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Bioneers: Morph or Die–The Transformation of Journalism and Media

| Monday October 19th, 2009 | 0 Comments

morphBy Deborah Fleischer, Green Impact

I have to say I’m chuckling at myself this morning. I was a bit of a Bioneers consumer yesterday. As I ponder what highlights from Bioneers would be of most interest to Triple Pundit readers, I am listening to the new world beat CD I purchased from Sound Spaces, after trying a few drop of  a healing plant-based tonic made by Al-kemi.

Morph or Die–The Transformation of Journalism and Media

One of my favorite sessions, called “Morph or Die–The Transformation of Journalism and Media,” was hosted by Mother Jones and its publisher Jay Harris. The panel included Annie Leonard, the creator of Story of Stuff, Ken Rother from TreeHugger and Josh Silver of Free Press, a media reform organization.

The gist of the session wasn’t new news–we are living through a fast moving transformation of  how we receive our news. But the session was lively and had a few interesting takeaways:

Takeaway Messages

  • You Haven’t Arrived Until You’ve Been Called a Socialist: I was shocked to learn that Annie Leonard has been bombarded with extreme attacks from the right for her work highlighting the consumption.  On a web site called Grouchy Conservative Pundits, the chat board includes posts on the best way to kill her.  A few of us joked afterwards that our work as an environmental advocate has not really made a difference until we have been called a socialist and received death threats. Leonard joked that our holiday cards should all read, “Best Wishes for Social Justice in the New Year.” As Michael Pollen reminded us in his talk on Friday, we shouldn’t underestimate the opposition from mainstream industry to more sustainable policies that threaten the status quo.
  • Media Lessons from The Story of Stuff: Leonard recommended getting feedback on your message and attributed the Rockwood Leadership Institute training to helping her find a way to tell her story and connect with people.  The keys to her success (to date, Story of Stuff has been viewed online by 7.3 million people) included providing it for free and letting go of control;  building a community and relationships to help get the word out; and partnering with Free Range Studios, who helped make the concepts come alive with animation. Some of her lessons learned included the importance of providing a variety of entry points so the story is accessible to a broad audience, young and old alike.  And providing a big picture, systems view of the issue of consumption. She stressed that the public is ready for something deeper. If you haven’t watched The Story of Stuff yet, it takes about 20 minutes. You can watch it here. Or, check out this quick teaser for a preview.
  • Different Flavor of Interaction: TreeHugger now interacts with its target audience in different ways; it has 50,000 followers on Twitter which requires a different flavor of interaction than its Facebook fans. He also noted the increased level of dialogue on TreeHugger and encouraged the audience to give their target audience an easy way to participate.


Deborah Fleischer is founder and president of Green Impact, a strategic environmental consulting practice that helps companies strengthen their relationships with stakeholders, develop profitable green initiatives and communicate their successes and challenges. She is a LEED AP with a Master in Environmental Studies from Yale University and over 20-years of direct experience working on sustainability-related challenges in both the public and private sectors. She brings deep expertise in sustainability strategy, stakeholder engagement, program development and written communications.

You can follow her occasional tweet @GreenImpact or contact her directly at Deborah@greenimpact.com.


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