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Center for Media Engagement

The Center for Media Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin envisions a vibrant American news media that empowers citizens to understand, appreciate, and participate in the democratic exchange of ideas.

The center works toward this by:

  • Conducting research, including experimental (A/B) testing, content analyses, and survey research, with a focus on causal relationships and understanding how best to engage and inform digital news seekers and passive news consumers.
  • Creating and disseminating continuously updated content, tools, and strategies to quantitatively improve news and democratic engagement.
  • Creating collaborations and networking opportunities among academia, newsrooms, and news-related organizations for the purpose of identifying innovative ways to engage news audiences.

We will know we have been successful when media organizations are routinely making decisions based on both business and democratic considerations. These decisions will be informed by research. As a consequence, news audiences will be better citizens – more informed, more tolerant of differing views, and more engaged in the political process.

The Engaging News Project was launched in 2013 as an idea. Since then, we have piloted several new programs, tools, and strategies, and have seen them adopted by an increasing number of American newsrooms. Our early successes have proven that there is a real demand for our work. In fact, the results have been so encouraging that we now have plans to take this pilot and turn it into a movement.

We would love to talk to you more about our work. Please feel free to contact us at mediaengagement@austin.utexas.edu.

We are grateful for funding support from the Democracy Fund, Hewlett Foundation, Rita Allen Foundation, Knight Foundation, Google, Facebook, and the Moody College of Communication.