When discussing communication issues, I believe it’s of the utmost important to talk about not how we as communicators can not just inform the community, but how we can engage with the community. A high school near Ferguson is doing just that.
McCluer North High School neighbors Ferguson, Missouri, where 72% of students are white according to a recent study. When the students returned to school this year, the newspaper and yearbook staff had a choice to make. They had the option to continue to report relative stories to the community, or find a way to pay tribute to the recent protests and riots that took place in Ferguson.
They decided to create a series of stories, in collaboration with the yearbook staff, that were all relative to Ferguson. Some of them were news stories about what happened, and others were first person accounts of the events that unfolded. Each story was a different form of storytelling that contributed to a larger goal. According to the editor-in-chief in a recent report published by The Poynter Institute, the goal was to not inform the community about these events, but work to promote conversation around these topics, to find solutions.
I think it’s important as professional communicators to realize that regardless of our specializations, we must not forget that communication is a fundamental method for provoking change and reinforcing and advancing the democratic process.