At Global Reporting Center (GRC), we critically analyse what we do, how we do it and what impact it has. GRC promotes global reporting and empowerment journalism. We look for projects that we can develop in partnership with local journalists and community members. For example, we teamed with a group of respected radio journalists in Mogadishu and sent them wearable cameras to use (when safe) for their daily reporting. This not only combines uses of new technology into journalism but also empowers journalists who would otherwise not have such tools to tell their story to a wider audience.
We are cautious that our stories are not only limited to those who have access to Western mass media. Therefore, we often translate our projects into the local language of where the project focuses on and disseminate it through open source content. We think of creative ways to take our stories to those who are most affected by the topic under investigation, who might not read major newspapers or watch our documentaries. For example, for our supply chain project we plan to have an interactive exhibit staged in a shipping container. This container will travel around the world to communities that are hubs for global supply chains.
Change starts with a story, awareness of that story, engagement around the problems highlighted in that story and actions to address those problems. We asses who is engaged and enabled at different levels of our work, such as:
- Empowerment for those telling the story
- Individuals becoming aware of an issue through social or traditional media
- Communities engaging in discussion through exhibits and screenings
- Individuals, communities and institutions using our work to catalyze change
Impact assessment is not a hard science and we are continuously engaging with our peers and experts on this topic. In January 2017 we hosted a discussion in Vancouver gauging impact of socially-relevant documentary and journalism, what tools exist for measuring impact, what the value is of quantifying impact and the implications of this exercise on the media landscape.
The impact leading to a major action is easier to measure but often changes take continuous engagement and awareness that eventually lead to change. How does one measure such engagements? Is measurement worthwhile? What strengths and weaknesses do current impact measurement tools have? We have recently started a research project to grapple with such questions.