Alabama, Trump Clinton, Facebook discussed on TED Talks Daily
This. Ted talk features journalist e Perlman recorded live at Ted salon up for debate. Twenty nineteen. Ever want to twenty fifth hour in the day on before breakfast. Laura Vander camp can help you get a little more out of each day. Learn things like how to find more time to read or why planning your week on Friday is better every weekday morning. It'll help you feel like you're ready for the day one productivity tip at a time. Find before breakfast on apple podcasts the iheartradio app or wherever you listen. So in the run-up to the two thousand sixteen election. I was like most of us watching the rise in discord, and vitriol and nastiness in our public spaces. It was as crazy uptick in polarization. It was both disheartening and distressing. And so I started thinking with a fellow journalist. Jeremy, hey about how we might practice our craft differently. How we might go to the heart of divides to places of conflict like journalists always have. But then once they're do something, really different. We knew we wanted to take the core tools of our craft careful vetting of information diligent research curiosity a commitment to serving the public good to serving our democracy and do something new. And so we mapped out this process what we call dialogue journalism for going to the heart of social and political divides. And then once they are building journalism supported conversations between people on opposite side of opposite sides of polarizing issues. But how actually to do this in in a world that we that so divided? So deeply divided when we live in a world in which we cousins and aunts and uncles can't talk to one another when we often live in separate and distinct news ecosystems, and when we reflexively and habitually malign and dismiss those with whom we disagree. But we wanted to try. And so right after the two thousand sixteen election in that in that time between the election and the inauguration. We partnered with the Alabama media group to do something really different. We brought twenty-five Trump supporters from Alabama together in conversation with twenty-five Clinton supporters from California, and we brought them together in a closed. Moderated Facebook group that we kept open for a month. What we wanted to do was to give them a place to engage with genuine curiosity and openness, and we wanted to support them in building relationships not just with each other. But with us as journalists, and then we wanted to supply facts and information facts and information that they could actually receive and process and use to undergird their conversations. And so as a prelude to this conversation conversation the first step in what we call dialogue journalism. We asked what they thought the other side thought of them. So we asked. The Trump supporters from Alabama what they thought the Clinton supporters in California thought of them this some of what they said. Do you think we are religious bible thumpers that were backwards and hick and stupid? They think that we all have confederate flags in our yards that we're racist, and sexist and uneducated they think we're barefoot and pregnant with dirt driveways, and then think we're all Prissy butts, and we walk around and hoop skirts with cotton fields in the background. And then we asked that same questions of question of the Californians. What do you think the alabamians think about you? And they said this that we're crazy liberal Californians that were not patriotic or snobby, and we're elitist or godless and more permissive with our children, and we're focused on our career is not our family, and there were lead est pie in the sky intellectuals. Re rich people wholefood eating very out of touch. So by asking questions like this at the start of every conversation, and by dente firing and sharing stereotypes, we find that people people on all sides begin to see the simplistic and often mean-spirited caricatures they carry and in that after that, we can move into a process of genuine conversation. So in the two years since that launch California, Alabama project, we've gone onto host dialogues and partnerships with media organizations across the country and they've been about some of our most contentious issues guns immigration race education. And what we found remarkably is that real dialogue is in fact possible, and that we given a chance and structure around doing so many not all but many of our fellow citizens are eager to engage with the other. Too often. Journalists have sharpened divides in the name of drama or readership or and service to our own views, and too often we've gone to each side, quoting partisan voice on one side and a partisan voice on the other with telling anecdotal lead in a pithy. Final quote, all of which readers are keen to mind for bias. But our dialogue based process has a slower pace and a different center. And our work is guided by the principle that dialogue across difference is essential to a functioning democracy and the journalism and journalists have a multifaceted real role to play in supporting that. So how do we work at every stage where as transparent as possible about our methods and our motives at every stage. We take time to answer people's questions. Explain why we're doing what we're doing. We tell people it's not a trap. No one's there to tell you. You're stupid. No one's there to tell your experience doesn't matter. And we always ask for really different sort of behavior a repack turning away from the reflexive name calling so entrenched in our discourse that most of us on all sides, don't even notice it anymore. So people often come into our conversations of angrily. And they they say things like how can you believe acts, and how can you read y and and you believe that this happened? But generally in this miracle that the delights us every time people begin to introduce themselves, and they begin to explain who they are. And where they come from. And they begin to ask questions of one another and slowly over time people circle back again and again to difficult topics each time with a little more empathy a little more nuance. A little more curiosity. And are journalists moderators work really hard to support this because it's not a debate. It's not a battle. It's not a Sunday morning talk show. It's not the flinging of talking points. It's not the stacking of memes and gifts articles with headlines that prove a point. And it's not about scoring political victories with question traps. So what we've learned. Is that our state of discord is bad for everyone. It is a deeply unhappy state of being and people tell us again. And again, they said they appreciate to chance to engage. Respectfully with curiosity with openness, and that they're glad and relieved for chance to put down their arms. And so we do our work in direct challenge to the political climate in our country right now. And we do it knowing that it is difficult challenging work to hold and support people in opposing backgrounds and conversation, and we do it. Knowing democracy depends on our ability to address our shared problems together. And we do this by putting community at the heart of our journalistic process by putting our egos to the side to listen, I to listen deeply to listen around through our own biases. Our own habits of thought and to support others in doing the same. And we do this work knowing that journalism is an institution is struggling and that it has always had a role to play. And can we'll continue to have a role to play in supporting the exchange of ideas, and views. So for many of the participants in our groups, there are lasting reverberations. Many people have become Facebook friends, and in real life friends to across political lines after we closed that first Trump Clinton project. About two thirds of the women went on to form their own Facebook group, and they chose a moderator from each state, and they continue to talk about difficult and challenging issues and people tell us again. And again that they are grateful for the opportunity to be a part of this work grateful to know, the people on the other side aren't crazy grateful that they've had a chance to connect with people. They wouldn't have otherwise talk to. And a lot of what we've seen in learn despite the fact that we call ourselves spaceship media is not at all rocket science. If you call people names if you label them if you insult them. They're not inclined to listen to you. Snark doesn't help. Shame doesn't help. Condescension doesn't help. Genuine communication takes practice and effort and restraint and self awareness. There isn't an algorithm to solve where we are. Because real human connection is in fact, real human connection. So lead with curiosity emphasized discussion, not debate get out of your silo. Because real connection across difference. This is a Sav that our democracy sorely needs. Thank you. For more, TED talks. But at Ted dot com.