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The Women of Communication Studies and Foundation Funding

October 18, 2018

The Bureau of Applied Social Research (BASR) at Columbia University was an important location where Paul F. Lazarsfeld and his researchers developed methods for the statistical analysis of audience interpretation of mass media messages. Although several studies exist of Lazarsfeld and the BASR, no attention has been paid to the numerous women who worked there. In fact, the very history of Communication Studies, with a few exceptions, overlooks the important role women's work played in the development of lasting theories of mediated communication, as well as methods for audience research. By 1949, seven women were listed as members of the BASR on the bureau's letterhead: Jeanette Green, Marie Jahoda, Babette Kass, Patricia L. Kendall, Rose Kohn, Louise Moses, and Patricia J. Salter. The work histories of these women show that, during the 1940s and 1950s, female social scientists negotiated the pursuit of careers as social scientists with several important pressures. These pressures included gendered expectations regarding female employment, foreclosure of entrance into tenured academic positions, anti-communism of the early Cold War, and foundation-based funding opportunities for research. This research report outlines some of the work histories of the women conducting audience research in the 1940s vis-a-vis foundation-based funding opportunities.

Case Studies: How Four Community Information Projects Went from Idea to Impact

February 1, 2013

Making positive change happen in communities requires the free flow of quality information. We need it to achieve the results we want in education, public safety, environmental protection, youth development -- and just about any other issue that we care about. If the news and information environment is in trouble, so is civic life. Community and place-based foundations across the country are recognizing that, in an increasingly digital world, credible news and information are among the most powerful tools they have to spark community change. Over the five years of the Knight Community Information Challenge (KCIC), more than 80 foundations have invested in various media projects -- strengthening local and state reporting, encouraging citizen dialogue and supporting digital literacy skills -- to advance their goals for a better community.This report offers four case studies on how different foundations used information to improve the healthy functioning of their communities. The cases highlight the following: Why did each foundation support local media? How did it connect to their strategic priorities? What steps did they take to make their project successful? And what impact has it had on the issues they care about? Sharing these cases we hope provides valuable lessons for other foundations considering supporting local news and information efforts and broadening their commitment to using media and technology to engage residents.

Journalism, News, and Information

Opportunities for Leadership: Meeting Community Information Needs 2011

September 12, 2011

Describes how three Knight Community Information Challenge grantees incorporated efforts to create innovative news models, online information hubs, citizen journalism projects, youth media, and civic engagement and advocacy campaigns into their work.

Journalism, News, and Information

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