies,… More
    Charitable Giving in the Media In 2019, the percentage of Americans who donated to charity was at an all-time low. To understand why, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation commissioned the Media Impact Project to analyze the narratives about charitable giving and philanthropy conveyed through mass media news and entertainment, as well as what types of… More
    Immigration Stories Foster Inclusive Attitudes In this second study with Define American we found that TV shows with nuanced immigrant characters and immigration storylines can shift attitudes and inspire people to real-life action — leading to more inclusive attitudes towards immigrants and opposition to criminalizing undocumented people. Viewers were also more likely to take certain… More
  • Noted

    New Brave World

    In a special report from Unbound Philanthropy, an international roster of researchers, innovators, funders and influencers – including Lear Center managing director Johanna Blakley and Hollywood, Health & Society director Kate Folb – weigh in on the potential of narratives in film, TV and video games to catalyze a pro-social culture shift in the UK.

    “At close to 99, I can tell you that I’ve never lived alone, I’ve never laughed alone and that has as much to do with my being here today as anything else I know.” Norman Lear receives the Carol Burnett Award at the 2021 Golden Globes. Watch his inspiring acceptance speech.

    The Norman Lear Center mourns the loss our friend and supporter Irwin “Sonny” Fox, beloved television host and broadcaster and former president of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. He became an impassioned advocate for social impact entertainment and served on the board of Hollywood, Health & Society. We pay tribute to him here.

    This clip compilation highlights TV references to Norma Rae, a 1979 film about a working-class organizer who fights against poverty and workplace injustice. The surprisingly frequent references to the decades-old film suggest a lack of cultural resources for depicting poverty-related collective actions. This video is part of our ongoing study on poverty and prosperity narratives in popular culture.

    What can we learn about charitable giving norms, narratives, and audiences from depictions in mass media? In this webinar, our Media Impact Project research team presents new original research on what narratives about giving are conveyed through news and entertainment, as well as what types of media content are consumed by potential donor audiences.

    Director of Research Erica Rosenthal was interviewed by Cronkite News about our recent Change the Narrative study. Here she explains why accurate representations of undocumented people on TV are so important to changing attitudes and behaviors around immigration issues.  Watch the video.

  • Blog

    What can fashion teach the news industry? Remember my TED.com talk, Lessons from Fashion’s Free Culture? Well, a Fellow at Harvard’s Nieman Center, Tomer Ovadia, interviewed me recently about what lessons the news industry might learn from the fashion industry. We discussed the many surprising parallels between the two and where the future might lead. Listen to… More
    Why Charitable Giving and Philanthropy Matter Today Charitable giving and philanthropy are as important today as ever. In the midst of the pandemic and national reckoning with racial injustice, Americans from all backgrounds are giving in different and important ways. Understanding these trends, how they are shifting and how media can and does influence the discourse is… More
    Why Designing for Impact Can Lead to New Jobs in Journalism & New Ways of Working Journalists are good with messes. Problems make for interesting stories with lots of layers, complicated characters and usually thick narrative drama. Designing for impact, however, sometimes means sweeping the mess aside and clearing a path to action. We talk about information needs; this need is for information that helps me… More
    I Remember ‘Aunt Carol’ Channing This originally appeared in the Forward and is republished with permission. This temple is going to the dogs,” said the congregant making her way to a seat, to no one in particular but loudly enough for half the sanctuary to hear. “The nerve of them! Bringing in a Carol Channing… More
    News Media Should Democratize Presidential Debates — Not Monetize Them This originally appeared in the Forward and is republished with permission. The CBS board may have fired Les Moonves for misleading them about sex, but he did call it straight about money, media and politics. “Trump’s run may not be good for America,” he told a conference of investment bankers in 2016, “but it’s… More
    The Straight Line From 5,000 Trump Lies To 11 Jews Murdered In Pittsburgh “There must be no tolerance for anti-Semitism in America,” Donald Trump told the Future Farmers of America following the mass murder in a Pittsburgh synagogue at a Sabbath service — the same Trump who said that some of the neo-Nazis chanting “Jews will not replace us” in Charlottesville were “very… More