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Upping Our Media IQ

Staying on top of media dynamics isn't easy. That's why my colleagues and I created this newsletter in mid-2018 — to help those of us working in media, PR, and marketing navigate constant changes in a collective, mediated world. 

The inventory of signals flagged in the newsletter is now pretty vast. The creators we've featured and the inventions they've unleashed indicate that media innovation isn't a future concern, but a here-and-now issue.

We're staring a reset moment in the eye — one characterized by new formats, sources, and cultural icons, and accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This haywire media market has also introduced new context and language (it's hard to imagine a time when "social distancing," "infodemic" and "abundance of caution" weren't ubiquitous) that require an evolution in our thinking to match. 

I've shared additional perspective on how we might think about media in a post-pandemic context here

We've also updated one of our core assets — The Media Genius Study Guide. Similar to last year's guide, it includes five themes, examples of how they're playing out globally, and free online courses from institutions worldwide so you can dig deeper into each.

It also reflects how COVID-19 illuminates gaps in our information systems related to each new territory. We've begun using these new categories to guide our curated links below — more on these in our upcoming newsletters. 

As time continues to be dominated by online activity, no company, brand, or person can opt-out of learning and doing. Upping our media IQ has become critical for anyone interested in media, both personally and professionally. Media Genius is our contribution to learning and leading a new way forward.

Chris Perry


As always, we would be grateful if you encouraged others to sign up for this newsletter by directing them to our page here.
What We're Reading 
Media Intelligence
Why Coronavirus Conspiracy Theories Have Spread so Quickly

By Jane Coaston, Vox

The novel coronavirus pandemic has given rise to numerous conspiracy theories — about the origins of the virus, whom it infects, and even about the virus itself. It’s no surprise pandemics are fertile ground for irrational thinking, as people seek to understand the disease itself as well as its economic and societal impact.

No Halt to Culture Wars During Coronavirus Outbreak
By Mark Sherman and Jesssica Gresko, Associated Press

The virus outbreak has put much of American life on hold, but the combatants in the nation’s culture wars aren’t ceasing-fire. In a country deeply divided over politics, partisan disputes are flaring over guns, abortion access, voting rights, and religious freedom, among other important issues.

New Influence
How Influencers Have Pivoted in Generation Lockdown
By Lucy Handley, CNBC

Quarantine has forced lifestyle influencers to rethink their strategies. And while some have faced scrutiny for their takes and behavior, others have stepped up to the occasion by sourcing donations, providing free content, amplifying mental health resources, and encouraging responsible behavior. 

Modern Content Canvas
Earth Day’s Gone Digital. Here’s Where to Find It.
By Laurel Graeber, The New York Times

Sheltering in place may not seem like the ideal way to celebrate the outdoors, but many institutions found alternative ways to celebrate Earth Day. Last week, you could take a virtual hike, play environmental games, conduct experiments, meet scientists, learn how to raise butterflies indoors, or tour virtual forests, parks, and even other planets. 

Data Ethics
Hundreds of Academics Back Privacy-Friendly Coronavirus Contact Tracing Apps
By Zack Whittaker, TechCrunch

Contact tracing can help prevent the spread of a virus by proactively finding people at higher risk than others due to potential exposure, notifying them if possible, and quarantining them if necessary — but only if privacy and other concerns can be overcome. This week, hundreds of academics around the world have welcomed efforts to introduce privacy-friendly contact tracing systems.

Copyright © 2020 Weber Shandwick

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