A “media giraffe” is a standout performer, a person or institution who sticks his or her neck out in journalism or media, visible above others in service to ideals of participatory democracy.
Media giraffes graze within “mainstream media” (MSM), and at the kitchen table, from urban neighborhoods to rural outback. They graze all over the globe, although the pilot-phase of the Media Giraffe project is focusing on the U.S. media landscape.
Not all giraffes have the same spots. But all media giraffes tower above other species in distinctive insight or service to one or more key attributes. They:
Show passion and idealism about truth-telling and fostering democracy.
Take financial, professional, or personal risk in a media role to advance participatory democracy and community.
Commit to the ideals of inclusive and accountable government.
Pioneer in thought and action in new media, technology, or system-changing approaches to journalism and media that enable new or broader forms of citizen participation.
Project a method for sustaining their innovation, financially or otherwise, in profit or non-profit settings.
Contribute to significant, democratic change in the form or substance of public discourse.
Among places media giraffes graze are among larger and smaller local news and local blog websites, Internet infrastructure, archiving or collaboration and new technology, in the daily newspaper world, in broadcast and multimedia, academia, and among e-democracy, political blogging and policy-advocacy groups.
Have you observed a giraffe lately? Let us know! You can report your sighting, by email or by phone. Include some details and conact information or URL for you or the "giraffe." Email your "sighting" information to: mediagiraffe (at) journ.umass.edu. Or phone 413-577-4370.
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"The Media Giraffe Project was launched with the collaboration of The Giraffe Heroes
Project, a separate
organization that since 1982 has been moving people to stick their necks out for the common good."
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