Meridian Stories

Message From the Executive Director

Yo!

I had the privilege to attend the 2020 Camden Conference in Maine a few weeks ago. Moderated by NPR’s David Brancaccio, the theme of this year’s conference was The Media Revolution: Changing the World.

One of the keynote speakers was a Harvard professor named Nicco Mele. A brilliant mind. One of the simple ideas he presented was this:

  1. The Internet has diffused power away from institutions and traditional ‘knowledge makers’: journalists, teachers, librarians, media producers.
  2. That power has been diffused to a) individuals; and b) algorithms.

Now, there is much to unpack in that primal perspective on this emerging reality. My particular interest rests with this conclusion about ‘individuals.’

We all fundamentally do know this. We understand that the Internet has provided youth (and others) with a voice; a platform to be published; the democratization of being heard. Etc.

But I hadn’t seen this bigger picture – the diffusion of knowledge, away from curated expertise , …to everyone. Our students – the future – included.

It’s illuminating, explosive and a tad frightening. AND, it points to the critical importance of educating our youth to be media creators who disseminate knowledge responsibly and thoughtfully.

The responsibility for shouldering power is shifting. Teaching toward that shift is vital.

– Brett Pierce [email protected]

Under the Radar

If you, as an educator (of whatever sort), tend to geek out about organizations that dive deeply into the intersection of storytelling and media, then the website of the Peabody Awards – their motto is “Stories that Matter” – is a happy place for you.

They have a Media Center tab and a Digital Network tab that presents clips and interviews with some of the worlds most important media makers/story creators. They have identified the most important stories that matter on issues including:

  • Race and The Criminal Justice System
  • Black Lives
  • Environment and Planet Health
  • Immigration and Immigrant Lives
  • Women’s Issues and Health
  • Gun Violence
  • White Nationalism

Their job is to find the most compelling media-based stories, like, in the world. How cool is that?

Check them out; wallow in the stories that they have found. Let your students loose in their narratives… so that they can aspire to create stories that will win a Peabody Award in the future.

Featured Meridian Digital Storytelling Project – Immigration Rap

Stories that Matter?

History

Immigration. This is a hot political topic; a wrenching personal topic; a global issue; and a cauldron of tragedy and transcendence. In short: it’s a rap.

In this featured challenge, your team must create a rap about immigration, as informed by information collected in your community. Your team can talk to first, second or third generation immigrants; local politicians; educators or others who have opinions on the immigration debate that is ripping at America’s core. Once you have a cross-section of opinions and experience, coalesce this information into an exploratory rap about this explosive issue.  

Click HERE to download this Meridian Stories Challenge

Featured Meridian Resource – Creative Brainstorming

More than half the fun of writing and producing a story is brainstorming that story. At the very start, you and your team find yourselves on the edge of creative possibility: you are about to create a world of characters and events that is new and original. How do you start?

Check out this guide to learn more about creative brainstorming

Featured Student Work – Immigration Rap: Let Them In

This week’s featured Digital Storytelling video showcases last year’s Meridian Stories’ Best in Show: a rap from Westbrook Middle School called, “Let Them In.

Look at how this story builds, envelopes, and then leaves you speechless in the end.

Stories that Matter.

It can begin here.

 Save as PDF