Posted February 22nd 2010 at 2:15 pm by
in Media Mindfulness, Mel King Community Fellows, Useful Downloads

Before You Make Media, Define Your Audience

CoLab held a media workshop with its community partners on February 19th and 20th at MIT.

Rather than jumping to tools, such as video and Twitter, we spent three hours developing ideas about who we try to reach with our media. Above, CoLab’s Sebastiao Ferreira describes a stakeholder mapping exercise with media workshop participants.

Malia Lazu of The Gathering for Justice records Sebastiao with a Flip camera, as Jasmine Lopez of Neighbor to Neighbor and Mira Allen, an Americorps VISTA and volunteer at Community Labor United, look on.

In the first stage of the workshop, participants identified the main conflicts their organizations face in their work and the main objectives they would like to reach. Above, Malia Lazu tells the group about her struggle to bring down the high rates of urban youth sent to jail.

In the second phase of the workshop, participants described those audiences in support of their organizations’ work, and those opposed.  Above, Corey Kurtz and Jasmine Lopez of Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts tell the group about their organizational context.

In the third phase of the workshop, participants identified stereotypes different stakeholders have regarding their organizations.  In the fourth phase, participants made suggestions for other groups on how they could use media to overcome these stereotypes.  Above, Yumeka Rushing  of Mississippi NAACP and Oxfam America, and Monica Taylor-McInnis of Mississippi NAACP, discuss their ideas for The Gathering for Justice.

All participants read the results of all their collective work so that they could help one another identify message and media solutions to reach target audiences and overcome stereotypes.

Sebastiao talked to to group about the problem of competing ideas.  He emphasized the importance of creating new ideas that are not defensive to major stereotypes, but offensive.

Finally, workshop participants wrote down their main conclusions from the exercise. Above, Jasmine Lopez thinks through her experience.  Everyone had insightful conclusions, including:

– we need to create space for those in our networks to tell their own stories

– recognizing our common barriers can be a powerful strategic tool for messaging and advancing partnerships

– we could broaden our message to tell a variety of stories that a variety of people can relate to

– we’re used to just reaching the ‘usual’ audience, but we shouldn’t be afraid to use different ways of speaking to reach different people

– we should focus on the message and why we’re sending it, not just how we’re getting it out

Download detailed notes on how to run an activity like this for your network here.

Photos 1, 2, 3, 4 and 7 by Danielle Martin. Photos 5 and 6 by Stefanie Ritoper.

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