Assignments

MDA20014 Media and Social Impact Major Assignment

 

The aim of this assignment is to research a social issue that you and your team think is important and to develop a strategy and tactics for creating a media campaign that aims to produce a social change outcome in relation to your issue.

You will pitch your group’s issue in week 8 in class.

Your final campaign strategy will detail the following:

Brief synopsis of the issue

Outline the nature of the problem or issue that you are investigating. Why is it important? What core values does it relate to in our society? Whom does this issue immediately impact? Whom does this issue indirectly impact? Include examples of these impacts using evidence-based research.

Example: The use of plastic in tea-bags (This is in shorthand – you need to provide more detail). Teabags are commonly used. The presence of plastic in them is contributing to the problem of excess non-degradable plastic in the environment. This issue affects people who are concerned for the sustainability of the planet, tea drinkers, tea companies. Supply evidence of the detrimental effects of plastic on the planet.

Other stakeholders

Research three other groups (activist, not-for-profit, advocacy or governmental) that are addressing this issue. Outline who they are, what they are trying to achieve and how they are trying to achieve it. If there are not three specific groups working on your issue, provide a rationale as to why this issue appears to be under represented on the public agenda.

Example: Greenpeace, Plastic Pollution Coalition and Life Without Plastic. Describe each organisation, what they do and give examples of how they are tackling the problem. In particular, this issue relates to the use of plastic micro-beads so you would examine how has this been challenged.

Identify your target audience and potential change agents

In order to identify your target audience, you need to know to whom you are speaking and what they might respond to by way of a message about your issue. Within that group, there may be potentially powerful allies that can assist you by promoting your message.

Example: The audience in the teabag scenario is very broad – it includes anyone who drinks tea and cares for the planet! Tea bag users are also looking for the convenience that using a teabag brings. Potential allies: providers of unpackaged loose leaf tea (health food stores, Friends of the Earth, CERES) and also the SLOW food movement.

Determine your campaign narrative

Now that you have researched your issue, identified the core values your issue impacts upon, seen what others are doing in the same space and identified your audience, you need to decide on your campaign narrative. This includes deciding on the kind of story you want to tell based on your understanding of what has and hasn’t worked in the past and how your particular audience might best be persuaded to take action. Identify a “hero” for your story – this doesn’t have to be an actual individual. (For example, the hero of the teabag campaign could be the teapot!)

From Re-imagining Social Change:

“This overarching narrative should be both compelling to your target audience(s), and challenge the key underlying assumptions that are preventing the dominant narrative from changing. This framing narrative is an internal, working document that can help your group develop messaging strategy and tactics as you conduct the campaign. This framing narrative provides the fodder for talking points, slogans, posters, or other materials.”

Example: The justification for the use of teabags is that they are safe and convenient. The first assumption here is about safety. You can to examine the truthfulness of this. The second assumption is that personal convenience is more important than the future of the planet. A further assumption relates to the pleasure of drinking tea – a fast cup of tea is better than a cup of tea made with an infuser or a pot.  Challenging each of these assumptions produces a new narrative. You could choose to work with one or all of these.

 Choosing your media and tactics

Determine what media might best be used to reach your audience. This can include both online and offline media (video, audio, posters, events, social media, interventions). Based on the narratives that you have identified that target the assumptions that underlie your issue, devise a series of tactics for reaching your audience. Determine a baseline goal in terms of success for each tactic. That is, how would you measure the success or otherwise of the tactic?

The following are great resources for helping you to think about tactics:

http://beautifultrouble.org/tactic/

https://archive.informationactivism.org/en.1.html

https://visualisingadvocacy.org/

But don’t stop here – use your own imaginations!

Example: The campaign needs to emphasise the harmful effects of using teabags. So some initial “did you know” awareness raising using social media, for example. You could also link these to a petition asking leading elite tea companies (for example, T2) to stop using plastic in their packaging and teabags. This is the first way the audience can take action.

Then follow up with memes, video, and perhaps an Instagram campaign on the pleasure of brewing tea using the hashtag #storminateacup. The audience could post images of themselves sharing a pot of tea, their favourite teapot and accessories, etc.

Provide a rough budget (limit $5000) in excel format for your campaign

Any material items that could potentially be produced for your campaign should be costed. These do not need to be absolutely accurate but it is relatively easy to get quotes for such things as printing costs, video production costs, Facebook boosts and so on.

Prototype and execute at least one aspect of your campaign

Your campaign may include a range of tactics that you can employ to reach your target audience. Given the limited time available to us, select an achievable tactic in terms of your skillsets and budget.

Produce the media necessary to execute this tactic and evaluate the response to it. How you do this will depend on the tactic and what it is trying to achieve. You will need to identify the most appropriate metrics for the particular tactic you have chosen.

Present your campaign and associated materials

Each group will present their campaigns, associated research and prototype to your class in weeks 10 and 11. The class will be asked to assess the presentation and provide constructive oral and written feedback.

Finally, submit a folio of all of the above work as a group. Each person will then write an 800 word individual project reflection drawing on what they have learned from the process and from the feedback generated by the presentations.

Due date: Friday 27 October 2017

 

1 Visual Essay

Take an issue that is important to you. It can be an issue that affects you personally such as something that relates to your identity or it can be an issue that affects others that you feel is important. It can be local, such as something that affects people in your suburb, city or town or it can be a global issue such as, for example, climate change or immigration. NOTE: These are examples – you will be able to pitch your idea to your tutor in class.

Research the topic. Consider your audience. Craft your message. How you do this will depend on your issue but you are going to make an argument for a point of view so you need to consider all of the facts and angles. Do you want to raise awareness? Persuade people to a new point of view? Think about what rhetorical strategies will achieve your desired outcome.

Create a slideshow/video essay no longer than 2 minutes presenting your issue. You can use found material as well as original material. You can use music and voiceovers (or not depending on your issue and your strategy).

Once you have completed your “essay”, write a 500 word exegesis describing your aims, your research, the rhetorical strategies you were employing and whether you feel your “essay” fulfils your aims.

Due date: Friday 8 September 2017