Category Archives: Media impact

A preview of what’s to come….

Digital Media Lounge

This afternoon I’m leaving for New York to cover the UN MDG Summit. I’ll be participating in the Digital Media Lounge and will be blogging, pretty much non-stop!

I’ll be covering as much as I possibly can, but here are a few things I’ll be focusing on:

  • ICT4D (Information and Communication Technologies for development)- how development and humanitarian agencies are using communications and new tech to reach development goals
  • Disaster relief 2.0 – how organizations and governments are using collaborative technologies to better (hopefully) coordinate aid and humanitarian assistance
  • Media’s impact on development- what is media’s role? How can we strengthen media?
  • If, and how, any of these new technologies better include people with disabilities into development, or whether they have been considered…

I’ll also be covering the Obama and Ban Ki-Moon speeches!

You can also follow me on Twitter: LCMoy !


Media, culture and Azerbaijan

This afternoon I attended a brown bag lunch lecture at the World Bank on mobile technology and access to information. It was put on by Intermedia, an organization here in Washington DC that does amazing work on media research. (If you haven’t yet, you have to check out Audiencescapes).

There were at least half a million things I want to blog about in this presentation, so I’m sure you’ll see this referenced quite a bit in the coming days/weeks.

Although the presentation was about the increase of mobile technology and how it might be more integrated into various projects, the speaker, Dr. Gerry Power cautioned us not to forget about radio. In Africa, in particular, radio is still a major source of information, and to ignore it would be foolish. Mobile may be the fun thing to talk about now, but convergence is a more realistic solution.

But when I think of convergence, I think of old stodgey journalists finally learning how to blog. I guess I’ve been seeing it from the print/broadcast practitioner side of things. As opposed to the mobile producer side of things. But convergence, as Dr. Power’s hinted at, is more than that – its the sharing of content. Not only for the broadcaster’s sake, but for the mobile practioner’s sake, too.

A good example of this can be found in Azerbaijan and Armenia. State-owned media in both countries make it pretty hard to get any peace/reconciliation programming broadcast. So pieces that are originally created for television are instead getting audiences online.

Onni Krikorian, blogger for Global Voices, has been writing a lot lately about various media projects aimed at improving relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia. He does an excellent job describing the projects and the media pieces themselves, so I’ll just post his links here. These are highly produced pieces that aren’t being broadcast via television, as intended, but instead are making it into homes via the internet and mobile.

Armenia-Azerbaijan: Dialogue through Film

More Dialogue through Film (one of my favorites is on this one- check out the film called Download)

and Backseat musical musings….and ethnic conflict

And of course, because its on Global Voices, the conversation going on after these posts are equally interesting.

There seems to be a lot of activity in media for change in the region. The very reason I became interested in Azerbaijan was because of a job posting for a media and social change project in Baku. (It made me realize how much I don’t know about the region!)

Its definitely a region I’ll keep watching…

Can social marketing reduce stigma?

This was one of the questions I addressed in my masters thesis this past summer. Specifically, I wanted to explore how different cultural interpretations of disability would affect communication efforts to reduce stigma in developing countries. More on that later.

As I was doing research, I came across a very interesting campaign from Scotland. The tagline is “See Me,” and they have lots of interesting uses of media in their campaign. In addition to tv and radio ads, they have photography contests, polls and downloadable curriculum packs. They also have a great collection of evaluation tools.

Each TV ad has a very clear target audience in mind, whether children or adults, the ads are aimed a people who know someone affected by mental illness. Take a look:

For children-

For adults-

(My favorite line from this one is, “Patterns change, friends don’t”)

(This one has some great brotherly ribbing, showing how their relationship didn’t change as a result of the mental illness)

Its the subtleties that I appreciate most in the ads for the adults. The ones aimed at children are clear and hopefully incite some empathy and understanding….

What do you think? Do you have some examples of stigma reduction social marketing that you found particularly good. Or bad?

Got Water?

Bottle of Beau Pal water

Bottle of B'eau Pal water

Its summertime in Washington, DC, and although it has been a comparatively mild summer, it is still hot and humid enough to make you want to jump in the pool, or have a tall glass of crisp, cold water.

How about the latest in boutique bottled water, B’eau Pal?

Unlike other high end aqua refreshment, it’s source is not some glacial mountain in the Alps, or natural spring in the Adirondacks. No, this water comes straight to us from India.

Bhopal, India, to be exact. Site of the world’s largest industrial accident.

The B’eau Pal campaign is the latest from The Bhopal Medial Appeal and The Yes Men, in an effort to raise awareness about the incident and put further pressure on Dow Chemical to be held accountable.

The launch of this campaign coincides with the 25th anniversary of the accident, which has killed 20,000, and continues to kill at least one person a day.

The campaign features a beautiful red label and even includes a nutrition label, which indicates the drink has:

The campaign is clever, but not designed for mass distribution. Rather, the Yes Men had hoped to present the bottles to Dow Chemical executives earlier this month. However, word got out, and protesters found the Dow building completely empty. Had there been some kind of confrontation, perhaps there would have been more press, and consequently more awareness.

Unfortunately, all that’s left is a pretty bottle of poisoned water.

While I like the idea for the campaign, I can’t help feel like it is just there to make US feel better. Sure its witty. If the Dow folks had been there, we could really smirk. And hopefully the coverage would have raised some awareness and possible generated some funds.

But was there really hope that the campaign would change Dow’s mind about taking responsibility?

I’d like to know how the campaign measures success in this case? What’s the return on investment here?

Virtual Violence

Today is International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and there are lots of things you can do!

UNIFEM has organized a “Say No to Violence” campaign, and they are collecting signatures to deliver to UN Secretary General Ban Kim Moon. You can find out more, and sign the petition here.

I’m a little disappointed in this campaign – its seems a little thrown together. Nicole Kidman seems uninspired in her presentation of the issues, the videos are incredibly dull, it takes too long to figure out what we can do to get involved….

BUT, it is an important cause, and hopefully you join me in supporting it. After all, its the CAUSE, not the CAMPAIGN should support.

That being said, a campaign that I do find interesting (and worthy!) is Take Back the Tech.

From their site:

The root cause of violence against women (VAW) lies in unequal power relations between men and women in almost all facets of life. The field of information communications technology (ICTs) faces the same gender disparity. As a result, digital spaces like the internet, broadcast and telecommunications have become defined and developed according to dominant perspectives of masculinities.

This means that VAW that happened in physical spaces like the home and streets, are now also taking new forms and occurring in digital spaces. For example, domestic violence abusers have used tools like spyware and GPS to track and control their partner’s mobility.

Our right to move freely without harassment or threats to safety also applies to digital spaces.

This 16 day internet campaign’s goal is to “reclaim ICTs to end violence against women.” A great project, with some fun tools (widgets, a tech hunt, and the Ka-blog) and they have a different action idea for each day of the campaign. That’s 16 ways to make a change!

Today’s action is to Widget Your Stand, i.e. put widgets on your blogs and social network accounts.

They’ve also set up a forum for people to make their own activity suggestions.

Lots of good ideas in this campaign, fun use of tools, I wish the site were a little easier to navigate, but all in all a fascinating campaign – one I’ll be watching!!

As someone who spends a considerable amount of time online, I think its a great frame. What about you? Do you see this a real problem? Do you feel that violence against women is evident, or promoted, online?

Last day to register- would this convince you?

Since today is the last day to register to vote in many states (mine included), I thought I’d highlight some communication campaigns that have tried to encourage people to register.

The overwhelming majority of these campaigns are aimed at young people. Here are a few that I found interesting – do any of these make the case? Would they compel you to register?

Warning: The video below contains language that may be offensive to some.

This music video from Rock the Vote obviously leans left, so it may alienate would be registrants who don’t agree on certain social issues. But it is a catchy tune….

Any register to vote PSAs that you thought were interesting? effective?

(By the way, if you haven’t already, please REGISTER & VOTE!!!)

TAL does it again!

In one of the best, most useful pieces of radio journalism ever, This American Life from WBEZ in Chicago, explained with amazing clarity and detail, how the mortgage crisis came to be. The episode, called Giant Pool of Money, aired in May, but it is still a must-listen as it gives a very clear explaination of a complicated problem.

I imagine a lot of us who heard that episode have thought to ourselves, “Gosh, I wish TAL would do another show, this time explaining this huge financial crisis.”

Well, Ira Glass and his colleagues must be clairvoyant, because this weekend, Alex Blumberg and Adam Davisdon (the guys that produced Giant Pool of Money) are bringing us “Planet Money.” This episode promises to explain what has happened over the past couple of weeks, and what regulators could have done to prevent it.

Check your local listing for when it will air. (If you miss it, it will be available the TAL website.) You can also find more information on the Planet Money blog.

Can the power of photography combat TB?

“Photographers go to the extreme edges of the human experience to show people what’s going on. They believe your opinions and your influence matter. They aim your pictures at your best instincts: generosity, the sense of right and wrong, the ability and willingness to identify with others, the refusal to accept the unacceptable.”

Last year, the TED Prize went to acclaimed war photographer James Nachtwey his powerful work documenting war, disease and conflict around the world for the past quarter century. Winners of the TED Prize are given $100,000 to make a “wish” come true. Nachtwey enticed us with saying his wish was to bring to the forefront an issue that had been overlooked – but he never indicated which overlooked issue he wanted to cover.

But now we know. At a special screening in New York tonight, Nachtwey will unveil a series of photographs depicting the struggle against drug resistant tuberculosis.

XDR-TB (Extremely Drug Resistant TB) is a new and deadly mutation of TB. It comes from cases of TB that go untreated for long periods of time – and it is a growing problem.

Go to to learn more and help.

Blog Action Day

I’ll be participating….will you?

Rough draft of history

At a recent Internet Advocacy Roundtable, held monthly at the Center for American Progress, Professor David Perlmutter from University of Kansas, and author of Blog Wars, said of blogs, “They are becoming the rough draft of history.”

I don’t know if that is a phrase he came up with, or if its been kicked around for a while, but it really stuck with me. For so long history has been written (and consequently determined, to an extent) by the powerful. Those with wealth, education and money were the ones who got to shape the “official” history.

But as social media becomes increasingly available, the number of voices and the number of narratives is increasing as well.

This is not to say, obviously, that all the voices and narratives are being represented – indeed social media is still available to the relative elite. But there is no doubt that there are people and groups who are getting their histories recorded in new and exciting ways.

Installation in Libertys window, by Michael Wolf. It pays tribute to the Chinese factory workers who make 75% of the worlds toys

Installation in Liberty's window, by Michael Wolf. It pays tribute to the Chinese factory workers who make 75% of the world's toys

But giving these stories voice does more than just represent a people. It can expose the greater stories that we all share. In a fabulous article called The Story Revolution, Arlen Goldbard points out that we all share some basic human events – these are what Isaiah Berlin calls “the clear layer.” But beneath that is the “much thicker ‘dark layer’ which is a name for the aggregate of our little stories.”

“You can generalize effortlessly based on the clear layer: That’s where social and historical theories are propounded, …. But if you really want to understand something, you have to be willing to spend time in the dark layer, with its multitude of little stories.”