Session Two: March 2, 2010
- Facilitator: Diana Mitsu Klos, American Society of News Editors
- Scribe: Susan Knudten, Rose Community Foundation
- News literacy is being able to assess what’s true.
- Media literacy and digital literacy: What are the tools and means of conveyance? How do we give everyone equal access to tools and knowledge of how to use them?
- Civic literacy is giving people the skills so that they fulfill their role as individuals in a democracy.
A few sites to check out:
- www.hsj.org (High School Journalism)
- www.myhsj.org (collection of student media)
- www.newsliteracyproject.org (News Literacy Project)
Initial questions and comments from participants included:
- What are different foundations doing? How can we use new tools?
- What are some ways to reach new audiences?
- Why are we literate but still making bad decisions? How do we increase understanding in order to make better decisions?
- How can we create systemic change regarding access, and use it to create a more civil community?
- Do we understand what we’re reading? What are others doing with youth?
- What role can we play to extend knowledge about literacy issues?
- How are others dealing with issues of censorship/negative comments when opening up a website for public comment?
- How do we get our message out to help us grow?
- How do we overcome apathy when civic action is often perceived as futile?
- How do we expand educational attainment?
- Students have lots of technologic capability but how do we increase their levels of discernment?
- How do we get beyond civil discourse to ideas that can actually be implemented?
Question: Do you have existing youth (or community center, places of worship) projects in your community?
Response: We have a fund for young artist fellowships to make films about their lives and communities.
We have an online grant-making competition for youth-focused programs, but we also needed to help students, teachers and others understand why we were doing this. We did education around social change, and found out what that means to this generation.
Question: What are your concerns about public comments?
Response: We have rules of conduct and an editor who checks comments daily. We have an independent advisory council made up of community leaders who vet controversial information.
We implemented a team leadership course to get younger people engaged in community issues. For example, we had polarized school board elections; we taught civil-discourse skills. We found that youth are much more open to diverse communications than adults. And we had youth presenting their knowledge to adults (through Rotary and other places).
Question: We are at a loss about how to deal with another organization that is taking information and comments off our website and commenting very negatively about us on their site.
Response 1: Don’t engage.
Response 2: We use that as an opportunity to comment again and drive viewers back to our site where our message appears. Link to a PDF, to a report, to an issue page.
Question: What are the measures that will show if a community website is successful?
Response 1: The number of clicks, the number of return users on the site, and if advertisers are willing to pay/re-up their ads
Response 2: We look at referring sites – where are they coming from?
Question: How do you get people to come who are not currently media-literate? Are there institutions like public libraries that can help with this?
Response: See notes from March 1, 2010 session for information on Long Beach project with libraries.
Question: Does anyone have Internet cafes in their communities?
Response 1: Urban Wireless in North Little Rock, Ar. www.urbanwireless.net
Response 2: California Communities Project has a mobile wireless project.
Question: How can a website be an enhancement to help engage donors?
Response: Create an online newsletter. Pose a question that drives people to your site. Invite donors to contribute experience, knowledge, opinions.
Counter: If you build it, they won’t necessarily come.
Response: Make sure “it” is something people can actually figure out how to use.
- Philanthropy Journal
- Stanford Social Innovation Review
Question: Should we figure out best practices for community foundations around this area?
Response 1: The information captured at these sessions could be gathered.
Response 2: Make community foundation websites evocative. Include a collective call for action.
Question: How do you handle branding/sub-branding?
IDEAS AND COMMENTS:
- What about working with middle school students? That’s a critical age to teach these literacy skills.
- Create a mobile version of a website to reach underserved communities where people don’t have computers but they have smartphones.
- Figure out how to appropriately un-censor access within schools (can’t see something about breast cancer because of the word breast).
- Use RSS feeds with aggregated sites of interest around a topic.
- Require/suggest that grantees demonstrate how they are engaging people.
- People do ask all the time how they can help: Have actions available.
- The example from the Community Foundation Serving Boulder County was great. They found one measurable issue, that they can educate community members and try to change things through a ballot measure.
- Change takes patience. Just because technology makes many things fast, it doesn’t mean change is fast.