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How Can Media Reconnect Us With Our Humanity?


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The media plays an important role in defining who we are, what we desire and what is acceptable (or not) in our reality.

In this talk, we discuss the current state of affairs and discuss how we improve upon it.

This is the actual slides presented at Arizona State University on February 10th, 2014

Published in: Technology, Business
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How Can Media Reconnect Us With Our Humanity?

  1. 1. How Can Media Reconnect Us With Our Humanity? Dr Tyrone Grandison – CTO/co-founder Lisa Mae Brunson – CEO/co-founder EqualityTV
  2. 2. All the opinions we share are solely our own.
  3. 3. provides an online stream of culturally diverse media to give a platform for marginalized communities and expand society views to embrace new ideas, lifestyles and social customs while boosting ethical, social and consumer consciousness.
  4. 4. Dr Tyrone Grandison Dr Tyrone Grandison is a senior leader in the computer science industry who has successfully managed small and large, matrixed teams across geographies, divisions and functional units in the spaces of data security, privacy, RFID data management, privacy-preserving mobile data management, text analytics and healthcare management systems. Dr. Grandison has over 20 years experience in software engineering and research in enterprise and startup environments. More information at: Lisa Mae Brunson Lisa Mae Brunson has been on a mission for the last 20 years to impact the world on a global scale as a writer, author, entrepreneur and “Inspirationalist.” Founder of the Love, Hugs and Inspiration Campaign, 21 Days of Fearlessness and 40 Days of Kindness, she is no stranger to the art of inspiration. Her motto: “There is no joy in living ordinary!” In an effort to produce media that inspires people to begin “Celebrating Humanity!” and tackle every issue in support of Equality, Lisa Mae developed EqualityTV, a multimedia broadcasting network. The goal: To make Equality go viral! She has inspired thousands to ‘skip to their bliss’ and reconnect with their childhood dreams, through her Creative Visionaries workshops. On sunny days you’ll find her skipping, hugging, or passing out food and hugs on the streets of Los Angeles.
  5. 5. What We Are Covering Today? 1.  The Basics - Defining The Principles. 2.  Media’s Current Approach To The Principles. 3.  The Current Trends in Media. 4.  Media’s Path to Improvement. 5.  Your Role. 6.  Conclusion.
  6. 6. The Basics – Defining The Principles
  7. 7. #Humanity101 There are seven (7) principles that are critical to success and professional relationships. These principles transcend boundaries of community, class, generation, discipline, etc. and connects us with our humanity. But, what do they mean?
  8. 8. #Humanity101 Principles 1.  Compassion: sympathetic pity and concern for the sufferings or misfortunes of others. [ from Latin compati- ‘suffer with’ ] 2.  Empathy: the ability to understand and share the feelings of another. [ from Greek empatheia (from em- ‘in’ + pathos ‘feeling’) ]
  9. 9. #Humanity101 Principles 3.  Forgiveness: the action or process of forgiving or being forgiven. [ from Old English forgiefenes, from forgiefen (past participle of forgiefan ‘forgive’) ] Forgive: stop feeling angry or resentful toward (someone) for an offense, flaw, or mistake. [ Old English forgiefan from for- ‘completely’ + giefan ‘give’ ]
  10. 10. #Humanity101 Principles 4.  Integrity: the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness. [ from Latin integer ‘intact’ ] 5.  Kindness: the quality of being friendly, generous, and considerate. [ from Old English ‘courtesy’, ‘noble deeds’ ]
  11. 11. #Humanity101 Principles 6.  Respect: a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements. [ from Latin respicere ‘look back at’, ‘regard’ ] 7.  Self-Reflection: meditation or serious thought about one's character, actions, and motives. [ from Old English sylf ‘one’s own person’ & Latin reflectere ‘bent back,’ from the verb ]
  12. 12. NOW We can ask ourselves How does the media help us connect with our humanity using These Principles?
  13. 13. Media’s Current Approach To The Principles.
  14. 14. COMPASSION How does media enable us to be sympathetic and concerned about the sufferings of others?
  15. 15. Findings: PEW Research Center’s report “The State of the News Media 2013” •  Opinion dominates reporting. •  Average story length on local television news decreased substantially. •  Fear-based storytelling. •  Creating/fabricating trending stories.
  16. 16. Hot Coffee * Used with the permission of Susan Saladoff - Director, Hot Coffee (
  17. 17. EMPATHY How does media enable us to be able to understand and share the viewpoint of someone different from us?
  18. 18. University of Michigan Study •  A study measuring empathy finds that: •  •  The current crop of college kids to be less empathetic than generations past. Also found a marked decline in the qualities of kindness and helpfulness. •  It is not just college kids, but society in general is less empathic than it once was. •  Media bears a large part of the blame. •  Violent media a factor, making people insensitive to others’ pain.
  19. 19. FORGIVENESS How does media enable us to be able to completely give up being angry with people who wrong us, knowingly or unknowingly?
  20. 20. •  The antithesis of forgiveness is: Revenge the action of inflicting hurt or harm on someone for an injury or wrong suffered at their hands. •  Lack of forgiveness in media breeds revenge. •  Revenge is one of the most common themes in media.
  21. 21. What do you think?
  22. 22. INTEGRITY How does media enable us to be our highest moral self?
  23. 23. •  The root of the lack of integrity in America. •  •  Selfishness and having no empathy or love for others. Many people just no longer care what their own actions do to others. •  It is all about "me" and that is why this is called the "me generation”. •  University Of Essex’s Integrity study •  An erosion of trust between people can have economic as well as social consequences.
  24. 24. KINDNESS How does media enable us to be friendly, generous and considerate?
  25. 25. There is a distinct lack of kindness portrayed in media (traditional and newer forms) by: •  Body Shaming •  Physically and Mentally Disabled •  Deaf and Hearing Impaired •  Racism •  Gender Discrimination •  Bullying Behavior
  26. 26. RESPECT How does media enable us to hold each other in the highest regard?
  27. 27. •  Similar to the lack of kindness in media, there is the lack of respect. •  The ‘sitcom formula’ is built on a foundation where demonstrating lack of respect for others, is the Golden Rule. •  Networks know that the majority of audiences enjoy offensive language and comedy. •  Show concepts are created with the intent to highlight and blatantly disrespect the differences in others.
  28. 28. SELF-REFLECTION How does media enable us to think about our character, actions and motives?
  29. 29. •  There are a large number of characters and people in media who appear to be shallow and superficial. •  Rarely do we get an inside look into a character’s meditative thoughts. •  Deep conscious characters and distinguished storylines are not common in mainstream media, but can be found in Independent films and alternative media.
  30. 30. The Current Trends In Media
  31. 31. •  •  Ninety percent of movies, 68% of video games, and 60% of TV shows show some depictions of violence. Many shows marketed as ‘reality shows’. •  •  but often portray a different reality than you or I experience. Common themes in these shows: •  Competitiveness •  Overinflated sense of self •  Dishonesty •  Disrespect •  Addictive Behaviors •  Blatant abusive language •  Gossip and backstabbing •  Lack of the (7) principles
  32. 32. Media’s Path to Improvement
  33. 33. Firstly What do YOU think humanity is?
  34. 34. Humanity “Humanity is the essence and core of our existence as humans”. “It is how we connect with ourselves and one another.” •  •  We are constantly evolving the definition, as we humans evolve and are influenced. Our greatest source of evolution and impact in society is our media.
  35. 35. We Need to See More of THIS:
  36. 36. In Today’s Society •  Media constructs our global culture. •  We are constantly influenced by what mass media dictates for our present and future. •  Media has the power to directly impact future generations. •  •  Our world is a reflection of the media we generate. For centuries, this media has largely ignored marginalized communities and promoted mediocrity and inequality around the world.
  37. 37. Emerging Trends Upworthy: Things that matter. Pass 'em on “We're a mission-driven media company. We do have a point of view. We're pro-gay-marriage, and we're anti-child-poverty. We think the media is horrible to women, we think climate change is real, and we think the government has a lot to learn from the Internet about efficiency, disruption, and effectiveness.” •  Their success stems from the kind of content they curate and share across social media platforms.
  38. 38. Meet Dr. Robert
  39. 39. TheDream.US Scholarship: Marcy
  40. 40. Humans of New York
  41. 41. Celebrating Humanity •  UCLA study of 1,000 TV shows (on 67 cable & broadcast networks) on ‘racial diversity in the entertainment industry’. •  more viewers were drawn to shows with ethnically diverse lead cast members and writers, while shows reflecting less diversity in their credits attracted smaller audiences.
  42. 42. Celebrating Humanity "It's clear that people are watching shows that reflect and relate to their own experiences," - Hunt •  •  •  Reconnecting with our humanity means we must embrace the rich diversity of what makes each of us human. We must be exposed to media that allows us to relate to who we are. We must also be exposed to media that is drastically different from our own experiences and personal culture.
  43. 43. Remember this?
  44. 44. Media is slowly introducing more content with diverse casts, compelling storylines and family and relationship dynamics.
  45. 45. YOUR Role
  46. 46. ACT! ACT! ACT! •  Share and support media that embody the 7 principles. •  Speak out when you see media that does not connect us with our humanity. •  Create the media you want to see. •  Positive, uplifting, diverse, informative, inclusive Summary: Personal Responsibility & Social Accountability
  47. 47. Conclusion
  48. 48. •  Media has a responsibility to humanity •  •  Media influences society. Thus far, it has abused that power. •  Society is changing •  •  Humans are shifting. Media is responding. •  We need to make media act consciously •  To emphasize and engage our humanity.
  49. 49. Viewing of Happy The Documentary
  50. 50. Later This Year •  Hacks for Humanity •  •  An opportunity for software developers, makers, and humanitarians to create deliverables (e.g. websites, mobile apps, programs, devices) to help us reconnect to our humanity. Tentative Date: September 18th to 21st, 2014.
  51. 51. Thank you