Arvind Singhal, PhD, Communication Theory and Research, USC Annenberg School for Communication, is Professor of Communication and Director of the Social Justice Initiative at The University of Texas at El Paso. His research and outreach spans multiple sectors, including health, health, education, peace, human rights, poverty alleviation, sustainable development, civic participation, democracy and governance, and corporate citizenship.
Everett M. Rogers, PhD in Sociology and Statistics, Iowa State University, was a communication scholar, sociologist, writer, and teacher best known for his “diffusion of innovations” theory and for introducing the term “early adopter.” To commemorate his contributions to the field, the USC Norman Lear Center established the Everett M. Rogers Award for Achievement in Entertainment-Education, which recognizes outstanding practice or research in the field of entertainment education.
“Entertainment-education is the process of purposely designing and implementing a media message both to entertain and educate, in order to increase audience members’ knowledge about an educational issue, create favorable attitudes, and change overt behavior. Entertainment-education seeks to capitalize on the appeal of popular media to show individuals how they can live safer, healthier, and happier lives” (9).
Singhal and Rogers believe entertainment-education can contribute to social change by: (1) positively impacting audience appreciation and comportment, and (2) influencing viewers’ external settings and establish conditions for change at the mesa or macro levels.
However, ensuring all determinant factors are well-aligned/healthy to ensure entertainment-education’s effectiveness is no small feat. The factors are: audience characteristics, organizational factors, media environment (exposure is key), audience research, program-specific factors, and infrastructural factors.