Preaching to the Choir? Measuring the Impact of Waiting for “Superman”

Waiting for “Superman” is a 2010 documentary directed by Davis Guggenheim, who also directed An Inconvenient Truth. The film looks at the failures of the American public education system through the stories of students and their families who strive for better educational opportunities. The film received the Audience Award for best documentary at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and, since its release, has directed donations to over 2.8 million children. The film’s release ignited a heated debate about the challenges facing public education to provide adequate education and opportunities for students, parents and teachers.

Two questions guided our study of this film:
● Which variables influenced someone’s likelihood of watching Waiting for “Superman?”
● What was the impact of Waiting for “Superman” on knowledge, attitudes and behavior?

Funding for this study, which was independently designed, conducted and released by the Norman Lear Center, was provided by Participant Media, who also co-financed the making of Waiting for “Superman.”

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Real to Reel: For TV & Film Writers – Fall 2015

The latest Real to Reel newsletter from Hollywood, Health & Society offers a riveting story about Exxon’s lead role in climate change denial over the last two decades, a photo gallery of people living in flooded areas around the world, surveys on Texas women forced to end their own pregnancies due to the state’s restrictive abortion laws, a report on the toll that poverty takes on adults and children in Los Angeles, and what baby boomer retirement might look like.

Patterns of Commoning

Lear Center Senior Fellow David Bollier is co-editor of Patterns of Commoning, a new book of more than fifty original essays which survey some of the most notable, inspiring commons around the world, from alternative currencies and open design and manufacturing, to centuries-old community forests and co-learning commons.


What accounts for the persistence and spread of “commoning,” the irrepressible desire of people to collaborate and share to meet everyday needs? How are the more successful projects governed? And why are so many people embracing the commons as a powerful strategy for building a fair, humane and Earth-respecting social order?

“The New MacGyver” and the Power of Media

Johanna Blakley wrote this piece for Viterbi Magazine about the gender gap in STEM education and just where young women and minorities can turn to find role models in media for a rewarding life in science, technology, engineering or math. Read how new television shows might have a fresh answer.