Diversity Forum Takes a Long Look at Media

For the 2017 edition of NCS's annual Diversity Forum, students, faculty, and staff devoted themselves to a day-long investigation of the myriad ways today's media inform, shape, and define the world.
Discussions of how media can be used as a tool for change ranged from the rise of big data to the impact of children's stories on bias to how the male gaze and female gaze determines what becomes popular on social media. Panels of experts examined the news media, both from an institutional level and at a far more granular level regarding whose stories may be considered "news."
Students and faculty led many of the workshops, while the panel discussions featured alumnae April Williams '95 (a senior producer at NBC Washington), Adya Beasley '05 (a videographer for the Wall Street Journal), and Radhika Rajkumar '14 (a journalism student at NYU with several media internships), as well as former Mic and NPR News executive editor Madhulika Sikka, Fox News correspondent Kevin Corke, and social media expert Terrance Smith.
Students in all divisions also turned their lens within, undertaking projects to create images and stories that reflect their own lives. "Unfiltered Selfies" asked students to break away from traditional standards of beauty in depicting something more authentic. In "Meme Making," each girl took a popular meme-ified image and made it her own with a caption that spoke to an issue she cares about. With "Humans of NCS," students used prompts to tell a story about themselves as a way of broadening perspective. And Lower School students were asked to take a photograph that represented what 10:00 am looks like to them. The results of all these projects were broadcast around the school.
    • Students worked together in classroom workshops to answer challenging questions about media influence.

    • A closing activity brought all three divisions together for a musical project led by Ms. Hernandez and Mr. Straub.

    • A panel discussing network news media featured April Williams '95, Madhulika Sikka, and Kevin Corke.