The SEL activities enabled learners to consider wider hate speech issues and prejudices in society towards protected characteristics, how the media and public respond to stories of hate speech/hate crimes, and the importance of ensuring dialogue around these issues (with online and offline stakeholders) is respectful, meaningful and constructive.
In the Media analysis unit, learners had the opportunity to analyse media sources that have drawn attention to protected characteristics (both positively and negatively). They explored the features of these campaigns that made them effective in gaining attention/sparking discussion/affecting change, and considered how they can develop these features in their own campaigns or actions around online hate speech.
This Media production unit provides learners with the opportunity to explore how successful campaigns amplify a message, sustain momentum and grow over a longer period of time. Learners will also consider the different ways to make a message memorable and the importance of language use to convey that message.
These questions are provided as examples to initiate and guide discussions around the topic in this focus area.
- What successful campaigns are you aware of?
- How/why are you aware of them?
- How do you know they were successful - what features made them successful?
- What campaigns do you know of that are continuing? (e.g. they are always ongoing, or annually raise awareness at a specific time of the year. In the UK, for example, this might be high-profile activities such as Safer Internet Day, Children in Need and Stand Up to Cancer)
- Why are these campaigns ongoing? (e.g. why haven’t they met their objective?)
- Why do you hear about them around the same time each year?
- Is their timing coincidence or deliberate? Why?
The SELMA project short definition of hate speech is:
“Any online content targeting someone based on protected characteristics with the intent or likely effect of inciting, spreading or promoting hatred or other forms of discrimination.”
Amplifying successful campaigns
This activity will benefit from access to technology and an internet connection.
The resources section provides three case studies of successful campaigning from different circumstances:
You may prefer to build a case study based on a more locally-relevant individual or group that you know of who are having success in changing outcomes for others. There is a blank case study format for you to insert your own information into and then share with your group.
Either select one of these for the group to review as a whole, or separate the group into smaller groups and give each group a case study to explore. If the learners have access to technology then you may wish to allow them time to further explore the impacts of the individuals or Safer Internet Day activity in their own region.
Allow time for the group to read and perform wider research (if possible) into the focus of the case study.
Bring the group back together and ask the learners to explore what has led to the campaign(er) being successful? Ask:
- What is the issue they want to change?
- Why does it matter to them?
- In what ways have they campaigned for the change? Has this been online only? Why/why not?
- If you were their campaign director, what recommendations would you make to further improve their campaigning activities and successes?
Distill this down (on a board) to “What makes a campaign successful?”.
Include the following points:
- Personal to the initiator - in the case of the individual, something that they are passionate about, irritated/annoyed about, or something that impacts on them on a daily basis. For organisations, then the campaign should be core to their key aims or objectives.
- Involves friends and family or other key partners first.
- Sets a clear campaign message and hashtag.
- Regularly send messages online about their cause asking people to sign up and spread the word.
- Initiator gathers attention, first locally, then nationally in newspapers, online blogs, online platforms.
- Then by applying for awards, gathering national news interest as a result of their local achievements and awards.
- Continue to build on successes by starting petitions, protests or other face-to-face events to build your coverage.
Now invite your group to find a campaign that appeals to them (any type, not just hate speech) and identify a way that they can amplify the campaign. Once they’ve found a way, they should be encouraged and, where necessary, supported in taking that action and amplifying the campaign.
Making memorable messages
Explain that whatever message you’re trying to convey, your message has to compete with others in the same space - online or offline.
There are six ways you can make your message memorable:
- Appeal - how interesting it is to the listener (How well it aligns with their views and beliefs).
- Clarity - how clear the message is (What are you try to say?).
- Directness - how clear the speaker’s intentions are (What do you want you someone else to do?).
- Stickiness - how easy it is to remember the message (Taglines and slogans help with this!).
- Credibility - whether the audience will take you seriously (What is your reputation like in this space? What expertise/relevant experience do you have? Are your messages based on fact/research or opinion?).
- Transparency - how well your audience can understand the motives behind the message (Are you funded? If so, by whom? Where do you get your facts from? How open are you to discussing what you do and how you do it? Is your real goal what you have stated?).
Unpackage each of the six ways and ask learners if they can think of any examples that follow some or all of these methods to be memorable.
Then share the sign of the times video. This video was created by the artist purchasing signs from homeless people in New York. It shows the state of poverty in the United States and beyond.
(Care needed: some of the signs contain offensive language - you should review this before sharing with your group.)
Select one of the signs and ask the learners to suggest ways that they can improve the message which may lead to more donations from passers by.
Identify the strategies employed by successful campaigns to spread awareness. Understand the importance of creating memorable campaign messages.