Yearly Archives: 2013

Springtime for Exxon

Scott McGibbon is a Project Specialist at the Lear Center Climate change, the looming tragedy of our lives, is happening at a speed and a scale we can barely comprehend. This threat is as dangerous to human life, liberty and happiness as either WWII or the Cold War in the… More

Mary Poppins Does Not Come Back

I knew better than to expect P.L. Travers to write something sweet in my copy of Mary Poppins, but I didn’t think it would be quite so medicinal. It was 1988, and I’d been a vice president at Disney for two years. From the time I got there, studio president… More

The Obamacare Apocalypse

Last week, a professor of physics and astronomy told the New York Times that the probability of an asteroid hitting the earth —- it happened over Chelyabinsk, Russia, in February, with the energy of 30 Hiroshimas —- isn’t once in a century or two, it’s once in a decade or… More

The Politics of Personal Taste

I recently gave my fifth talk for the TED network – this time on one of my favorite projects at the Norman Lear Center, where I’m the director of research. The Lear Center has conducted many studies demonstrating that entertainment plays a key role in people’s lives, igniting curiosity, inciting… More

Storytelling, Engagement & Activism

This summer, I spent a great day with a bunch of filmmakers at the¬†Topanga Film Festival. Their goal? Making sure that their documentaries would have a real, measurable social impact. Just making a smart, moving film about a pressing social issue isn’t necessarily going to change the world. It’s crucial… More

Made in Rio

Made in Rio: what does this phrase conjure for you? Caipirinhas in a steamy club? Live samba music in a gritty city square? Barely-there bikinis? Or gangster violence in hillside favelas (with million dollar views)? There’s a reason VICE calls it the sexiest city in the world, and from my… More

The Sorrows of CNN: Cable News’s Journalistic Suicide

CNN and MSNBC are giving wall-to-wall coverage to the Trayvon Martin murder trial. Fox News is taking brief breaks from the courtroom to empathize with Darrell Issa and Paula Deen, because George Zimmerman isn’t the only victim around who needs defending, but otherwise the cable news channels are all race-crime-porn… More

The Day the Earth Stood Stupid

Say goodnight, Earthlings. That message — plus the slimmest of shots at an eleventh-hour reprieve — was announced to the people of the world last week. When this happens in science fiction — 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still is the classic — the planet pays attention. The flying… More

Launching the Media Impact Project

Yesterday, the Lear Center launched the Media Impact Project, which aspires to be a global hub for the best research on measuring the impact of media. Supported by $3.25 million in initial funding from the Gates and Knight Foundations, I’m optimistic that this project can help make media more accountable… More

TED 2013: It’s the Data, Stupid

I had the tremendous pleasure of attending TED 2013 and, as always, I felt compelled to figure out the overarching themes of this vastly interdisciplinary conference. The T, E and D stand for Technology, Entertainment and Design, but, as anyone who toils in these fields knows, that kinda covers everything… More