By Larry Kilman
Associate Director for Communications
Institute for Media Strategies
When INMA asked me to help judge the best community service entries in their 2018 Global Media Awards, I figured I would see some examples of news media’s often overlooked talent for doing good. What I found took my breath away.
We expect news media to bring attention to society’s problems, perhaps sparking action to resolve them. Their watchdog role is what they do best.
But we don’t think of news media stepping in when governments and civil society fail, to take action against protracted problems like pollution and civil strife and poverty and inequality and a host of society’s ills. Uncovering problems and publicising them, sure. But mobilising citizens and government, investing and raising funds, creating and improving infrastructure? The projects I saw did all this and more.
I’ve never been more inspired by the power of news media.
These projects often fly under the radar, at least outside of their own communities. Though they may have a big impact locally, they deserve wider exposure, especially at a time when news media’s role is underappreciated and even faces widespread disparagement and worse in many societies.
These projects are an antidote to all that. They demonstrate an ability to build communities while strengthening media businesses by connecting with those they help and support. And perhaps they also reflect news media transformation, as news companies seek out new roles and new connections with their audiences in the digital age.
INMA’s Global Awards are not only a great vehicle to give them the attention they deserve, but also provide an opportunity for our colleagues around the world to learn about and emulate these projects, for the good of their communities and themselves.
There were 68 entries in the best public relations or community service campaign category this year (and a record 830 entries overall), all of which are literally changing the world for the better. I am proud to have the opportunity to contribute in a small way to providing recognition to these worthy projects.
The winning projects will be announced in June at INMA’s World Congress of News Media in Washington, D.C.
In addition to working with the Institute for Media Strategies, Larry Kilman is Director of the American Graduate School in Paris, where he teaches NGO Management. He is also a consulting specialist on the safety of journalists for UNESCO and author of “An Attack on One is an Attack on All: Successful Initiatives to Protect Journalists and Combat Impunity.”