Manifesto for Mediamakers and Media Consumers

September 20, 2019

Download the Manifesto: Bookmark | 8.5×11

The sweep of authoritarian regimes across the globe, the continued support of the Trump administration by his base and the ongoing Brexit crisis has caught many by surprise. This has reinforced CSFilm’s belief in the importance of understanding the world from the local perspective. The news media was unable to effectively educate the public about the disparate beliefs informing our polarized world.  To address these shortcomings CSFilm used the lessons learned from its work to define a set of mediamaking and media consuming principles:

Guide for Media Makers

1. Be of the people or place you are telling a story about;

Hint #1: Anchors, columnists, analysts, staff writers, foreign correspondents, national and desk reporters etc. are not necessarily of a people or place;

Hint #2: If you grew up on a farm and then spent 30 years as a staff writer, foreign correspondent, anchor and/or talk show host, you are no longer of the farm;

Exception: If for reasons of safety, access or balanced perspective, the only way to communicate local concerns is through an outsider, then break this rule.

2. Be transparent about your knowledge and experience of the people and places you report on;

Hint: You’re human.  You have inherent bias.  Transparency helps reveal even those biases unknown to you.

3. Listen deep and look long;

Hint: Easier done if you are of the people or place.

4. Amplify the voices, views and actions of your subjects;

Hint #1: Don’t mediate;

Hint #2: The reporter is not as interesting as the subject. So, get out of the picture.

5. Show, don’t tell;

Hint #1: Provide evidence, not conclusions;

Hint #2: Let your audience experience the story, don’t ‘tell’ them the story;

Hint #3: Pundits in studios or talking-heads in documentaries are telling not showing.

6. Search for root causes and systemic issues;

Hint #1: Reporting on a war is not about being where the bullets fly;

Hint #2: Facts are only one facet of the story.

Hint #3: Reporting every word and action of a politician does not help your audience understand them or their supporters.

7. Look locally, see globally;

Hint: Through the specific you reveal the universal, not the other way around.

9. Network your local networks;

Hint: Bottom-up, decentralized networks can be diverse and dynamic; Top-down networks, not so.

10. Write your own manifesto

Hint: This one may not be relevant to you, your people or your place.

Guide for Media Consumers

Is the media you are consuming produced from the local perspective? 


Who is behind the information you are consuming? Consume critically and find out who owns the news source, who decides what stories are covered, and who selects the storytellers and analysts? 


Is the anchor, columnist, analyst, writercorrespondent or reporter whose story you are watching, reading or listening to a local? If not, why is a local reporter not being used? There are occasions when an outsider has the independence, special access or unique insight required to tell the story – but it’s rare. 


Are you being told what to think or are you experiencing the story and developing your own conclusions? Generally, quotes from experts and studio-based conversations are fast and cheap to produce but don’t allow the news consumer to learn about issues from those who are living them. 

CSFilm’s mission is to model and advocate for bottom-up storytelling that informs and stimulates public debate. With your generous support we will continue to work with the under-represented to voice and visualize their stories.

#LookListenLocal #MentProdInfo #CSFilmOrg


Related Posts:

War is a Racket! by The Department of Homeland Inspiration – featuring the Art Ranger and Michael Sheridan

War is a Racket! by The Department of Homeland Inspiration – featuring the Art Ranger and Michael Sheridan

Art Ranger, along with her colleague Michael Sheridan, review “War is a Racket” by Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler. This highly decorated war hero becomes dogged activist and tours the country giving speeches about how he was in effect, a bully for the corporations, then quit.  Art Ranger and Sheridan share excerpts of the text as well as a piece of their minds. Sonic textures provided by our back up band, The Dirty Pens.

ON THE MEDIA | Disrupting Journalism: How Platforms Have Upended the News, Columbia Journalism Review

ON THE MEDIA | Disrupting Journalism: How Platforms Have Upended the News, Columbia Journalism Review

After decades of shrinking revenues, and an increasing expectation among consumers that journalism should be free, the global media industry has reached a crisis point. As legacy news outlets shut down or lay off staff, misinformation and conspiracy theories run rampant, blurring the line between fantasy and reality. Trust in our institutions of governance continues to decline, fueling an alarming rise in extremism and political violence across previously stable democracies. In the Global South, the impact of journalism’s decline has been even more striking, with the rise of a new generation of autocrats skilled in manipulating the online conversation to suit their consolidation of power.

ON THE MEDIA | Meet the Next Generation of Mexican Filmmakers, Global Press Journal

ON THE MEDIA | Meet the Next Generation of Mexican Filmmakers, Global Press Journal

After the 1994 [Zapatista] uprising, a boom in documentary films focused on indigenous themes and communities — but the overwhelming majority, Sojob says, were made by people from outside the state. Her own interest in storytelling began when, using a camera that her father gave her, she recorded an ongoing land conflict between the people of Chenalhó and the neighboring town of Chalchihuitán. Unless there was some sort of testimony, she realized, no one would know what was happening, “that it was us, ourselves, who had to get out everything that was happening within, from our own context, from our community.”


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *