Media's Role in Social Change


Key Questions

  • What makes media effective at getting large groups of people to take action?
  • How does media problematize – or fail to problematize – social issues? How do people become aware of large-scale social problems? What ultimately gets them to take action?

Research consistently shows that information on its own does not create change (e.g. Hornsey, Harris, Bain, & Fielding, 2016), and that outrage is often counterproductive (e.g. Rothschild & Keefer, 2017) unless it occurs after people develop an understanding of and affinity for the problem (e.g. Kals, Schumacher, & Montada, 1999). Our work supports creators in putting these emotional insights at the heart of media designed to create social change.