CEO Blog: Fostering a constructive dialogue

Posted 29 June 2018

Nine months into her role as CEO, Su-Mei Thompson discusses the part Media Trust has to play in bringing together media organisations with charities and community groups.

I believe there has never been a more important time for Media Trust to exist. Over the past year, the media industry been under scrutiny like never before.

Take the ongoing backlash around Grenfell and the failure of the media to firstly spotlight the safety issues relating to the block and secondly to report the story in a more participatory way involving the local community and multiple stakeholders. We believe Media Trust has a role to play in promoting reporting that is less skewed towards sensationalism and that is more grounded and joins the dots between both the human angle as well as policies and politics. This will require media organisations to rethink their approach to reporting, while charities and community organisations need to be ready to be more vocal when it comes to waving red flags, calling out one-dimensional accounts and fake news.

we hope we can use our reach within the media sector on the one hand, and the thousands of charities we work with, on the other, to foster constructive dialogue

Using our reach

At Media Trust, we hope we can use our reach within the media sector on the one hand, and the thousands of charities we work with, on the other, to foster constructive dialogue and greater contact, awareness and understanding. As we continue to bring the two sides together through training, advice and mentoring we can help to bridge the gap.

A great example of this is our ground-breaking Stronger Voices programme where we are providing 30 equalities charities in London with in-depth comms skills training and access to media sector volunteers to help them with reframing, content creation, social media and explaining their impact.

It really feels like we are on the precipice of systemic change and that is hugely exciting.

Empowering the future generation

On a separate but related note, the various programmes we launched several years ago to empower more young people to find their voice and consider a career in the media now look prescient in light of the media sector’s enhanced focus on diversity. Everyday, at Media Trust, we are blown away by the curiosity, expansive ideas, breadth of talent and creative energy of the young people from diverse communities taking part in our programmes like Vlogstar Challenge, Breaking into News and Transforming Hidden Talent. Many have gone on to become influential bloggers and vloggers, while others are bringing their fresh stories and unique perspectives to their jobs at various media organisations. It really feels like we are on the precipice of systemic change and that is hugely exciting.

Improving the digital skills of charities

Finally – I’d like to give a shout out to our new Digital Skills programme run with the support of Google’s Digital Garage and other resource partners.  We couldn’t be more thrilled to be rolling out this UK-wide programme which will enable charities and community organisations to access free digital skills training as well as valuable advice and guidance through a new online resources hub. If you would like to contribute digital training materials, tips or resources to our hub, please contact Roz Jones.

If you can think of anything else we should be doing, please email me. I would love to hear from you!

Thank you again for all your ongoing support.

Su-Mei Thompson

 

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