Posts by Johanna Blakley

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

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

Inside TED: A Rare Glimpse Behind the Curtain

Monday is sort of a ramp-up day at TED, but this year the highlight for me was Inside TED, a glimpse into the machinations of a unique organization that’s trying to figure out how to spread ideas that are stalled or stuck in some way – perhaps they’re trapped in… More

How Do You Measure the Impact of TED?

Not only do I get to go to TED this year (hooray!) but I also had the great pleasure of participating in a truly brain-tingling workshop whose goal was to help TED figure out how to better facilitate the spread of breakthrough ideas. Of course everybody (and their mother) is… More

Media In Our Image

I was delighted when the editors of Women’s Studies Quarterlyasked me to submit a piece to them about social media and gender. They had seen my TEDWomen talk on the same topic and suspected (correctly) that I’d be interested in pursuing those themes in print. They made another request as… More

Improve & Creativity at TEDxUSC

I’m really proud to be on the board of advisers for TEDxUSC, the site of the first TEDx in the world (there have been about 4,000 of them since). Videos from this year’s event are just starting to trickle out: Doug Thomas, from the USC Annenberg School, gave a stand-out… More

Not So Super: Reading the Super Bowl Ads

I had a great time this fall working with video artist Kenzo Digital to identify zeitgeist-defining ads for the TED Ads Worth Spreading initiative. I think ads have a tremendous power to shape cultural dialogue and so it’s worth our while to take a critical look at them and see… More