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SXSW Interactive 2016

Strategic Storytelling: Video As Policy Changer

Today's criminal justice reform movement tends to advocate in broad terms, using hashtags such as #blacklivesmatter and #endmassincarceration to raise public awareness of critical issues. However, advocates can't ask legislators to simply "end mass incarceration"--a more targeted approach is needed to reform entrenched policies. Our session will explore how advocates, visual storytellers, lawyers, and artists can combine expertise to unravel the web of policies and practices that create an inherently unfair criminal justice system for poor people and minorities. Using recent innovative case studies, we'll consider social impact storytelling strategies with the potential for broad scale.

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  1. How can we utilize media and storytelling to put the voices and stories of people affected by broken policies at the center of reform efforts?
  2. How can combining expertise in policy, storytelling, and design supplement advocacy movements, e.g. #blacklivematter and #endmassincarceration?
  3. How can storytelling make complex policy issues understandable for those with the power to make change—especially elected officials and advocates?



Stephen Steim, Creative Dir, New Media Advocacy Project

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