Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This blog is brought to you by the letters E and E.

My International Public Service Project (IPSP) kicked off with a conference yesterday! Eleven countries have gathered for the next two weeks in St. Lucia to talk about methodologies and best practices of entertainment education along with writing the radio scripts which will be aired over the next three years! This is an exciting time for the Caribbean, guys.

So what is entertainment education? Well, I’m glad you asked. In a nutshell entertainment education (EE) is anything that uses media to entertain as well as educate its audience on any number of social issues. It’s commonly seen in television and radio; think PBS. Sesame Street has done a great job of teaching children their numbers and letters for decades. But EE can do so much more than teach children language and mathematical skills. EE reaches into communities to make an entire population aware and curious about the state of affairs around them. Thus, EE makes a cultural impact for the listeners and viewers who consume it.

My project over the summer will be working with PCI-Media Impact as they collaborate with countries in the Caribbean to create and implement an EE radio program on climate change. During the conference, Media Impact Program Director Sean Southey gave a great overview of defining EE for the conference participants.
Highlights of the lecture were:
• An effective EE piece should be 80% entertainment and 20% education
• Knowledge + attitudes alone does not equal behavior change
• The goal of EE is to move a person from self efficacy to collective efficacy
• A narrative does a much better job at addressing complex social issues than billboards, PSA’s, and posters

While I was listening to the lecture on EE I began thinking about what EE pieces in my own life have made an impact on me. As a person who literally grew up on three great fundamental sectors of media: radio, television, and film – I had a lot to draw on from my memory bank.

Whether it was Beverly Hills 90210, reruns of the Mary Tyler Moore show or Full House -- each of the shows I watched in my formative years helped shape the behaviors and attitudes I had growing up. And if you have any great EE stories, please send them on in. I'd love to hear them.


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