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Designing for Impact

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Over the past decade, a lively debate has emerged around questions of how best to assess the rising impact of social issue documentaries. In a new report, Social Justice Documentary: Designing for Impact, Center for Social Media (CSM) Fellows Jessica Clark and Barbara Abrash examine this question through the lens of six in-depth case studies of high-impact documentaries, and offer a snapshot of evaluation efforts, an analysis of how strategic design concepts can be applied to documentary production, and a framework to prompt further research.

The report builds upon more than five years of Ford Foundation-funded analysis on social documentary and public media 2.0 that the authors have conducted both together and separately with CSM. It is designed not to offer prescriptive recommendations about how best to assess impact, but rather to open up a conversation among documentary makers, funders and partners about how to refine best practices for the field.


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