For the last couple of weeks, I have tried to find the best definition for “media as a global activist.” Along the way, I realized that this is not really my goal. What I am actually here to do is to give you a brief introduction to my own interpretation of “media as a global activist” through a series of diverse text sources. My hope is that by the end of my chapter, you will have a general idea of global activism and the ability to ultimately form your own opinion about the different levels of impact that media can have on the world.
The research and weekly intern meetings have opened my eyes to vast new perspectives of the world and to endless possibilities for my participation in global affairs. You might be wondering why a seventeen-year old is spending part of her summer visiting libraries and looking through a multitude of articles on the web instead of being out in the San Diego sun. Many times, as a high school student, it is easy to feel limited to the history of the world through the eyes of textbooks, and it becomes difficult to know what is going on in the world today. Through experiences like this research internship, you become eager to see the world directly through your own eyes.
The research itself, I will not lie, was very challenging. Selecting my topic was probably the easiest part. I have always dreamed of traveling the world and making my small contribution at every stop. Thus, choosing the topic “media as a global activist” was a given. As the weeks progressed, I discovered that there were countless aspects of global activism that I had never even fathomed, such as the various types of media that exist, the different natures of activism and the various strengths and limitations associated with the use of media. These several aspects shaped the categories that you will see in my chapter.
Activism is the policy or action of using vigorous campaigning to bring about political or social change. Media often plays an important role in these campaigns, whether in the form of radio, television, magazines, newspapers and/or Internet sites. The relationship between media and activism is a very complicated one. In my chapter, I discuss some of the aspects I believe to be most relevant to the relationship between media and global activism. First, I provide sources that I believe will give a general understanding of the use of media in activism, as well as information about activism on a global scale. Then, I explain the important connection between traditional and new activism. While traditional activists worked door-to-door and advocated person to person, new activism incorporates developments in media and technology. From there, I present cases in which the reader can analyze how much power media can bring to a cause or movement and also to what extent, if any. Finally, I present the significance of learning and understanding a cause before engaging in a campaign for it.
In our modern world, nations are becoming more and more connected through their economies, politics and needs. Sometimes connections are broken, violated or forgotten. Sometimes we forget that we represent a select race of inhabitants in a very diverse world. Fortunately, there are always those few individuals who work hard to remind others of our potentials to produce social change. As Elie Wiesel once said, “The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, its indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, its indifference.” Thus, as you read this publication, do not be indifferent. There are an infinite amount of tools to guide you and help you make a difference. Whether it is through the use of media or technology, whether you are passionate about an issue with a group or by yourself, you are capable of making a difference for something you truly care about. Our world is definitely not perfect, and the change begins with you.
Thank you for taking the time to look at my chapter. I hope it brings you at least half the knowledge it has brought me.
Catherine Zuniga, Herbert Hoover High School
WorldLink 2012 Summer Intern