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Helping one of the world’s most prominent NGO’s adapt to a rapidly changing landscape.  

For Humans Rights Watch

The Story

One of the world’s most respected NGO’s, Human Rights Watch needed to understand how the information landscape was changing for its key audiences and what investments it needed to make to its own digital capacity, assets, and culture to continue to reach them. 

We led an intensive review of HRW’s communications environment drawing on the insights of diverse stakeholder networks in New York and offices around the world as well as those of board members, partners and globally recognized thought leaders in digital innovation. We then turned to interviews with HRW’s most important target audiences, current state metrics reviews and audience surveys to complete the scan.

The result was a clear picture of a radically changed world where online networks outside traditional centers of power were growing in influence and eroding the role of news organizations and experts. Adapting to this new reality implied rethinking HRW as its own online content distribution hub, ensuring it was creating shorter form digital-friendly content, and working to increase the influence of their front line researchers working in over 80 countries around the world.

As a result of this exercise and the investments that followed, Human Rights Watch has maintained its dominant position in legacy media while greatly strengthening its impact in emerging and online media, ensuring its critical research continues to reach key decision makers at the pace of 21st century change. 

Our Impact

  • Created digital task force to plan integration of digital into front line program work
  • Created new senior digital director position; led recruitment and hiring
  • Culture change process kicked off with senior management and staff
  • New approaches to shorter form, digital-friendly storytelling now dominate communications tactics
NetChange Human Rights Watch Collage