World Bank-Annenberg Summer Institute: The Power of Story to Bring Global Change

Hollywood, Health & Society Director Sandra de Castro Buffington delivered a talk June 26 on the power of entertainment storylines to bring about global change, at the World Bank-Annenberg Summer Institute being held on the USC campus.

The World Bank Institute, in partnership with the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania and the Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism at the University of Southern California, hopes to sharpen the skills of professionals and officials in new techniques in communication and reform implementation—from crafting strategies in building coalitions to measuring impact.

“These skills are essential to bringing about real change,” says the institute. “In many reform environments, a range of challenging, people-related issues emerge. Many of the barriers are not amenable to technical solutions alone,” including lack of political leadership, hostile public opinion and opposition by vested special-interest groups.”

Buffington’s talk, “The Power of Story: Global Change Through Entertainment Partnerships,” addressed how to harness the power of entertainment industries worldwide to shape public opinion through dramatic storylines in television, film and new media. She introduced techniques for creating transmedia campaigns that carry a dramatic narrative across multiple platforms (social media and fan sites, among others) to engage audiences in taking action. Buffington discussed the model that Hollywood, Health & Society employs, and tips for structuring successful partnerships with the entertainment industry. She also provided story examples that have had measurable impact on viewers’ knowledge, attitudes and behavior. 

Hollywood, Health & Society is a program of the USC Annenberg Norman Lear Center that provides entertainment industry professionals with accurate and timely information for health and climate change storylines.