The healthcare face-off: Sicko and How to Survive a Plague side by side

Every film conveys information. The manner in which that information is conveyed determines the style of the movie. (Friedman et. al.)

At HI we bring together numerous quantitative and qualitative methods to compare films within and across social issues. We gather engagement data such as a film’s presence on social media, the critical reception around it, press coverage, mentions in congress, and overall viewership numbers to explore a single film and/or compare it with other films. To fully understand a film’s social impact, however, it’s crucial to take each individual ripple of this engagement into account. This means that, in addition to these high level metrics, it’s also important to zoom in on to the micro-level perspective of a film’s narrative structure and the viewer’s experience of it. In a recent HI Media Club, we held a staff discussion to brainstorm about the narrative structure of social issue documentaries and how these might relate to issue comprehension.

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HI Media Club: Douglas Rushkoff’s Present Shock

Blue Clock

At the Harmony Institute, we take a multidisciplinary approach to understanding the impact of entertainment media. In our quest to understand and measure impact, narratives and the way in which they are constructed play a large role in our research endeavors. In order to enhance our studies, we have been holding our own Media Club, during which we choose one or more pieces of media, usually a film or a book, to read or watch and discuss. We recently read the first chapter of Douglas Rushkoff’s latest book, Present Shock.

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