As part of its overall strategy to enhance learning in informal environments, the Advancing Informal STEM Learning (AISL) program funds innovative research, approaches, and resources for use in a variety of settings. In this Innovations and Development project, Child Trends, in collaboration with Ivanhoe Broadcast News, will expand the reach of the Child Trends News Service, and rigorously evaluate its impact on viewers. The News Service aims to build the public's knowledge of, and appreciation for, social science research and to encourage adoption of research-informed parenting practices associated with positive child development--particularly among Latino parents. First produced in 2017 through a NSF proof of concept grant, the Child Trends News Service covers actionable, child-focused, social science research. By featuring this research on local TV news, the project expands access to evidence-based parenting recommendations. As of February 2018, 89 stations had subscribed to the News Service, including eight stations in the top 25 Latino-serving TV markets that reach 38% of all Hispanic TV Households in those 25 markets. This project is a response to the challenges faced by U.S. children, of whom more than one in five live in poverty. The focus on Latino parents is in response Latinos' increasing share of all children, and that Latino children are disproportionately poor, in comparison to their peers. The project will examine the impact of the News Service on parents who view the news reports in their homes, as well as Latino parents viewing the News Service as part of their participation in the Abriendo Puertas (Opening Doors) community-based parenting program. This research will contribute to the knowledge base of what we know about how people access and use science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) information across settings.
The overarching aim of this project is to leverage commercial television news to reach populations who have historically been underrepresented in STEM education and careers. The goals of the project are to:
1. Build and manage an interdisciplinary collaborative, including news media professionals, researchers, practitioners in organizations serving at-risk families, and experts in STEM communications and Latino studies.
2. Leverage mass media news outlets to deliver social science research on children to at-risk populations, with a focus on reaching Latino parents.
3. Advance the field of informal STEM learning by exploring how the public interacts with actionable research on child development to inform their knowledge, attitudes and behaviors.
4. Expand the reach and application of the news products through strategic outreach to other stakeholders in the child development field including programs serving under-served families.
To accomplish these goals, the project will further strengthen an Advisory Panel to inform content development, study design, interpretation of findings, dissemination of study results, and the transition of the project after the NSF grant period. The project will continue to provide eight (both in English and Spanish) stories each month to TV stations and strategically grow the reach in top Latino markets. The editorial process will be informed by surveys of Latino parents to identify topics of interest. Through a random-assignment impact study with local TV news audiences from diverse racial/ethnic groups, the project will evaluate the impact of the News Service. The project will use formative research methods to refine messaging and examine the potential for repurposing the videos through a parenting program for Latino parents.
The Child Trends News Service seeks broader impacts in three areas: increasing the public's scientific literacy and engagement with science and technology; increasing partnerships between academia, industry, and others; and improving the well-being of individuals in society.
This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.
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