"Leaders strive to change the way that other people think, feel and act".
Why should we measure story in a new way? Because using story well is our great chance in public media to be the leaders of our time. To help Americans take back their power to control their lives and their communities.
How do we do this?
Deep change is all about a change in the collective story. It is a change in the way that people, think, feel and act.
- Then comes isolated action. People take the ideas and start to do things with the idea - this phase is crucial in a new paradigm. Others have to see that the idea can work and that they too can be part of it. Coming to America itself was part of this. The early settlers had to prove that new new idea of America where there was no King and where everyman had his own destiny in his hands could be achieved. It was their early stories of fulfillment and struggle that proved this
- Then comes collective action. With enough individual stories, the system Tips and the Mainstream accept the Story. In the period 1865-1912 over 50 million grabbed hold of the story of the American Dream and left everything and everyone and came to America. The Mainstream came to America. Their story becomes the American Story.
To do this we have to be able to measure story in a new way.
- There has to be an overarching context - why is the current system not working and why the new will work and have utility
- The story has to be told from a personal POV by someone I can personally relate to who uses an authentic voice
- The story has to lead me to help that I can use
- The story has to have a trusted source
- The story has to lead to taking action that is in my power
- The assumed context is that the answers are in the hands of the institutions and not in the hands of people
- That the POV is from a "detached" observer who is above the situation and outside the story who speaks in an institutional voice
- The solution is always to get more money or resources for the institution in question or to apply power - none of which is in the power of the person
- The Source is owned by commercial or political interests who increasingly use spin
- The person is left helpless and alienated -
- It presents to the programmer an ideal checklist/template that enables those in production to design an offering that has the best chance of breaking through the natural resistance
- It enables the people reacting to the offering to learn how to "see" in this new way too
- It enables the station to see the landscape of how their audience is reacting - they can see shifts in support and resistance by mindset, by place and through time. They can make adjustments and react appropriately. The station can track holistic progress
- More than looking at any one story, it shows more importantly how the collective story is progressing. For the Tipping Point comes from the collective
- It enables stations to show their funders progress in meeting the demands of the mission. More than simply measuring how many listeners and viewers we have - we measure our impact upon them
How would we do this?
- The beta tool is ready for testing so that we can see how the inputs work and how the outputs work
- Recommend that KETC, Ideastream and one or more other Early Adopter stations (the same pattern applies to the media world as well as we are finding in the Facing the Mortgage Crisis Work) use 5 - 10 of their employees to test a variety of existing stories. This will show us how it works and we will get back the output plus a consultation on what it all means. We will have seen how the beta works
- Resolve further unknowns and any issues with the design team - determine with the design team the pricing and terms for a wider use. Collectively come up with a strategy for adoption
- Offer out our experience with the tool to the stations in the Early Adopter group for a real test - bring in CPB to see how this might help My Source and whoever else may be interested. I will also be offering this to the Provincal Government here on PEI who are looking for a tool to help them "Listen" better to the people - government could find this very helpful
Here is more detail to put more flesh on these ideas. Please have a look at this short story and see how different this is from the normal POV of Media.
- The narrator is not a journalist - who is separate and who stands above the situation - the journalist has subsumed herself and has become a facilitator to enable a citizen to get his voice out to the larger public
- The narrator, protagonist, is a member of the public who is directly affected by his situation
- He is showing us what is going on with his community. What is happening there is changing our view of the problem - many of us think that this problem is confined to other people than the middle class. His authority is his authenticity. We don't need editors and fact checkers to "know" that he is showing us his truth.
- He can pull this off because he is using his authentic human voice - all humans have an acute bullshit detector and can spot inauthenticity easily. The traditional journalism voice is not "Human" it is institutional and disengaged. It is hard to know if a journalist is telling the truth because he stands outside the story.
- With an authentic voice, he can connect to the human heart not just to the brain. It is in the human heart that Engagement resides. Engagement is not found in the brain or the intellect
- The power of this connection is amplified by the sponsor of this story - WDET - a public station that has both its own Trust and also a big megaphone - once again the journalist/editor now is acting as a facilitator
- Finally what makes this story compellingly engaging is that it leads to action that is in the control and capability of any of us. We too can take action to help people in our community in the same way that this community is acting.