02 Feb 2024 WACC North America affirms focus on migrant media monitoring, elects new board members
At its Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, WACC’s North America regional association affirmed work being done to promote migrants’ communication rights and positive narratives about migration, and elected new members to its Regional Executive Committee.
Migrant Media Monitoring Project
Migration and communication rights was the region’s major focus in 2023, Susan Jackson-Dowd highlighted in her report to the AGM as regional president.
She said the year’s follow-up activities to the inaugural Migrant Media Monitoring Project (MMMP) in 2022 included a launch of the final report in May, participation by regional vice-president Gregg Brekke in a panel on migration media monitoring at WACC’s partner consultation in August, and a webinar in December.
Presenting an overview of the MMMP report, Brekke told AGM participants that the project found most stories were sympathetic in tone towards migrants and refugees, but not many did a good job challenging stereotypes about people on the move.
In comparison to coverage studied by “Changing the Narrative,” a similar monitoring project conducted by WACC Europe, migrants’ voices came through more strongly in stories analysed by the North American MMMP, he noted.
More than three-quarters of the news items monitored by the MMMP featured migrants talking about their experience whereas migrants were “talked about” in more than a two-thirds of the coverage in European countries, he said.
Brekke said that the MMMP webinar in December explored, together with Rev. Noel Anderson, national grassroots organizer for Church World Service, how the final report could be used as a tool by social justice advocates in the political arena. The webinar recording will be available online shortly, he added.
The AGM earmarked funds to promote the MMMP final report as a tool to change public narratives around migration, in particular by journalists and faith-based justice advocates.
AGM participants also decided to support preparations for the 7th edition of WACC’s Global Media Monitoring Project next year and to explore ways to engage with WACC’s digital justice advocacy for the World Summit on the Information Society +20, also in 2025.
Elections to the Regional Executive Committee
In further business, the AGM elected
— Callie Long, associate secretary for communications of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, as regional secretary,
and elected two new members to the WACC North America Regional Executive Committee (REC):
— Susan Clark, chief communications officer, General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, USA
— Stephanie Patterson, personal member, USA
The AGM thanked outgoing REC members Alice Namu (secretary) and Mary Lou Greenwood Boice (General Board of Global Ministries, The United Methodist Church, USA) for their service to the region.
Image: Cover of the final report of WACC North America’s Migrant Media Monitoring Project (MMMP) in 2022.