Sunday, February 09, 2014

Following Bad News in Media with "Rest of Story"

If you read the Chicago Tribune on February 7, 2014 you might have seen this story. Note where it says "there have been at least 11 other shootings withing four blocks since June 2011". Have you seen any marches, or editorials, or visits by the Mayor mobilizing resources to change the conditions that cause these acts of violence?
I created a "Rest of the Story" strategy in 1993 when I was launching the Tutor/Mentor Connection. Recognizing that I had no advertising dollars to draw regular attention to tutor/mentor programs in Chicago, I felt that a strategy that followed media stories could build public awareness and lead more people to be involved in helping mentor-rich programs grow in more places.

On the Mapping for Justice blog you can see many past map stories. On this section of this blog you can see more.

I think map stories like this could be created by student advocates, working in middle and high schools, or in faith groups and local youth organizations. The week #3 topic on the Deeper Learning MOOC #DLMOOC has focused on internships engaging youth in real world learning.

Imagine a steam of student/volunteers taking ownership of this process.

Once a student recognizes that a new story has been given feature attention in the local media, meaning thousands of people have been reached by the story, the address for where the incident happened is given to a map maker, who uses the Chicago Tutor/Mentor Program Locator and other on-line resources to create a series of maps.

This map shows where the shooting took place, at the corner of Pratt Ave and Clark Street in the Rogers Park area of Chicago's North Side. It also shows demographic information, locations of poorly performing schools (from 2008) and locations of any non-school tutor/mentor programs in the area (green stars) based on available data in the Tutor/Mentor library.

This map uses data provided by the Social IMPACT Research Center at Heartland Alliance to show the number of youth age 6 to 17 below the poverty line in each Chicago Community area. While the map only shows one area of poverty concentration above 25% it shows nearly 6,000 youth in the three surrounding community areas who might benefit from being part of well-organized, mentor-rich non-school tutoring, mentoring and learning programs.

This next map shows assets in the area, such as banks, universities, hospitals, faith groups, etc. who should have comprehensive strategies in place to reduce poverty, and violence, in the area, because they share the geography. They are part of the neighborhood.

A team of youth and volunteers could create maps, and create a story like this, post it on a blog as I have done, then use social media to demand that the adult leaders in the community come together to make more and better youth programs available. As they do this they can point to information in the Tutor/Mentor Institute, LLC library that can be used to help innovate new strategies to support these programs.

They can also point to online learning events, such as the Deeper Learning MOOC that is taking place now.

They can even organize their own GooglePlus community and learning MOOC to share ideas of ways youth can be leaders in drawing attention to problems in their communities, and in drawing people together to learn new ways to solve those problems.
As they do this they can learn to create maps such as this one used to analyze participation in the Deeper Learning MOOC. If you zoom into this map you'll see that very few people from the Chicago region are involved. If you look at the map showing participation in past Tutor/Mentor Conferences, you'll see that very few people from business, philanthropy, media and/or government are involved. Future blog articles and outreach can target these groups so that over time, more and more people who need to be involved in helping youth in the community are participating in a wide range of actions.

Who could lead this effort? A map of Catholic schools supported by the Big Shoulders Fund shows schools in the Rogers Park area where teams of students, working with volunteer support, could create articles like this. Any of the Chicago Public Schools in the area could also support such activities as part of service learning, or as part of deeper learning and internships.

If this Rest of the Story activity is adopted in schools throughout the Chicago region, and in other cities, the neighborhood can unleash a new generation of talent and leadership needed to draw consistent attention to a problem that only gets random coverage in traditional media. It can unleash a new generation of leaders who understand how the Internet can be used for network building, learning and collective actions.

I posted this story on Scribd at this link. You can see fifty other stories I've posted since October 2011. Collectively these have been read over 80,000 readers. Imagine how many more readers there might be if there were collections of "Rest of the Story" articles posted on hundreds of sites, created by young people and adults who want to turn bad news into better news.

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