Showing posts with label news media. Show all posts
Showing posts with label news media. Show all posts

Monday, March 14, 2022

The Guardian provides another view to US news

A couple of good articles on topics we don't always find in the US new media

"How COVID shook the US: eight charts that capture the last two years"
Death is a topic not well discussed and perhaps even more so when associated with COVID-19. The counting process can be problematic. Everyone needs to be using the same definitions and even in MA, the definition of a COVID death is changing. One thing is clear, the disease is deadly.

one of the 8 charts in the article
one of the 8 charts in the article

Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)


"Sandy Hook review: anatomy of an American tragedy – and the obscenity of social media"

"Even in a country now completely inured to the horrors of mass shootings, the massacre at Sandy Hook remains lodged in the minds of everyone old enough to remember it. Ten years ago, 20-year-old Adam Lanza fired 154 rounds from an AR-15-style rifle in less than five minutes. Twenty extremely young children and six adults were killed.

It was the worst elementary school shooting in American history.

Elizabeth Williamson’s new book is about that “American Tragedy”, but more importantly it is about “the Battle for Truth” that followed. In excruciating detail, Williamson describes the unimaginable double tragedy every Sandy Hook parent has had to endure: the murder of their child, followed by years and years of an army of online monsters accusing them of inventing this unimaginable horror."
Continue reading the article online (subscription maybe required)

Note: my wife taught kindergarten for 20+ years here in Franklin so the Sandy Hook tragedy hits close to home. 

Thursday, February 10, 2022

“What do you think is the strongest argument for the other side?”

"In recent years, the number of nonprofits and initiatives that could be categorized under a concept called “bridging” has expanded in the U.S.: Millions of Conversations, The People’s Supper and Good Conflict are just a few. Some efforts build on conflict resolution practices at a large scale (think social psychology) or individual (think marriage counseling), and all aim to create strong conditions for talking and working together across various fault lines.

Looking at this expanding list, it’s easy to wonder what journalists — who are faced with their own challenges in reaching people with shared conversation and facts — might learn from them. But why, amid all other pressures on their work and livelihood, might they want to?"
Continue reading the article online
https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/articles/journalism-bridging-monica-guzman/



MÓNICA GUZMÁN
https://www.americanpressinstitute.org/publications/articles/journalism-bridging-monica-guzman/

MÓNICA GUZMÁN - BRIDGE BUILDER | AUTHOR | JOURNALIST
MÓNICA GUZMÁN - BRIDGE BUILDER | AUTHOR | JOURNALIST

Sunday, December 26, 2021

How the Media Covered Voting Rights in 2020


M+R's Media Relations team is rounding out its 2021 Mediamarks Labs series focused on better understanding communication trends from 2020 and planning for the future. Today: media coverage on voting rights, what stories rose to the top, and how people engaged with that coverage.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ 
M+RFree advice for nonprofits
How the Media Covered Voting Rights in 2020
By Michelle Blundell and Aki Camargo  |  Dec 23, 2021  |  Tags: elections media mediamarks

Read time: 8 minutes

Elections are big news in any year. In 2020, the election—and just as important, the stories told about the election—took on exceptional significance.

First there were stories of the historic voter turnout, and people forced to line up for hours across the country to cast their vote. Then came the false cries of fraud and a refusal to accept the election results as legitimate.

Now we're seeing many Republican-dominated state legislatures advance restrictive and often racist measures that take power away from people to cast their vote. Protecting our fundamental right to vote will only grow more urgent in the months ahead, particularly in advance of the 2022 midterms and 2024 presidential election. 

That's why our team is rounding out our 2021 Mediamarks Labs series by taking a close look at the trends in last year's coverage of voting rights—specifically the battle to protect, expand and realize every American's right to vote. 

As always with this series, the hope is that communications professionals will keep the lessons of how coverage of the issue of voting rights shifted in 2020 in mind when charting a course for the future, especially as 2022 midterms fast approach.

Community stories trickled up to national attention

From absurdly long voting lines, to the USPS removing mail collection boxes for mail-in ballots, voter suppression was rampant in 2020. Stories that honed in on a state's efforts to block our freedom to vote had people paying attention, driving up engagement on social channels.

For example, Mother Jones' investigative story on Kentucky's drastic reduction of polling places in predominantly Black neighborhoods was shared widely on Facebook (320,000+ shares). Similarly, CNN's story on USPS' efforts to remove mail collection boxes in communities across the country was among the top 5 voting rights stories, when looking at the number of Facebook shares.

What's more, of the top 20 national stories on voting rights shared on Facebook, more than a quarter were dedicated to looking at voter-related issues in our communities. 

Voting rights issues affect the whole nation, but first and foremost, they start in our communities. These issues are as much a state issue as they are a federal issue. And it's critically important to tell these stories. It helps us better understand complex words like "voter suppression" and see the real, harmful impacts of politicians and billionaires who work to actively block the freedom to vote for Black, Brown, Indigenous people and many other important communities who deserve equal access to the ballot box. 

And together, amplifying the stories of voters and activists on the ground is crucial to understanding the bigger picture of voter suppression and the fight for voting rights nationwide. 

Big names drove big coverage 

Some of the most shared articles related to voting rights on social media platforms (such as Twitter and Facebook) featured public figures like Stacey Abrams, Mark Zuckerburg, and late U.S. Representative John Lewis, and celebrities like LeBron James. 

While all of these figures played a different role in the realm of elections and voting, the historic actions they took earned them meaningful feature stories in media outlets in the lead up to and after the election.

A majority of the outlets we looked at, including ones like Rolling Stone and The Guardian, dedicated in-depth coverage to looking at the historic efforts of people like Lewis and Abrams, and what those efforts meant for today's elections. These stories also made clear the long way we still have to go in ensuring all Americans have an equal say in who's elected to make decisions about issues that impact our lives.

Celebrity activism in voting rights was at a high, and the media followed. More than a quarter of the top 20 stories shared on social media were a result of a high profile or celebrity voice speaking out on voting rights. Specifically, two of the top 20 articles with the most Facebook shares focused on LeBron James' important efforts to advance the right to vote for people who are formerly incarcerated.

It's no surprise audiences gravitate towards stories that feature a well-known figure. And whether it's a celebrity or politician, readers tend to contextualize their understanding of a given issue through key influencers or voices that dominate such a field. 

"Unexpected" big-name voices like LeBron James can help stoke that curiosity even more. In our minds, that's a good thing. The more people following (and hopefully engaging with) an issue that impacts every aspect of our lives—from the quality of our schools and roads in our communities, to our access to healthcare and good jobs—only makes our democracy stronger.

Lifestyle outlets continue to engage in politics

Outlets like Vogue, Teen Vogue, and Vanity Fair were once considered lifestyle-only publications, catering to an audience that enjoyed light-hearted content. But in the last several years, we've continued to see a real shift and investment at lifestyle publications in looking at hard news that impacts our lives—from voting rights and immigrant rights to reproductive health. In 2020 alone, the lifestyle outlets we looked at in Mediamarks, which included just a small sampling of these outlets, dedicated a total of 114 articles to issues on voting rights.  

Vogue's feature story on Stacey Abrams' leadership and advocacy to fight for equal access to the ballot box, which was among the top 20 articles shared on social media, was a perfect example of putting voting rights and political news front and center:

Audiences of lifestyle outlets are increasingly engaged in both the political and social worlds. The personal is political, and one does not have to be a policy wonk to engage with what's happening in the world. 

Looking ahead as nonprofits pitch these outlets in the future, honing in on how lifestyle, gender, and reproductive health impact voting rights will be crucial. Connecting the dots between the personal and political for readers will ensure they understand how voting rights are woven into all aspects of their lives—and will hopefully spur even more activism and engagement.

The media shined a light on under-reported communities

While it was disappointing to see unfounded claims of election fraud become a big part of the narrative around the 2020 election, a bright spot was the coverage dedicated to elevating often under-reported communities—from individuals who are formerly incarcerated, to tribal communities—and their intersection with key issues like voting rights. These stories often drew attention to the barriers that marginalized communities still face when it comes to accessing the ballot box. 

In our work with the Declaration for American Democracy—a coalition of 240+ organizations who have all come together to fight for the freedom to vote—we saw firsthand the attention reporters were paying to lifting up the voices of under-reported communities. It helped contribute to the urgency around needed state-level reforms to ensure all people could easily and safely vote during a pandemic, and around legislation like the now-called Freedom to Vote Act, which would transform our democracy into one that is truly of, by, and for the people.

National outlets such as Teen Vogue, The New Republic and TIME not only dedicated meaningful coverage to Native communities and the unique challenges they face when it comes to voting rights, but also highlighted the important role they play in critical elections across the country.


We saw similar trends of robust national and local coverage of individuals who are formerly incarcerated, particularly in the Florida fight to restore critical voting rights to people with felonies. 

While in the past these have been treated like niche issues, they have far-reaching implications for many important communities and elections. Broadening their coverage is incredibly important in order to make meaningful change. 

Unfortunately, there's still a long way to go in elevating these communities even further as well as the language the media uses when talking about marginalized communities. With continued education with reporters, the hope is that there can be a stronger shift towards person-first language, moving away from words like "felons," which can be dehumanizing, and instead towards language like "people who are formerly incarcerated" that center and respect people and protect their dignity. (Here's a resource we find particularly helpful, from our friends at the Vera Institute of Justice.)

As the midterms fast approach, we have the opportunity to build on the 2020 coverage that honed in on the challenges many Americans still face to exercising our voting rights, but also celebrated great wins like historic voter turnout and lifted up more voices of Black, Brown, and Native voters, among other marginalized communities. The hope is that we only go up from here, and the voices and stories we put in front of the media to lift up will continue to contribute as we work towards a democracy that gives an equal voice to all of us. Onward!

*A quick word about methodology: We use Muck Rack for a lot of our work at M+R, and that includes Mediamarks. The data in this post is based on a comprehensive Muck Rack search to pull media hit data aligned with our search terms from January 1, 2020 to December 31, 2020.

We pulled articles from a universe of 100 outlets. To choose the outlet pool, we gathered the outlets that have higher Unique Visitors per Month (UVM) and Mozrank scores. They are a mix of regional, national, and international newspapers, magazines, broadcast channels, digital news sites, and wires.


When Michelle isn't driving communications strategies to secure press for nonprofits, you can find her touring the wineries and breweries of Virginia. Michelle can be reached at mblundell@mrss.com.

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Monday, September 27, 2021

Dan Rather: We Need a New Vocabulary For Our Politics...

Terminology is always key. I have told a story that grass is green, Your grass maybe greener than mine or vice versa, but we both know 'green grass'. When it comes to ordering a particular shade of green, the color match becomes critical and the terminology plays more of a role. Emerald green, lime green, dark green... You get the point. 

The conservation of the terms we use for politics distorts how quickly our politics can and has changed.  ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
Dan Rather: We Need a New Vocabulary For Our Politics...

Why have I started this post with a picture of an old telephone? Because I've been thinking a lot lately that what we call a "phone" today is nothing like what we used to call a phone. 

I know this is no great revelation, but bear with me for a moment, because I believe there is a strong parallel to be made between this observation and what we are seeing in our current political world, and how we talk about it. 

Simply put, we use vocabulary from the past to talk about the present in a way that can, if we are not careful, be very distorting. Much like the powerful computer/camera/reader/flashlight/alarm clock/tracking device we carry around in our purses or pockets has only a tangential relation to traditional notions of the telephone, the nomenclature we use to reference political parties, the courts, and the other institutions of our civic life is equally tenuous. 

Democrats, Republicans, moderates, liberals, conservatives - we use these terms as if they are rooted and unchanging in their definitions, like, say, mountains, oceans, or apples. But there is a big difference between the words we use to describe the constructions of human society and those we use for nature. When it comes to how we live and interact, we are agents of increasingly rapid change. We use words to try to create common understandings and tie the present to the past. But broad terms cover up the diversity of the human experience, and how things change over time. People live in "homes" all over the world. But a "house" in one place can be very different from a "house" somewhere else. And certainly our homes today are similar but also very different from the houses of the past. 

The conservation of the terms we use for politics distorts how quickly our politics can and has changed. We must remember we are a very young country. Only 245 years (a little over three average modern American lifespans) separates our current time from the Declaration of Independence. For me, at least, that fact never ceases to shock. It resonates how much we have changed, and how quickly. 

We need to really think hard about how antiquated some of our descriptions for our current state of affairs have become. Let's start with who makes up the citizenship of our country. It is nothing like what it was, even in the not-too-distant past. We are much more diverse, by any metric you could think of. We are also more urban, more educated, and more mobile. And yet there is a strong bias to think of "average Americans" as those who would be conjured up in decades past. Proof of this can be found in the seeming obsession by the political press to hunker down for interviews with voters in rural diners. These Americans are asked their opinion about the direction of the country a lot more than a young immigrant in the Bronx. 

Because political parties are tied to voters, the changes noted above have also led to tremendous change around what it means to be a Democrat and Republican. When I was younger, we talked of the "solid South," which referred to the lock the Democrats had on the Southern states - a legacy of the Civil War. Looking at present political maps, the red-blue divide looks very different. The South is Republican, which again has a lot to do with race and the legacy of the Civil War, except that the affiliation of the political parties has changed.

In 2020, however, Biden won two Southern states - Virginia (which has become an increasingly blue state) and also Georgia. That's because states change as well. Both of those states increasingly have become places that draw an educated workforce to cities and suburbs, and this cohort has become more reliably Democratic voters. So yes we can talk about Georgia and Virginia as part of the South, or even part of the original 13 colonies, but what that means for today is different from what it meant in the past. In a counter example, West Virginia was once one of the most Democratic states in the union and now it is one of the most Republican. 

Once one acknowledges all this churn it brings into question some of the other descriptive terminology we tend to use. What really is a conservative, a liberal, a moderate? How can you be a conservative and care nothing about conserving the planet? How can you be called a moderate and do nothing to moderate the greatest assault on democracy in generations? Is it a liberal value to adhere to the science of vaccines? 

This idea of conservative and liberal becomes even more strained when we try to apply it to the courts, particularly the current Supreme Court. We talk about the "conservative" justices, as if they are holding back the mobs to protect the sanctity of the Constitution. In reality they are laying waste to settled Constitutional rights and condoning attacks on our democratic process. Doesn't seem very conservative to me. 

I would humbly suggest that journalists in particular pay attention to these questions of semantics. Because what you call something matters. It shapes how the public sees reality. The term "liberal" might suggest a movement that is unrestrained, whereas "conservative" might suggest a movement that is secure and grounded. Is that really an accurate portrayal of Democrats and Republicans today? Even the idea of two equal political parties simply vying for votes, Democrats this and Republicans that, is a mischaracterization of what each of these parties has become and how they function. Political parties in our history have had leaders, but they have not been cults of personality. The terminology of a "party" suggests a core set of beliefs, a platform on which candidates run, even if they do not agree on all the issues. But today's Republicans are less a party than a mass movement with fealty to a would-be authoritarian. They didn't even try to produce a platform for the 2020 campaign. Instead, their voters, in a party that long championed "family values," embraced a man who was morally bankrupt. This included a vast majority of white, evangelical voters. Similarly, the party that piously lectured on fiscal responsibility when Democrats wanted to spend money, eagerly opened the checkbook to a grifter. 

It is understandable that we seek to hold on to familiar terms to try to make sense of the present. That's how language works. We need some common points of comprehension. And languages do evolve. But it takes time. Right now, we don't have time to sit back and wait. We need to develop the words that accurately describe the dangers we are seeing. We can't let comfortable euphemisms and terminology cloud out the truths of our moment. To try to come up with new ways to describe our politics is not an easy undertaking, but it is a necessary one. If we hope to accurately diagnose what ails us and find solutions rooted in the current reality, we must let go of the definitions of the past.

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© 2021 Dan Rather 
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Thursday, June 10, 2021

FM #559 - Don Wilding talks "Shipwrecks of Cape Cod" - 06/01/21 (audio)

This session of the radio show shares my conversation with Franklin resident and author Don Wilding. We had our conversation outdoors, on the Town Common, albeit with some traffic and a gentle breeze. We were able to remove the sounds of the one truck that interfered. We had a pleasant talk about Don’s story, living in different parts of the Hockomock League area and now here in Franklin. 


It was exciting to be in person, my second time for a recording this year. We get into Don’s recent book: Shipwrecks of Cape Cod. He is out on a lecture circuit of sorts with a presentation on this book. 


The recording runs about 33 minutes, so let’s listen to my conversation with Don Wilding


Audio file = https://player.captivate.fm/episode/d9d1ec1a-fcbe-4527-9c85-e09fe9d3fb87



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Don Wilding’s page -> https://www.dwcapecod.com/ 


Shipwrecks of Cape Cod -> https://www.dwcapecod.com/books-articles 


Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/donwildingscapecod/ 



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We are now producing this in collaboration with Franklin.TV and Franklin Public Radio (wfpr.fm). 


This podcast is my public service effort for Franklin but we can't do it alone. We can always use your help.

 

How can you help?

  • If you can use the information that you find here, please tell your friends and neighbors

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Through this feedback loop we can continue to make improvements. I thank you for listening.

 

For additional information, please visit Franklinmatters.org/  or www.franklin.news 


If you have questions or comments you can reach me directly at shersteve @ gmail dot com


The music for the intro and exit was provided by Michael Clark and the group "East of Shirley". The piece is titled "Ernesto, manana"  c. Michael Clark & Tintype Tunes, 2008 and used with their permission.


I hope you enjoy!

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You can also subscribe and listen to Franklin Matters audio on iTunes or your favorite podcast app; search in "podcasts" for "Franklin Matters"

 

Steve Sherlock (left) Don Wilding (right) on the Town Common
Steve Sherlock (left) Don Wilding (right) on the Town Common

Friday, January 8, 2021

New York Times: Don't loose this Pentagon papers story in the midst of everything else going on

 
"There was one story Neil Sheehan chose not to tell. It was the story of how he had obtained the Pentagon Papers, the blockbuster scoop that led to a 1971 showdown between the Nixon administration and the press, and to a Supreme Court ruling that is still seen as a milepost in government-press relations.

From the moment he secured the 7,000 pages of classified government documents on the Vietnam War for The New York Times, until his death on Thursday, Mr. Sheehan, a former Vietnam War correspondent and Pulitzer Prize-winning author, declined nearly every invitation to explain precisely how he had pulled it off.

In 2015, however, at a reporter’s request, he agreed to tell his story on the condition that it not be published while he was alive. Beset by scoliosis and Parkinson’s disease, he recounted, in a four-hour interview at his home in Washington, a tale as suspenseful and cinematic as anyone in Hollywood might concoct."
Continue reading the article online (subscription may be required)