An impact reading list


What’s in here?

This bibliography contains a smattering of pieces, long and short, that are relevant to the study of media impact. From blog posts and case studies to fully-developed frameworks for analysis, reading selections from this list should quickly get you up to speed with the field.

Where do I start?

There are so many good pieces in here, but these are three of my favorites:

Can I add something?

Sure! Just go here and edit the document using Draft – a great new tool for versioned writing. Once you add something, I’ll update this website to reflect those changes.

This format is ugly!

I know, I’m horrible at design. Feel free to take all these links and make something pretty and more useful!

Impact Reading List

Abelson, Brian, “HI Score: Towards a new metric of influence,” June 27, 2012.

Ad Council, “Overview of Ad Council research & evaluation procedures,” Ad Council, Date Unknown.

Anderson, C.W. et al, “Post-Industrial Journalism: Adapting to the Present,” Tow Center, Fall 2012.

Barrett, Diana and Leddy, Sheila, “Assessing Creative Media’s Social Impact”, The Fledgling Fund, December 2008.

Blakely, Johanna (Norman Lear Center), “Research study finds that a film can have a measurable impact on audience behavior”, February 22, 2012

Blakely, Johanna, “TedX Phoenix – Movies for a change”, February 12, 2012.

Bornstein, David, “Why we need solutions journalism,” Skoll World Forum, 2012.

Brock, Andrea, et al./ Center for Effective Philanthropy, “Room for Improvement: Foundations’ Support of Nonprofit Performance Assessment,” 2012

Caulkin, Simon, “The rule is simple: Be careful what you measure”, February 9, 2008.

Chinn, Dana et al., “Measuring the online impact of your information project”, Knight Foundation / FSG Social Impact Advisors, May 31, 2011.

Clark, Jessica, “Find needs and five tools for measuring media impact,” May 11, 2010.

Clark, Jessica and Van Slyke, Tracy, “Investing in Impact”, The Center for Social Media, May 12, 2010.

Clark, Jessica and Abrash, Barbara, “Social justice documentary: Designing for impact,” Center for Social Media, September 2011.

Community Wealth Ventures, “How nonprofit news ventures seek sustainability”, Knight Foundation, October 2011.

Channel 4 BritDoc Foundation, “Evaluation”,

Duros, Sally, “Impact counts for hyperlocal news, but how to count it?”, August 6, 2012.

Fisch, Shaolm M. and Truglio, Rosemarie T., “G is for growing: Thirty years of research on children and Sesame Street,” Children’s Television Workshop, 2000.

Fox, Steve, “Why are we spending so much time ‘Measuring the Impact of Journalism?’” March 30, 2012.

FSG Social Impact Advisors/ John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, “Measuring the Online Impact of Your Information Project: A Primer for Practitioners and Funders,” 2010.

FSG Social Impact Advisors/ John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, “IMPACT: A practical guide to evaluating community information projects,” February 2011.

Gates, Bill, “My Plan to Fix The World’s Biggest Problems”, Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2013.

Gates Foundation, “A Guide to Actionable Measurement,” 2010.

Gigli, Susan, “What Is ‘Disruptive Metrics’”, March 20, 2013.

Gill, Kathy E., “Carnival of Journalism: How To Measure What Matters?”, April 4, 2012.

Gordon, John, “See, say, feel, do: Social media metrics that matter,” Fenton, Date Unknown.

Graves, Lucas, “Traffic Jam: We’ll never agree about online audience size,” September 7, 2010.

Graves, Lucas et al., “Confusion online: Faulty metrics and the future of digital journalism,” Tow Center, September, 2010.

Green, Daniel, “Eyeballs and Impact: Are we measuring the right things if we care about social progress?,” Skoll World Forum, 2012.

Harmony Institute, “Waiting for Superman: Entertainment evaluation highlights”, Harmony Institute, May 2011.

Heedy, Lucy and Keen, Sara, “SROI for funders,” New Philanthropy Capital, September 2010.

Hickman, Blair et al., “Best of MuckReads 2012”, ProPublica, December 31, 2012.

International Center For Journalists, “An evaluation of the Knight International Journalism Fellowships”, ICFJ, Date Unknown.

International Center For Journalists, “Evaluation field manual and tools for the Knight International Journalism Fellowships”, ICFJ, January 2011.

Johnson, John, “A New Approach to Making Films That Matter,” January 11, 2013.

Karlan, Dean et al., “More than good intentions: How a new economics is helping to solve global poverty”, Dutton, 2011.

KETC, “Facing the mortgage crisis: People, connections, resources”, Spring 2008.

Kohavi, Ron, et al., “Trustworthy online controlled experiments: Five puzzling outcomes explained”, Microsoft, 2012.

Kramer, Mark and Kania, John, “Collective Impact”, Stanford Social Innovation Review, Winter 2011.

Kristof, Nicoholas D., “Getting smart on aid,” May 18, 2011.

King, Gary et al., “Matching as nonparametric preprocessing for reducing model dependence in parametric causal inference,” Political Analysis 15:199–236, 2007.

Linch, Greg, “Quantifying impact: A better metric for measuring journalism”, January 14, 2012.

LFA Group: Learning for Action / Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation / John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, “Deepening Engagement for Lasting Impact: Measuring Media Performance and Results,” Februrary, 2013. (Forthcoming)

Los Angeles Times Data Desk, “Complete guide to the LAFD data controversy”, Los Angeles Times, April 12, 2012 (Ongoing).

Mayer, Joy and Stern, Ruben, “A resource for newsrooms: Identifying and measuring audience engagement efforts” June 3, 2011,

McKinsey & Company, “Learning for Social Impact”,

National Center for Media Engagement (NCME), “Measuring Public Media’s Impact: Challenges and Opportunities”, March 2013.

Ní Ógáin, Eibhlín et al., “Making an impact: Impact measurement among charities and social enterprises in the UK”, New Philanthropy Capital, October 2012.

Peters, Jeremy W., “Some Newspapers, Tracking Readers Online, Shift Coverage”, The New York Times, September 5, 2010.

Peters, Jeremy W., “A Newspaper, and a Legacy, Reordered”, February 11, 2012

Pilhofer, Aron, “Find the right metric for news”, July 25, 2012.

Priem, Jason et al., “The Altmetrics Collection”, Public Library of Science, 2012.

Ramsay, Clay et al., “Misinformation and the 2010 Election: A Study of the US Electorate,” December 10, 2010.

Reisman, Jane et al., “A handbook of data collection tools: Companion to ‘A guide to measuring advocacy and policy’”, Organizational Research Services, 2007.

Richardson, Breeze, “Measuring community engagement: A case study from Chicago Public Media,” Reynolds Journalism Institute, December 1, 2011.

Rosenblum, Michael, “How to Quantify the Impact of Journalism,” March 30, 2012.

Salagnik, Matthew J. et al., “Experimental study of inequality and unpredictability in an artificial cultural market” Science 311, 854, 2006.

Search, Jess, “Beyond the box office: New docuemntary valuations,” Channel 4 BritDoc Foundation, May 2011.


Spittle, Andrew, “Defining new metrics for journalism,” April 28, 2012.

Stray, Jonathan, “By the numbers, American journalism failed to inform voters,” December 29, 2010.

Stray, Jonathan, “Designing journalism to be used,” September 26, 2010.

Stray, Jonathan, “Does Journalism Work?,” December 14, 2010.

Stray, Jonathan, “Metrics, metrics everywhere: How do we measure the impact of journalism?,” Nieman Journalism Lab, August 17, 2012.

Stuart, E.A., “Matching methods for causal inference: A review and a look forward,” Statistical Science 25(1): 1-21, 2010.

Tofel, Richard J., “Non-profit journalism – Issues around impact: A white paper from ProPublica,” February, 2013.

TRASI: Tools and Resources for Assessing Social Impact:

Ward, Nicholas/ Infomart, “Un-juking the stats: Measuring journalism’s impact on society,” October 17, 2012.

Ward, Nicholas/ Infomart, “We become what we measure: Developing impact metrics for journalism,” October 3, 2012.

White, John Myles, “Bandit Algorithms for Website Optimization: Developing, Deploying, and Debugging”, O’Reilly Media, 2012.

WITNESS, “WITNESS performance dashboard,” WITNESS, December 2009.

Zuckerman, Ethan, “Metrics for civic impacts of journalism,” June 30, 2011.