This research report, based on evaluations of four of BBC Media Action’s recent crises interventions, assesses the effectiveness of mass media interventions in enabling people to survive and recover when disaster strikes.
This report documents the findings of four evaluations of responses around the 2015 Nepal earthquakes, the 2014/15 Ebola epidemic, the Syrian refugee crisis and the 2014 conflict in Gaza. By carrying out a robust synthesis of these findings against selected OECD DAC evaluation criteria, it seeks to contribute to understanding and evidence of the impact of media interventions in crisis and sets out a series of conclusions as to what mass media interventions, in particular, are effective and less effective at accomplishing.
The report makes four main conclusions. First, that while mass media is effective at reaching large numbers of people with potentially life-saving information across a range of topics, it is less effective at providing more context-specific, localised information that people also need.
Second, information needs to be practical to be useful, and mass media is most effective at providing practical information that can be universally applied, rather than specific details on what to do in a particular context.
Third, mass-scale broadcasts are particularly effective at achieving psychosocial impacts, such as helping people feel more connected with others going through the same experience and providing confidence to act in the face of crisis.
Finally, crisis exacerbates and heightens existing issues and people make choices about where to get their information based on access, quality, trust and relevance of content.