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How Drones Can Help Tell Your Story

As cameras have become smaller and lighter, we have entered into a whole new realm of photographic possibilities. In fact, some of them can even fly. Yes, you guessed it, we’re talking about drones. It’s no surprise drones are becoming more popular than ever before. They provide new perspective and…

We’re hiring: Program Director

Resource Media is working to create a more just and sustainable world, and we’re looking for a communications strategist to join our team. We’re seeking someone that is excited to harness the power of communications and community to create change. You should know what it means to tell a good…

Style matters – Sum of Us’s new progressive style guide

Our friends at Sum of Us recently released a comprehensive, beautiful, deep-dive style guide for progressives. And today, especially, how is something as wonky as a style guide connected to the unspeakable brutality against people of color that has washed across our screens in recent days? And especially to stopping…

Standing in solidarity against violence

Against the backdrop of the unrelentingly horrendous headlines of the past week, a couple of stories on the periphery of the recent tragedies gained the heft of poignant zingers to my own perception of my country and, by extension, myself. The first was a column in the Seattle Times about…

Stand-ing for a better cup, to stop wasting forests

Our friends over at Stand, formerly Forest Ethics, are taking supply chain campaigning to a new level with their newly launched Better Cup campaign. They’re pushing Starbucks to stop wasting forests with its disposable cups. Stand is holding Starbucks to a promise it made way back in 2008, when the…

Measuring social change with the Social Progress Imperative

As seasoned campaign strategists and data nerds, we know that old saying that “what gets measured gets managed” holds true across a range of contexts. And that is precisely why we are proud to support the launch of the 2016 Social Progress Index. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s…

Find the Perfect Color Palette using Pictaculous

When creating a webpage, brochure, or almost any publicity materials for your organization, you are likely to include at least one photo per page. Photos are a great way to communicate information and emotions to your audience quickly, and studies have shown that people remember images much longer than text.…

Not Plagiarism? How About Copyright Infringement?

Given the ease of finding images on the internet, it is not surprising that people rarely think about where they came from. People may think twice however, if they knew that downloading an image without consent might be illegal. Seems easy enough to fix, right? As it turns out, just…

8 Must Knows for Building your Organization’s Instagram Account

Nowadays, there’s a plethora of social networks, but Instagram has quickly become one of the leading platforms with over 400 million users -  59 percent of whom open the app each day. And for good reason, too. With it’s image-driven posts, fun photo filters and recent video updates, people are…

Adobe’s Slate will change the way you tell stories

Adobe released a new application for telling stories last year, and as with most new releases by the company, the technological playing field is now changing. If you are looking for new ways to tell stories about the work you do, or the people you help, we encourage you to…

Choke Points, Martini Glasses and Bad Guys: Supply Chain Communications Lessons from the Field

Brands really do rule the world these days, and smart campaigners around the globe are developing innovative strategies to achieve climate and other conservation goals by going directly to the companies whose influence has grown so outsized in recent decades. The reality of national and international gridlock on climate solutions…

Imagery inspiration

Image from Gratitude Revealed video project, by Louie Schwartzberg “Imagery has come to be an expectation for people,” says Susan Cadrecha, communications manager for Google Maps. Has it ever. But for communicators without Google’s resources (the company took 9,500 photos at the Grand Canyon for trail-view of hikes), the constant…

Seattle’s equity and environment agenda aims to flip the script for social justice

The Duwamish is Seattle’s only real river. It is also the city’s only Superfund site, and it’s a doozy, a complex mishmash of contaminated mud and sediment from years as Seattle’s main industrial artery. People live along the Duwamish, lots of people. 60 percent of these residents are people of…

Connecting the dots on #waterjustice

Water has been central to our work for decades. Whether we’re fighting to close a dirty and outdated coal plant in Nevada, advocating for forest protection in New Jersey, or promoting women’s health in the Global South, we know that no community or landscape can thrive without clean, safe and…

Tips for planning your next visual project

A worksheet you can use for visual project planning is available for download at visualstorylab.org. Good image research starts with thoughtful planning to identify goals and desired outcomes for the communications outreach, target audiences and the channels needed to reach them, and the interests and values of your audiences. A…

Conservation with vision: The payoff for patience

“Young people don’t join conservation organizations.” “Gun owners only care about gun rights.” “America is divided between Republicans and Democrats, and the rift is getting deeper.” I’ve heard those myths for years. Last weekend, I saw them get blown out of the water. Those so-called truisms fell to what Resource…

Use images your audience can recognize as local

This visual promoted to Facebook users in Utah sparked strong participation in an online action on clean energy. The vista is easily recognizable to Utahns as local to their state. In Resource Media’s qualitative and quantitative image-testing projects, certain findings turn up repeatedly. One of our key takeaways from our…

Talking about economic transition as coal declines

“Guys working in the mines were making $18-25/hour. They had really good medical insurance, they could afford to have a nice home, a nice car, and then when all the mines were shut down, there was nothing -- there’s nothing here. Fast food restaurants, or unless you work at the…

What They See Matters: A New Guide on Image Testing

Have you ever picked out what you thought was the perfect gift for a friend or family member, only to find out when they opened it that it wasn’t quite what they  had hoped for? Thank goodness for receipts. Communicators pick out “gifts” of a sort -- pictures and words…

Welcome Two New Resource Media Board Members!

We are pleased to welcome two new members to Resource Media’s board of directors: Rachel Wilson and Ricardo Bayon. Rachel is the principal of Catalysts for Change LLC, a small woman-owned consulting firm that advises global health and development institutions on advocacy strategy, development and capacity building. Previously, Rachel created…

Learning from the World Press Photo of the Year (Part 2 of 2)

Yesterday, we blogged on Warren Richardson’s winning World Press Photo of the Year for 2015, a powerful image of refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary in August 2015. As we wrote yesterday, the photograph’s star qualities do more than heightening attention of the humanitarian crisis in the Middle…

What makes a World Press Photo of the Year?

Congratulations to Warren Richardson for winning World Press Photo of the Year for 2015 for his powerful image of refugees crossing the border from Serbia into Hungary in August 2015. The image’s merit goes well beyond drawing our attention to this humanitarian crisis, giving us important lessons in how to…

In Responses to Clean Power Plan Stay, A Sharp Message to Those that Stand Still

Most were caught by surprise when the Supreme Court stayed the Clean Power Plan last week. But reaction came fast. There were responses from governors, state agencies, power companies, business groups, advocacy organizations and more. Here are a few of the messages that came through loud and clear in support…

The Not-So Hostile Takeover: Bringing New Voices to your Social Media

There’s a new trend among businesses, sports teams and nonprofits alike, and all it requires is a willingness to cede a little control. It’s called an ‘Instagram Takeover.’ An ‘Instagram Takeover’ occurs when an organization gives control of its Instagram account to a third party for a set amount of…

Oregon Standoff: A Clash of Values, Symbols and Stories

Much has been written on the power of storytelling, as a tool for motivating people and advancing causes. Stories are the basic way humans share information and influence people. We here at Resource Media have been following one particular story since the New Year. The standoff between anti-government militants and…

Lazy, selfish, entitled millennials: Your new target audience

I don’t normally consider myself representative of my generation. I pride myself on my “old soul” that superficially separates me from my “lazy, selfish and entitled” peers. But after seeing a recent Huffington Post article proving once again that I belong to the “giving generation,” I’m just about shout-from-the-rooftop proud…

Ack, What’s an ERC? Cliffsnotes on the Clean Power Plan

ERCs, allowances, leakage, mass-based, rate-based, set-asides, CEIP, EM&V, trading ready, glide path, RPS, EERS…. Got it? A lot of acronyms and terms come up in discussions about state compliance with the Clean Power Plan, the Environmental Protection Agency’s new standards for curbing carbon pollution from power plants. If you aren’t…

Building Your Tweet Cred: Part 2

A How-To Guide For Nonprofits For Part I of this two-part series, click here Part 2: Develop Your Twitter Strategy You’ve created a profile with a robust bio and stirring visuals, and now you know the lingo. It’s time to think about what you want to accomplish. Step 1: Identify…

Aqui Estamos: Celebrating Latino Conservation Leadership

Much has been discussed about the need to diversify the environmental movement, because it is the right thing to do (everybody should have access to clean air and water) and because it is the smart thing to do (a broader base will help us win). Here in California and elsewhere on…

Clean Power Plan Communications: An Idea Book for Communicators

Maintaining a steady drumbeat of media and communications on a long-term issue or campaign that spans an extended period can be a challenge. After an initial wave of coverage, there are periodic bursts of media connected to major developments, but public exposure eventually tapers off as the media lose interest…

Building Your Tweet Cred: Part 1

A How-To Guide For Nonprofits To download the full guide, click here. With over 300 million monthly users, Twitter has quickly become the platform of choice for many nonprofits seeking to reach their followers. By creating a well-designed Twitter account, organizations can tell their story, engage communities, enlarge their volunteer…

4 Tips Non-profits Can Learn at an Interactive Conference

What’s an interactive conference, you ask? It’s a two-day event bringing people together to discuss how online technology, creativity and emerging trends are being used to drive marketing campaigns, collect data and frame stories for clients – just to name a few. Attendees range from entrepreneurs to designers and developers,…

Interview: Amy Gulick, Conservation Photographer

Conservation photographer Amy Gulick, a founding fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and longtime friend of Resource Media’s, has been named a finalist in the London Natural History Museum’s Wildlife Photographer of the Year competition, one of the most prestigious nature photography contests in the world. Amy’s image…

A Visual Way to Have a Say on Energy

When you buy a product or service you can mostly get what you want, right? For instance, with a new car purchase you can prioritize things like gas mileage, safety or other features in accordance with your values and needs. Now what about your home’s electricity -- is your money…

COP21: It Takes a (Global) Village

“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together” -- African Proverb Walking into the Civil Society space--a.k.a. the “Green Zone”--at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) last week, I was struck by the sheer amount of activity buzzing about around me.…

Indigenous Rising in Paris: Report from COP21

We are now in the second week of COP21 and as negotiations and decisions are wrapping up inside COP, the energy outside, in the streets of Paris and within side events, is picking up and going strong. This morning an action, a part of #ArtCOP21 and led by French activists,…

How to Make Memes For Twitter

Millions of photos are uploaded to Twitter every single day. It is apparent that people really enjoy sharing and retweeting quotes, memes, and images of their meals, children, pets, and projects! But, before you throw yourself into the fray, here are some tips on how to post pix like a…

Moving beyond “organic” versus “conventional” when it comes to feeding the world

It is an oft used and sobering statistic. The world’s population is projected to reach more than 9 billion by 2050, and some experts say this will require at least a 60 percent increase in agricultural production to feed the world. Industrial agriculture and major agri-business corporations have used this…

Your place for the perfect pattern

Just like a fashion designer needs a good fabric store, web designers need a solid selection of high quality patterns and textures. You can try making your own designs or scouring the web for hi-res Public Domain pics, or you can choose from the 400+ professionally designed patterns at SubtlePatterns.com.…

Donte Parks on Diversity vs. Inclusion, & Everything Else

I attended my first Seattle Interactive Conference this year and connected with Donte Parks, co-founder, VP, and cultural guru at Substantial. While chatting after the keynote address, we discovered some points of connection—namely our interest in making our respective work environments more inclusive for underrepresented groups including people who look like…

Talkin’ Bout a (Cultural) Revolution

I have been thinking a lot about culture lately. It was a hot topic at a recent Brainerd Foundation gathering, where climate leader Jessy Tolkan described cultural campaigns as the key to durable wins (actually, she said something much more poetic about culture as “the rain that falls all around…

Changing the Conversation with Millennials

In our time interning at Resource Media, protests dominated the news. This was a common theme in 2014 and continued into this year, from prolonged and widespread reactions to the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, to major environmental demonstrations like Keystone XL and the People’s Climate March. Yet despite…

How to resize images for social media

There’s nothing more disappointing than a perfect graphic severed by social media. From cover photos to Twitter pictures, Facebook posts to Pinterest thumbnails, every outlet has different places for images with slightly different dimensions. The last thing you want is your main message cut in half because your picture doesn’t…

Narrative for a New Majority

Participating in last week’s Equity Summit 2015 organized by PolicyLink was plenty inspiring. Three thousand people from so many backgrounds, with so many skills, with such a wide range of callings. It was moving, but not in a “Kumbaya” kind of a way. Because at its heart, this summit was about…

Is it fair to call “brand journalism” journalism?

How much does a source matter? Do we care if we get our daily dose of Internet memes and animals pictures from the Post or Purina? The clicks say no. A cover story in a past issue of the Columbia Journalism Review (CJR) delves into the modern and mysterious beast…

New Faces at Resource Media

I’m sure you’ve heard it: a thrumming buzz coming from the vicinity of your nearest Resource Media office. But do you know the source of the excitement? Wonder no longer! A trio of talented new staffers have joined the Resource Media ranks recently, and we’ve been so preoccupied with the…

The 3rd Annual Americas Latino Eco Festival

Congratulations to Americas Latino Eco Festival (ALEF) for an inspirational, thought-provoking and action-oriented three days in Denver October 15-17.  Now in its third year, this year’s installment brought together Latino leaders and advocates from conservation, the arts, policy, science, education, business and more, with a clear call for climate action.…

Facebook Communities: 4 Ways to Engage

While newer tools like SnapChat and Periscope may get all the buzz, Facebook is still the most popular social network by miles. According to Pew Research Center, 71% of online adults use Facebook. And many of them go there in search of community (whether that means keeping in touch with far-flung…

Building Community with Facebook

When I moved to Seattle in 2008, the first thing I tried to do was make some like-minded friends. A new city can feel pretty isolating without human connections. Growing up in Canada meant that I was lucky to receive lots of practice being friendly and outgoing with people who…

SXSW Eco: Three Panels That Brought Diverse Voices to the Table

Last week, Austin, Texas hosted SXSW Eco, “a space for business leaders, investors, innovators and designers to advance solutions that drive economic, environmental, and social change.” Resource Media made it out this year to screen our new Women at the Center film, “I love my IUD”, and to speak on…

#IAmAScientistBecause: Scientists tell us why they do what they do

Hashtags on Twitter were originally designed to help users sort, filter and follow niche or trending issues. Twitter users are coming up with new and creative ways to use hashtags, including launching social memes that capture our imagination, move us or simply make us smile. We want to shout out…

Food Waste on Twitter: Lots of Talk, But Can We Get Some Action?

When John Oliver said on his show Last Week Tonight that “we all have to address our relationship with food waste,” Twitter responded in a big way. Oliver’s viral video clip criticized America’s buffet and “all you can eat” obsession, uncovered the “farm to not table” epidemic, and exposed the truth…

Highlights from ComNet15: Comedy, Power, and Resonance

The Communications Network’s annual conference in San Diego was a sunny affair complete with a beach party kick-off and sunglasses in the swag bag. The theme was “Making Ideas Move” and most of the events centered on how to get people to listen and act. (Pictured: Journalist Jonathan Capehart interviews…

Universities Leading the Charge on Food Waste

You there! Drop that cafeteria tray! Sometimes the simplest solutions to reducing food waste can be the best–and the cheapest too. Of course, from cutting coupons to lugging their weight in dirty laundry home for break, college students know how to save money. So it’s no surprise that they know…

New Guide to Winning Messages on Energy Efficiency

Americans love energy efficiency. Poll after poll shows that overwhelming majorities of Americans have positive feelings about energy efficiency. So why aren’t there more policies in place to support this popular clean energy strategy? We’ve got some ideas for how to bridge that gap between public support and smart policies.…

Visualizing Food Waste

Not all food is created equal. In our age of photoshopped perfection, anything blemished is a hard sell. But when it comes to our food, visual perfection isn’t practical, or sustainable. Funny looking, misshapen, or discolored produce. Wilted lettuce. Food that says it’s gone past the sell date but looks…

New Technology for New Power Movements

According to Pew Research Center, two thirds of American adults now own smartphones, and about the same percentage use Facebook. Our supporters are walking around every day with computers in their pockets. They have the technology to shoot and share high quality photos and video, and many have online networks…

Food Shaming is Out, Crooked Cucumbers are In

Efforts to slash food waste are hitting the big-time, and that’s a great thing. The scale of food waste globally and nationally is so vast, it’s hard to know where to start in terms of encouraging everyday people to change their behavior. Americans, for example, waste at least a third…

The future of conservation: a return to our roots?

Recently, I had the privilege of attending a Design Lab convened by the Brainerd Foundation on 21st Century Advocacy. The task at hand? Consider investments the foundation could make during its sunset years to support a strong and sustainable Northwest conservation movement that uses smart tools and tactics to build…

Conservation through photography: Interview with Dave Showalter

Dave Showalter does not need words to convey his message. In his new book, Sage Spirit: The American West at a Crossroads, the photographs of valleys of grazing buffalo and the ostentatious plumes of the sage grouse are powerful in their own right. These images are taken throughout the yawning…

Laying Waste to Food Waste

Food waste. Sounds ugly, don’t it? It sure is, especially when you get into the nitty-gritty of the numbers: at least a third of U.S. food is wasted either on the farm, at the grocery store, or in our homes. In a world of hungry people, methane pollution from rotting…

How to Schedule Tweets with Images

Pre-scheduling tweets is a handy way to get a message visible during peak “re-tweet” time (lunch break and around 5pm, for many organization’s followings) without staying in the office after hours or monitoring Twitter all day. But sometimes pre-scheduling a tweet with an image can be a little tricky. Images…

Building support for coastal resilience: Top 5 tips

From San Diego to the San Juan Islands, communities up and down the West Coast are preparing for sea level rise. Seasonal high tides and storm surges are giving residents a taste of the future—experts predict sea levels may rise up to 66 inches by the year 2100, putting roads,…

Tó Éí Ííńá (Water is Life): The impact of the Gold Mine Spill on the Navajo Nation

In early August approximately 3 million gallons of toxic waste spilled from the Gold King Mine into the Animas River in Colorado, making national headlines. News reports describe the plume of toxic waste as containing lead, arsenic, copper, calcium cadmium, aluminum and other heavy metals. Photos shared over social media…

Climate action on California’s coast

While political battles rage on over state climate laws designed to clean up California’s air and energy, communities up and down the coast are quietly preparing for one climate impact that has largely escaped partisan politics: sea level rise. Last month, I attended a University of California Irvine event on…

Want higher engagement? Add text to your Facebook videos

Have you noticed that the videos in your Facebook Newsfeed are now soundlessly on auto-play? Yes, Facebook has tweaked the playbook yet again. This new auto-play feature for videos has nonprofits scrambling to adjust our strategies to continue to get the most out of the high online engagement that videos…

Got a story to tell? Enrich it with Periscope

Twitter’s fairly new live-streaming platform, Periscope, is creating quite a buzz on the web, and when it comes to citizen journalists, non-profit organizations, and big brands alike, this app is showing potential as an extremely powerful tool for reaching an audience. Even Hillary Clinton has taken notice and is using…

Not enough time to create good content? Just COPE!

One of the biggest challenges that nonprofit communications professionals face is churning out a stream of engaging content to feed blogs, Facebook pages, e-newsletters, and other channels. With so many channels that need quality content and limited time and resources, how do we keep up? Anna Marshall, Director of Digital…

Here. Now. Us. actualizes climate change for Marin County

I’m sure you remember a childhood moment at the beach, on a mountain or in an observation tower, begging your parents for a quarter so you could look through the coin-operated binoculars and get a close-up view of everything that was once so small to your naked eye. Now imagine…

Jade Begay: RM’s Inaugural Sustainability & Justice Communications Fellow

When we decided to launch our Sustainability & Justice Communications Fellowship program at Resource Media, we did so knowing that we already had a great candidate in our midst.  Jade Begay had been interning with Resource Media during the final year of her Masters program in Environmental Leadership at Naropa…

Lessons from the Empire State Building

In 2009, a team of workers set up a secret workshop in an unmarked room on the 5th floor of the Empire State Building. In the dark of night, well after the throngs of tourists had departed, the workshop leapt into action. Workers dashed through the building’s 100 floors, each…

How is nonprofit work like a mission to Pluto? (Report from #NN15)

Do you ever feel like you are on a never-ending mission towards a target you can't see, hurtling 30,000 miles-per-hour into a great dark void that's full of unknown obstacles, with a computer as your only lifeline to humanity? Is that just me? In our work, it often feels like…

Mainstreaming water conservation: lessons from energy efficiency

As the megadrought continues, public agencies and nonprofit organizations are upping the ante on water conservation campaigns.  San Francisco Public Utilities Commission is working to sex up water savings with ads that call for “quickies” (short showers) and “full frontal” high efficiency washers. Denver Water has long used eye-catching art…

Using social media to capture social change at the Skoll World Forum

Resource Media was pleased to support the Skoll Foundation’s traditional and social media work at this year’s Skoll World Forum. The three-day event draws nearly 1,000 of the world’s pre-eminent social entrepreneurs to Oxford, England each year. The event is jam-packed with plenaries, group sessions, networking and learning, and, with…

Want Great Pics for Your Non-Profit? Getty Images Are Now Free!

Image sharing on social media has allowed a never-ending stream of content to flow through the web, with photographers often losing out on receiving proper credit for their work. Getty Images has recently responded to this trend by removing the licensing watermark on many of their images intended for use…

The Power of People in Imagery

Which of the following images do you think would inspire you to purchase energy-efficient light bulbs? If you are anything like the test subjects of an experiment Resource Media ran with the SEE Change Institute, you’d have most likely picked the second image with the person in it. At Resource…

What a June!

As I traveled the country over the past few weeks, both for business and vacation, I have seen the shaking of heads and mirrored that movement on my own, inspired by the same set of events that penetrated early summer like lightning. First came Charleston, a massacre in a church;…

Rainbows and Equal Signs: How Facebook Raised the Profile of Marriage Equality

Last Friday in a landmark U.S Supreme Court decision ruling 5-4, same-sex marriage was officially legalized in all fifty states. Some may quickly respond, “It’s about time!” While others remark at how relatively fast such change has come about. In just a matter of decades, same-sex civil marriage has gone…

An “online collage” for clean energy access in developing countries

“We are more than happy, because we don’t have power cuts in our system,” says Rafiqul Islam, a resident of Islampur in northern Bangladesh and one of 15 million Bangladeshis whose homes are powered by solar. “For those who are connected with the national grid, blackouts are regular,” he adds.…

The Secret to a Standing Ovation

In early June I had the honor of working with Open Society Foundation’s Mental Health Initiative grantees, helping to lead a visual communications workshop in Barcelona with professional photographer Ami Vitale. I was there to share best practices and research from Resource Media’s Visual Story Lab, but I was thrilled…

Some of my best friends are stock photos

It seems to never end. We keep seeing coverage about stock photos coming back to haunt folks. Just today, news that Donald Trump may have hired actors to pose as supporters at his candidacy announcement surfaced. While some say that there is no such thing as bad press, these stories…

Not just a teen thing: Snapchat for your non-profit

I’ve been reluctant to join Snapchat, as it seemed like I missed the boat on this young, popular photo and video messaging app, and I didn’t understand how a message that self-destructs in 24 hours could be useful. But recently I finally gave it a go and have been interested…

Watermarking photos for Twitter success

Have you ever faced the challenge of squeezing a complicated tweet into 140 characters? And then if you add a photo or visual, it takes up even more space and you find yourself without enough room to credit the photographer appropriately, while also giving context to the link. Twitter’s unique…

Ben Long, Conservation Leader

The first time I met Ben Long, he told me, with more than a hint of pride, about a right-wing radio talk jock in his hometown of Kalispell, Montana who had taken to calling him “Osama Ben Longin”. Thankfully, today both that radio show and Osama Bin Laden are gone.…

Financial crisis and coal?

A lot of news and information about energy comes across my desk every day, so it’s not often that I get past the first page of anything, much less page 90. Yet that’s just where I found myself recently -- page 90-91 of a utility regulatory proceedings document from New…

How to use Infogr.am

Have you ever seen a great infographic on social media and wished you could make one for you own organization? Well now you can. Infogr.am, and online infographic generator makes it easy to express your data in a visually captivating way. As we’ve discussed in previous posts, infographics are a…

Giving credit where credit is due: How to attribute images used on the web

If you are publishing content on the web, or social media sites, you are probably using photos or images you’ve found through a search on the web. Sometimes, it can be tricky attributing photos properly, and it’s important to do so correctly. The reason it’s important to be correct about…

Webinar: Winning Imagery for Energy Efficiency

If you’ve been following our visual communications work, you already know that good visuals are essential to successful outreach and communication. Human beings are visual creatures – more than 60 percent of our brain is devoted to visual processing. And study after study has shown that visuals are much more…

Measuring what matters

One of the coolest things about digital communications is the real time feedback we get. Within minutes of posting to Facebook or sending an email, I can start assessing performance. This data can help us hone content and engagement strategies. But, it’s easy to get bogged down in tracking the…

Hacking and password security

Another day, another data breach. We have been inured to the news of corporations being hacked and our data being spilled out into the black market: Target, Home Depot, Anthem, Primera, American Express, Chase, Twitter… These represent large scale, sophisticated hacks, in most cases, targeting personal and financial information. But…

Media blind spots have consequences

Last month, journalism lost one of its great champions for inclusive reporting, Oakland’s own Dori Maynard. Maynard was a voice for making the media more representative, particularly of communities of color. Despite her impressive accomplishments, her work remains unfinished. Maynard once said: “Sometimes, I think two of my greatest loves…

The rise of outdoor recreation

When President Obama picked REI president and chief executive Sally Jewell almost two years ago to be the 51st Secretary of the Interior of the United States, it was, like a snowball rolling downhill, a clear signal of gathering momentum for outdoor recreation. April 10 will mark two years in office…

Infinite icons from The Noun Project

Whether you are creating an infographic, illustration, brand, or logo, clear and concise icons can make visual communication easy. But designing a simple clean icon can be harder than it looks, and finding useable images online can be even trickier. Enter The Noun Project, an easy to use online goldmine…

Journey for our existence: a movement for justice and protection of native women

Editor's note: This post originally appeared on Women at the Center. All over North America, Indigenous women are rising. Marching, organizing and coming up with incredibly brave and creative actions on behalf of the earth, our ancestors’ legacy and on behalf of future generations. From Minnesota, where Winona LaDuke is…

With body language, the power is in the palm of your hands

With just a wave of his palm, Allan Pease was able to convince his audience to follow his instructions. No, he was not using the force, at least not in the Star Wars sense. From his TEDx Talk however, we find out that when speaking to an audience, the way…

Shedding new light on energy efficiency

When you do a Google image search on energy efficiency, what comes up? You guessed it - a whole lot of CFL light bulbs. Our current visual vocabulary for energy efficiency is woefully inadequate for the task of inspiring Americans to save energy. Good visuals are essential to successful outreach…

Picture yourself with us: How supporter photos add a new edge to canvassing

We all know that a picture is worth a thousand words but a new experiment conducted by Amnesty International suggests that it might also be worth over a million dollars in donations. Canvassers for the organization recently added one simple step to their recruitment strategy in Toronto: photographing new supporters.…

A comeback story deserves a great website

As we’ve said elsewhere on this blog, visuals and personal stories are powerful tools to help connect people emotionally to important issues. The new Great Lakes Impact website—launched yesterday by the Joyce Foundation—combines strong visuals and human-centric stories to draw viewers into the progress that’s been made in recent years…

Tapping into Twitter as the ultimate soapbox

This just in: Twitter remains an absolutely terrific way to spark interest and dialogue around key policy issues. Here in California, we helped clean energy supporters use Twitter to help fend off 2014 oil industry attacks on the state’s landmark climate law, AB 32. After we began circulating model Tweets…

The “eyes” have it: why your photos should make eye contact

We’ve all received the advice, “make eye contact!” But it turns out there’s psychological and scientific backing to this maxim, and it holds true for good impressions and visual storytelling. Researchers from the Cornell University Food and Brand lab surveyed 86 different cereal box characters and found that 57 gazed…

Thought leadership: More than just a TED talk, and more than just a fad

This is Part 2 of a two-part series. Read Part 1 here. Have you ever dreamed of giving a TED talk and selling your big idea to the same folks who gobbled up Bill Gates big vision of innovating to zero, learned that gaming can be good, or how schools…

How to change what people are saying about your organization

This is Part 1 of a two-part series. When was the last time you went to the doctor for a check-up? Hopefully, it was in the past year. But, what about your organization? Have you given it a check-up recently? Specifically, have you checked on the health of your organization’s…

Times New Roman or Calibri? Your choice may spell success or failure for your communication

You know that restaurants put a lot of effort into making decisions, such as creating atmosphere and choosing what dishes to serve, but did you know that includes choosing fonts for menus and more? Researchers have found that font choices impact whether customers will stop to read a message, and…

ZNE pitch: no more apologies!

People involved with advancing zero net energy (ZNE) buildings spend a lot of time talking about how much ZNE buildings cost—or don’t cost—in an effort to convince the building sector that ZNE is not as expensive as they might think. Given that perceived cost is one of the biggest barriers…

A sneak peek at 2015’s big environment news

Think no one’s paying attention to the big environmental issues of the day? Think again. Last month, an overflow crowd attended an event at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington DC to hear journalists like the Wall Street Journal’s Amy Harder, Bloomberg’s Larry Pearl, and Randy Loftis of the Dallas…

The Super Bowl is here and we’ll be watching commercials – here’s why

The Super Bowl is around the corner and Resource Medians have their favorites. We’re not disclosing our favorites should that prevent some of you from reading any further! As communications specialists, though, everyone at Resource Media can agree on one thing: the commercials are worth watching and worth analyzing to…

Show & tell: Chicago’s first energy benchmarking report

One of the first lessons we learn about storytelling is that when we show (and tell), our stories are more interesting. That’s why kids bring in items from home to show-and-tell classmates about things they care about. When it comes to saving energy, finding ways to show what success looks…

Five lessons from five years on Twitter

Back in 2009, far more of our clients were on Facebook than Twitter. Then, as now, Facebook was the network favored by internet users, aka the General Public (check out Pew’s latest study to see how the two measure up in terms of traffic. Spoiler alert: Facebook still crushes it).…

Getting to zero: Best pitch for ZNE

For the last couple of years, Resource Media and the New Buildings Institute have been wrestling with a challenging question: What’s the best way to sell zero net energy (ZNE) buildings within the building sector? The good news is we’ve finally got an answer. At the upcoming Getting to Zero…

Stepping outside to look inside

One could argue that change rarely happens when we are completely comfortable. When I am operating at my best, I am consciously placing at least one foot outside my comfort zone. Other times, I need to be reminded to keep moving. Other times I need to be pushed a bit.…

Top viral visuals of 2014

It’s been quite a year for those of us interested in visual communications. From protests to catcalls, and some puppies thrown in for good measure, 2014 brought us powerful stuff to chew on. Here are some of the ones that stuck with us the most.         Ice…

Top 5 digital takeaways for nonprofits from 2014

2014 is nearly in the books, and just as with last year, there were some big changes and significant developments in the digital media world. The digital world moves fast, and it can be tough to keep up with it all. Here are our top takeaways for nonprofits from the…

2014: The year organizing came back

Looking back on 2014, a few big defeats jump immediately to mind, and just seconds later, a few really inspiring lessons about organizing, storytelling and people power. There’s the big, obvious, beautiful success of the #blacklivesmatter movement. So many folks have written so gorgeously about that, so we’ll just direct…

3 lessons from testing images and appeals for online action in 2014

Are you planning some website ads or Facebook post promotion in 2015 to try to reach beyond your group’s base, maybe expand your list a little or motivate some broader participation in an online action? I’ve taken a look back at three online ad projects we ran in 2014 to…

How to make people care about energy efficiency? Make it personal!

I just returned from the Behavior, Energy and Climate Change Conference (BECC) – a gathering of social scientists, economists, marketers and technologists all focused on a single goal: getting people to save energy. As it turns out, it takes quite a bit of priming, educating, rewarding and shaming to get…

On diversity & inclusion: Starting to break the “green ceiling”

There’s been a lot of discussion recently of the stubbornly homogenous composition of the mainstream environmental movement. This summer, a comprehensive report found that environmental organizations and agencies have yet to break down the 12-16% "green ceiling" for recruiting and retaining people of color to their staff. In plain language:…

Photo fail? 15 no-fail stock photo sites

It’s happened to all of us. You have a photo that works perfectly for your project but there’s a problem: You don’t own the rights to it. Next step, you try Flickr. Again, no luck. Sometimes – gasp – you have to buy a photo! What are your options? No…

How communicators are using Giving Tuesday to raise funds

It’s that time of year when retailers begin their incessant ads to lure holiday shoppers to stores during the wee hours of Black Friday. In recent years, online retailers have begun their own shopping day: Cyber Monday. A few years ago, New York’s 92nd Street Y and the UN Foundation…

The virtual water cooler

I now look forward to Wednesdays. Not because it is “hump” day or because I am a stickler for midweek punishment. Wednesday is the day we get the Resource Media Diversity Dashboard in our inboxes.  The dashboard is a version of something we get every day; clippings of interest; mostly…

Communicating across cultures

I’m Canadian. Well...really...I’m "kinda Canadian" according to my wife. I came south from Ottawa in 1987 right after high school where we met. She stayed in the nation’s capital before immigrating to Seattle last year. Born and raised in Vancouver she’s shared many stories of the spectacular places she visited…

A reality check on biomass ambitions

To combat climate change and reduce petroleum imports, some countries have started to adopt strong targets for renewable energy. For example, European Union law requires 20% of energy to be from renewable sources by 2020, and is targeting 27% renewable energy by 2030. So far, biomass is by far the largest contributor…

Humans of New York: A big city reclaims its community through visual storytelling

Has "Humans of ___" come to your city yet? It all started when a guy named Brandon Stanton had an idea to take photos of New York City citizens and pin their photos on a map to create a visual representation of his participants’ locations. Humans of New York is…

2014 Midterms: What they mean, and don’t mean, for conservation

Election Day 2014 is in the history books and it’s a logical time to take stock. Check these items in particular: which political forces can conservationists hope to influence, and which are beyond their control? First, the 2014 Midterms were clearly not about conservation. They were a typical American voter…

What’s your message? This worksheet just made your job easier.

We are in throes of campaign season as candidates rush from event to event to gin up votes as we get closer to Election Day. Every one of those candidates who is successful on November 4 will probably have carefully crafted a message that resonates with their pool of voters.…

Water over the dam

Here’s a riddle: what has been around since WWII and is covered with wooden and metal spikes? If you said the Buckley Dam on Washington’s White River, congratulations! For those that got it wrong, here’s the deal: This dilapidated old dam once diverted water to a now closed hydropower facility,…

Dear Forest Service: Today’s John Muir shoots video

The US Forest Service has waltzed into a political minefield over its requirement that journalists and bloggers obtain permits to shoot pictures and video in Congressionally designated wilderness areas. The agency appears to not know where to step, lest it trigger another explosion. Here is some friendly advice: Abandon course.…

Social impact: How do you measure it?

“The best story, sitting on a shelf, does nothing. Simply ‘raising awareness’ without a strategic plan will accomplish little more. How can anyone hoping to affect change through their creative work plan for success and know if they are succeeding? We'll hear from a diverse group of communication experts about…

Unique partnership drives California’s charge for electric vehicles

Amid all the exciting momentum coming out of the UN’s 2014 Climate Summit, you may have missed an achievement that once again puts California at the forefront of environmental leadership and showcases a new way that groups from different perspectives can collaborate to effect change. California innovation got a global spotlight when…

Five visual communications tips for the digital age

Oxford English Dictionary dubbed 2013 the year of the selfie. Experts predict nearly a trillion photos will be taken in 2014. With a camera in every smartphone, and Snapchat and Instagram growing gangbusters, one might think technology was fueling this photo boom. But our passion for pictures is as old…

A rooftop solar revolution

Who benefits from rooftop solar? If you’re thinking only rich folks can afford those snazzy solar panels – well, that’s where you’re wrong. For low-income families, electricity bills can break the bank: low-income households spend four times as much of their income on utilities as average consumers. Making rooftop solar affordable (through…

A tale of two panels

How challenging will it be to feed the world’s population in 2050? Depends on how many people there are in 2050. And that number depends on a lot of things – not least of which is how many women are empowered to choose their family size with the help of…

Using visuals to communicate size and scale

Just how big is the Great Barrier Reef? A quick Google search will tell you that it is approximately 2300 kilometers long and covers 344,400 square kilometers. That’s pretty big. But, just how big? It is difficult for people to wrap their head around large and obscure numbers. Grounding numbers…

Keeping up with coal-to-clean energy transition with Energy Trend Tracker

With Labor Day upon us, we figured it would be an opportune time to take a quick look at all the hard work that’s gone on over the summer on the transition from coal to clean energy. Resource Media developed Energy Trend Tracker at the beginning of the year as…

Good, old-fashioned communications

In this age of whiz-bang communications, it’s easy to forget that sometimes, the best way to get your message across is through good old-fashioned one-on-one conversations. The City of Seattle’s ongoing effort to help thousands of building owners assess their property’s energy use is a prime example of the power…

5 best practices for photo captions that sing

Think about your blog posts. They probably include a photo or two. Hopefully authentic ones from your work. Perhaps taken by staff or volunteers, or crowdsourced from supporters.  If we’re describing your website, congratulations! You are already taking huge steps to draw supporters’ eyes and touch their hearts with smart…

Southern forests, European electricity?

Yep, you read that headline right. Across the beautiful, super-diverse and sometimes ancient woodlands of the southern US, entire forests are being leveled to feed European power plants. The driver is a loophole in European Union climate and clean energy law that prompted massive demand for wood pellets to fire…

Selling ‘zero net energy’

What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear “zero net energy”? What about “zero energy” or “net zero energy”? And what about if I use these phrases to describe a building? Across the country, leading designers, architects and builders are striving to meet a new standard in…

Keeping women at the center keeps a better future in focus

Almost 50 years ago, my distant cousin Estelle Griswold did something pretty remarkable: she took on a Connecticut law that banned birth control, brought it all the way to the Supreme Court, and won. Because of her determination, women all over the country get to decide whether and when to…

Be prepared – it’s not just a Scout motto

Unless you’ve been living under a proverbial rock, you heard about Toledo’s drinking water crisis, when an algae outbreak right over the city's municipal water intake in Lake Erie led to dangerous levels of toxic microcystins. For two days in early August, Toledo residents were forced to scrounge and pay…

The first rule of talking about nitrogen…

Who cares about nitrogen pollution? Chances are, you do. You just don’t know it yet. Nitrogen as an element is absolutely necessary to life, but as with so many essentials, you can have too much of a good thing. Excess nitrogen – from tailpipes, smokestacks and most seriously from manures…

Toxic algae crisis isn’t over for Lake Erie or the nation

Toledo drinking water ban should be a warning to other cities After a weekend of scrambling to find bottled water for drinking, cooking and other household uses, residents of northwestern Ohio and southwestern Michigan were told Monday that their tapwater is again safe to drink. But for how long? Toxic…

Track your Twitter engagement with Twitter Analytics

We often advise our partners to track their digital media results to measure the impact of their efforts. Examining communications impact is an important part of most any communications strategy, and when it comes to digital strategy, tools like Google Analytics and Facebook Insights can be extremely helpful. While Twitter…

Interview: Amy Marquis, The Digital Naturalist

If anyone knows about effective film and photography advocacy, it is Amy Marquis. In an effort to help others understand the world of digital advocacy, she created The Digital Naturalist in 2010, a website that examines the elements of what makes advocacy videos go viral or be a complete flop.…

Cracking the (building) code

Most of us assume that a new home—simply because it is new—will be  energy-efficient. I mean, why – with all the energy-saving technologies and know-how out there – would a brand new home NOT be energy-efficient? One reason many new homes aren’t as efficient as they should be is because…

Close your eyes: visualizing energy efficiency

I have an exercise for you. In a second, I want you to close your eyes and tell me the first image that comes to mind when you think about energy efficiency. OK, go ahead. What popped into your head? Was it, by chance, a CFL light bulb? Maybe someone…

Communicating the value of ocean protection

President Obama made headlines around the world recently when he announced plans to create the world’s largest marine preserve in the Pacific Ocean. When you are talking about two million square kilometers of pristine coral reefs, it’s easy to grasp the significance of a marine protected area.  The smaller protected…

What brain science tells us about website design

According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information, the average attention span is now just 8 seconds. That doesn’t give us a lot of time to engage website visitors before they lose interest and click elsewhere. Fortunately, the science that is tracking our shrinking attention spans also offers some insights…

Water wins

Here’s the scenario: Washington State, like many states, uses something called fish-consumption rates to set water quality standards. The idea is to start with the average amount of fish people eat, and then figure out how clean the water needs to be in order for someone to eat that amount…

Climate solutions – A healthy dose of optimism

Climate solutions are difficult, expensive, out of reach, and not particularly useful for regular people, particularly low income communities, and communities of color – right? That’s the usual line in the mainstream media, and it’s one we at Carpe Diem West are working hard to shift. We recently read Brentin Mock’s…

Why the Hobby Lobby decision is bad for everyone

Last week, five members of the Supreme Court (none of them women) decided the religious beliefs of certain corporations outweigh a woman’s right to birth control coverage. Which (as I wrote for the Skoll World Forum) is bad for the thousands of women who work for companies whose owners want…

Photo essays that captivate, part 2

This part two in a two-part series on photo essays. Yesterday, I wrote about powerful essays that use just one or two images. Today, I’m going to talk about longer-form photo essays. You probably are familiar with these from online news sites which use slideshows of five to ten images…

Photo essays that captivate

Instant. Emotional. Captivating. Yes, we’re talking about stories. Visual stories to be precise. Traditionally, stories are (hopefully, gripping) text with images to support the storyline. But, what if the story format was flipped to be largely made of images with text included to support the visual story, not vice versa?…

Who shouted, who didn’t: 10 observations on the carbon regulations media landscape so far

With a month now passed since EPA’s announcement of carbon pollution standards for power plants, we took a look back at the news coverage in June to get a sense of the media landscape on the issue so far. To make the scan manageable, we concentrated on print and radio, news…

Making a cool concept warm the heart

Energy efficiency is a concept that can be hard to make heartwarming. Resource Media has had success making it humorous, making it visible and making it practical, but could we make energy efficiency a matter of the heart? One of the unsung heroes of the energy efficiency world is energy…

Ready for Toxic Algae Season

Toxic algae – sometimes called harmful algal blooms – is a particular threat in the warm summer months, when polluted runoff from farms, feedlots, lawns and septic fields meets warm waters that allow dangerous algae growth to explode. For the second year in a row, the US Environmental Protection Agency’s…

Be your own meme machine

Ever wish you could have a photo editor in house? Someone who could whip up a meme, tweak a photo or put together a fancy graphic for your Facebook page? Or, just help turn a photo from “nice” to “fabulous!” That someone could easily be you! We’re sharing our favorite…

Carbon rule thrusts energy efficiency into the limelight

Energy reporters were all abuzz this spring in anticipation of the release of the Environmental Projection Agency’s draft regulations on power plant emissions. In the days leading up to the release, news coverage framed the story as a battle between coal vs. clean energy interests, with little to no coverage…

Electric vehicles for the rest of us

Californians, like the country as a whole, are driving less and less, helping curb dangerous tailpipe emissions. But with many forces at play, including a growing population, we can’t expect to reach our state’s climate goals by just coasting in cruise control. For this reason, California isn’t waiting for the…

10 words that thwart opposition messages to carbon limits

Carbon dioxide is back on a national political stage. On June 2, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy put it there with her announcement of standards for states to meet in reducing carbon pollution from power plants. In the weeks and months prior to the announcement, there was no small…

The silent (super) majority

Despite all the sound and fury about Obamacare’s coverage of birth control, it turns out there’s very little signified. It’s amazing the way the opposition can gin up a controversy, get it all the way to the Supreme Court, and take up way too much time on Fox News with…

Bringing heart and spirit into the climate movement

This guest blog originally appeared on Climate Access. We often talk about the need to broaden the movement and encourage more voices beyond the traditional environmental base to speak about our need to act on climate.  Climate disruption is an issue that will affect everyone, and the more communities with…

How to make climate regulations matter to moms

How can make climate regulations relevant to soccer moms in the southeast? Well, you can start by talking about asthma. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s long-awaited proposal to regulate carbon pollution from existing coal-fired power plants was released today to high praise from businesses and investors, state leaders, faith leaders…

What makes images and videos go viral?

What causes certain images and videos to go viral while the majority wallow in cyberspace never to be discovered by more than a handful of viewers? You may remember how Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches campaign received over 30 million view in a mere 10 days, or how Kony 2012 received…

Utah: A window to the West

The media frenzy created twice now by the actions of extremist attitudes has painted a story about conflict and public lands that a lot of folks across the country are tempted to buy into because it satisfies their fuzzy notions about the romantic West. Unfortunately, while the mindset of Cliven…

A victory for women and girls in the sustainable development conversation

The acronym SRHR isn’t widely recognized, but a mid-April victory at the UN will, we hope, change that. Revisiting the revolutionary Cairo declaration at the UN’s Commission on Population and Development, nations from around the world called strongly for SRHR to be an essential component of the emerging sustainable development…

Remembering Billy Frank Jr.

At Resource Media, we talk a lot about how the messenger is as important as the message. We stress the importance of messengers who come from outside the “green” base; a sliver of society that is perceived, in part correctly, as being too old, too privileged, too urban and too…

Summer dreams don’t include toxic algae

Spring has sprung, and May brings more than flowers (from the April showers). It’s time to start dreaming about first splashes at local spots where families will be swimming, anglers will be fishing, and paddlers will be – well, you know, dipping oars. Summer days are just around the corner,…

You want hearts? Show ‘em, then tell ‘em

Wildlife migration isn’t just for wildebeest and caribou in National Geographic specials – it’s a topic of great concern for wildlife biologists struggling to manage wildlife here in the Lower 48. But most of us don’t think much about animals making their way across the landscape, moving from winter feeding…

A year in the Visual Story Lab

On a stretch of highway between Albuquerque and Santa Fe there’s a billboard. On the left side it shows smiling children in front of an adobe house with a large solar panel. On the right it shows close ups of belching smoke stacks from a coal fired power plant; overlaid…

A warm welcome to Resource Media’s newest hires

Resource Media is a nonprofit communications firm; and as a nonprofit, we have a take on how our work can best contribute to social change. We believe communications needs to be applied toward breaking the silos between issues, connecting people around shared values and moving beyond short term transactions to…

How to make Facebook work for you

Facebook is a big social network, with over 1 billion users around the world, and over 125 million U.S. users active on the site every day. When it makes a big change, it’s big news. Lately, the change that has everyone buzzing is the precipitous drop in organic reach for…

White House Champions of Change: Celebrando

On March 18, 2014, Resource Media partners Azul and Latino Outdoors were present at the White House “Champions of Change” Leaders in Conservation event, honoring those that are engaging “the next generation of environmental conservationist”. Marce Gutiérrez, founder-director of Azul and Program Director at Resource Media, and José González, founder-director of Latino Outdoors, were nominated and…

Calming winds amidst the Nevada ranching storm

Along with the dust and tumbleweeds, there’s a lot of misinformation swirling around Gold Butte, Nev. these days. And when you combine that with myopic right-wing ideology, guns and the reach and speed of social media, that manure gets flung across the country, and the Internet, pretty darn fast. Much…

Turning building owners on to energy use tracking

What does it take to convince building owners of the value of tracking their property’s energy use? By telling them it will save them money, that it is easy to do, or that their peers are already doing it? And what are the best ways to reach these owners? Through…

5 great visual stories from Exposure, and what you can learn from them

Ever seen a picture, a painting, or a photo, and wondered "what the heck is that?" You’re not alone. It’s how our brains work. In order to "know" what we see, we need to have seen it, or something similar to it, before. It’s easy to recognize a mountain, because,…

Want your content to go viral? Catch this

Editor's note: This originally appeared at The Communications Network website, and is reposted here with permission. Want to learn how to make your content spread like a virus? Catch the latest in the Communications Network Zero to Ninety series. In the video below, I share four tips to help your content go viral…

SelfEE photo contest shedding light on “hidden” energy efficiency

How do you take a picture of something invisible? That’s the challenge with choosing the right image to go with an energy efficiency message. Energy efficiency advocates get jealous of colleagues who work on renewables like wind and solar, with their stock image galleries jam packed with idyllic sunrises and…

From hoarder to order: Organizing a photo library

I’m a saver. If I see a great photo, I grab it knowing there will be a project down the road it will be perfect for. While I prefer to think of myself as delightfully proactive, my computer desktop is telling me I’m a hot mess. Well, if you’re anything…

What makes an image stand out on Instagram?

Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has gained significant prominence in the social media world. Just about everyone is Instagraming, but not everyone is taking quality pictures that generate good engagement. So what makes a good image stand out from the rest? We came across an interesting study recently that…

Update: Fracking still impacting property values, property rights across America

Last fall, Resource Media compiled an in-depth media tipsheet to provide journalists with background information and sources about the growing body of evidence linking drilling with widespread impacts on property values, property rights and quality of life in communities across America. Since we first published Drilling vs. The American Dream,…

Drilling vs. the American Dream: Fracking impacts on property rights and home values

There are currently more than 1.1 million active oil and gas wells in the United States, and more than 15 million Americans now live within a mile of the hundreds of thousands that have been drilled since 2000, according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal. Made possible by…

Building energy reporting: Big data for leaner, smarter cities

Some of America’s major metro areas are getting smarter, richer and, dare we say, thinner—at least when it comes to their energy profiles—all thanks to adoption of energy benchmarking policies. This week, Washington, DC became the second U.S. city to disclose energy-use data on large, privately owned buildings. New York City was the first to do…

Interview: Bridget Besaw, environmental documentarian

Bridget Besaw has found a way to combine her passion for photography with her love of the natural world. As an environmental documentarian, Bridget works with various environmental organizations to tell their stories through photo exhibits, books, and short film series. Over the years, she has partnered with a variety…

Report from the World Ocean Summit

Last week, I flew to Half Moon Bay for the World Ocean Summit, hosted by The Economist and National Geographic. It brought together world leaders, nonprofit and industry executives, foundations, resource economists, and scientists to discuss the most pressing problems facing the ocean, and brainstorm solutions. The conference began with…

Storytelling photography: Learn from the masters

When I help people prepare for media interviews, I commonly tell people to analyze interviews in that same format – TV, radio or print – that they find very persuasive. What was it about their soundbite that got your attention? How did they use a story to transport you in…

Using video for social change (Part 2)

You’re making a video! That’s awesome. Now what? In my first post I shared several core concepts we use when building video for social change: creating effective viewer engagement, finding a story about an individual to represent your cause, and sharing successes rather than dwelling on problems. As you move…

Using video for social change (Part 1)

Videos have taken center stage in communications: explainer videos describe how a new app works; instructional videos show how to change your furnace’s air filter; advertising videos are designed to go viral (like that Dollar Shave Club spot). If you’re trying to drive social or environmental change, you are asking…

Track the rise of renewables with Energy Trend Tracker

For the past decade, Resource Media’s diverse work on energy issues has provided us with a front row seat to one of the most important stories of our time. Hardly a day a goes by where we don’t hear or read another story about the nation’s shift away from coal…

Annual reports score big with better visuals

As you’re surfing the Internet, jumping from page to page in hot pursuit of hot content, what do you find jumps out and grabs your eye? Did you answer: a nice big block of dense text? Yeah, neither did we. Recently, many nonprofit organizations have been coming to the same…

5 tools to help you navigate the new media landscape

The media landscape is changing at breakneck pace. Mobile internet use is on the rise (according to Pew's latest research, 63% of adult cell phone owners currently using their phones to browse the internet), and apps like Snapchat, Instagram, and Vine are skyrocketing in popularity. Since most of our partners are…

Farm bill quid pro quo

On February 7, after nearly three long years, President Obama signed the 2014 Farm Bill into law. It’s a big deal – nearly $1 trillion big – covering everything from crop insurance to food stamps to research and rural development. And while it’s hard to find anyone who likes everything…

New California scorecard a call to action on Environmental Justice

Today marks the 20th anniversary of the signing of President Clinton’s executive order on environmental justice, officially known as the Federal Actions to Address Environmental Justice in Minority Populations and Low-Income Populations a result of Environmental equity grassroots movements of the 1980s. Milestones like this are to be celebrated cautiously,…

Interview: Katie Homes, Climate Reality Project

What do shopping, cookies, and outdoor concerts have to do with climate change? Anyone who has explored the Climate Reality Project’s visually stunning website, Whatilove.org, can tell you: all will be jeopardized in the near future thanks to carbon pollution. Like most people, you may feel largely disconnected from the…

7 steps to mapping your story for impact with TileMill and MapBox

"I am told there are people who do not care for maps, and I find it hard to believe." --Robert Louis Stevenson, author of Treasure Island I really do love a good map, which is why I am thrilled that producing good maps showing your own data is easier than…

Changing (NY) Times: From op-eds to op-docs

I am guessing that more than a few of you reading this blog post have written op-eds over the years. With the visual revolution of the past few years, we have seen all sorts of changes to how information is presented online, the tidal wave of infographics being just one…

Interview: Alexandra Garcia, International League of Conservation Photographers

Photo credit: Wendy Shattil Late last year, we had the pleasure of picking the creative minds of three world-class conservation photographers and videographers: Gary Braasch, Amy Gulick and Amy Marquis (the interviews with Ms. Gulick and Ms. Marquis are forthcoming). Gary Braasch and Amy Gulick are senior fellow photographers of…

Planning a panel that pops

Picture this: You are at a conference and sitting in a panel session and get that sinking feeling that you chose the wrong session. Your first signal is the lengthy introductions given by the moderator for each panelist, each taken verbatim from the bios in your conference packet. Then each…

Using the right images to tell visual stories about reproductive health and rights

Here at Resource Media, we’ve worked hard to tease out universal best practices for visual storytelling. Last December, the universality of some of those tips was put to the test during a presentation to international experts on reproductive health and rights. (Thanks to Pathfinder International and Marie Stopes International for…

Changing with the times

The newest member of our team of communications pros, Marce Gutierrez, has spent most of her career encouraging and empowering Latinos to become advocates for a healthier planet. She’s no stranger to the last minute call from an environmental organization, imploring her to produce a Latino voice to add some…

Using Vine and GIFs to tell visual stories fast

Time can be often be the big, bad enemy in communications. When speaking to an audience that is constantly busy and distracted, how do we effectively communicate our message in a short amount of time? Vines and GIFs are powerful mediums of communicating in a short time span. They are…

America’s 20 prettiest national parks in winter

Winter may not be your chosen season for visiting the national parks, but that policy deserves reviewing. Sure, dropping temperatures and snowy landscapes mean you'll need to prepare differently for a park visit, but the pay off is well worth the time. Winter gives a totally different perspective of park…

Worst jargon contest: And the winner is . . .

“Not in their wheel-house” Congratulations to Beth Vogel, of Committee of Seventy, a century-old nonprofit who fights to help the city of Philadelphia grow and prosper through better government. As she noted in her submission, “I dislike it because it’s annoying and sounds pretentious.” And as one of our judges…

Top 5 newsroom trends from 2013

There is so much going on in the world of news media these days.  From innovations in the business models that sustain it to attempts to harness the technologies that distribute it to evolutions in defining what “it” even is, or isn’t, there were lots of candidates for this list. …

Social media changes every nonprofit should know about

The social media world is a pretty dynamic landscape, and, as 2013 winds to a close, it’s changing as quickly as it ever has. It can be tough to keep up with the latest developments with Twitter, Facebook, and the other big players in the social media game, and it…

Welcoming new staff and board members

As the year winds down I am thrilled to announce several important additions to the Resource Media team. First, Marce Gutiérrez joins us as a Program Director in our San Francisco office. Marce Gutiérrez is the founder of Azul, a non-profit dedicated to building and empowering a Latino constituency for marine conservation.…

Father Christmas, Mother Nature and Uncle Sam are throwing a party

Aidan Long hauls a beauty off the Flathead National Forest as father Ben looks on. ‘Tis the season, and Americans nationwide are out walking in their very own winter wonderland: our public lands. And they are skiing.  And snowmobiling.  And snowboarding, sledding, ice-skating, snowshoeing, hunting, ice fishing, and finding that…

Greatest hits from 2013

Hard to believe, but we sent our first e-newsletter just over a year ago, in November 2012. We have been fine-tuning it ever since, studying email data to see what inspires you, dear readers, to click and share. We also pore over our website analytics to see what kinds of…

3 pictures that pop: Findings from a photo-testing study

So you’ve got a great message. Whether you’ve honed it through practice or polling, you know the importance of testing and learning how your audience reacts to your words, and putting that knowledge to use. But what about your pictures? When you select an image for a web page, ad…

Hats off for the 15th anniversary of Resource Media’s Seattle office!

As Resource Media’s Seattle office celebrates its 15th anniversary, I wanted to reflect on how the world we communicators work in has changed. During my first decade in politics and public media campaigns (1989-1999), the Internet and the widespread adoption of personal computers truly changed the game. Accompanying communications channels…

Top visual campaigns of 2013

Here at Resource Media we have a love affair with powerful visuals. We shamelessly “ooh” and “ah” when we see people making good use of photographs and video.  We’ve pinned some of our favorites on our Pinterest page. However, there are a few nonprofit campaigns that have really struck a…

Interview: Gary Braasch, climate change photographer

Gary Braasch is an environmental photojournalist and writer who has been documenting climate change for over 13 years. Gary was the first photojournalist who journeyed extensively, including to China, Australia, Tuvalu, Antarctica, the Arctic and the great mountains of the world, documenting the effects of climate change. This work continues…

Father Christmas, Mother Nature and Uncle Sam are throwing a party

Aidan Long hauls a beauty off the Flathead National Forest as father Ben looks on. ‘Tis the season, and Americans nationwide are out walking in their very own winter wonderland: our public lands. And they are skiing.  And snowmobiling.  And snowboarding, sledding, ice-skating, snowshoeing, hunting, ice fishing, and finding that…

Secrets of success: Youth organizing (Part 2)

In yesterday’s post, we shared some of the secrets of success for the Montana Wilderness Association’s successful NexGen Wilderness Leaders program. But what about social media??!! At some point in my conversation with Zach Porter, who directs MWA’s NexGen program, it struck me that we’d been talking about NexGen organizing…

Secrets of success: Youth organizing (Part 1)

65, white, liberal and well-educated. Writes monthly or yearly checks. Belongs to multiple progressive advocacy organizations… Ring any bells? For most environmental nonprofits in the US, that just about describes the demographics of their dues-paying members. And that has many conservation leaders worried. With no young people to take over,…

A better way to share links and images on Facebook

Savvy nonprofit social media managers know that photo posts (particularly those with text overlays) generate more engagement than text-only updates. They stand out in fans’ feeds and generate more likes and shares than posts that are less visual. To maximize the number of eyeballs on posts, some Facebook administrators have…

Holding out for a hero

I just got back from the Behavior, Energy and Climate Conference (BECC) where I participated in a panel on storytelling. Would you be surprised if I told you that 3 out of the 4 panelists, myself included, made reference to superheroes when characterizing energy efficiency? The panel inspired a rousing…

8 keys to successful web video interviews and presentations

It wasn’t long ago that broadcasting was the domain of big networks, politicians, and corporations only. But video over the internet has brought it into the hands of anyone with a high speed connection and a webcam -- two things that are seemingly ubiquitous these days. Furthermore, television news (both…

5 keys to hosting a successful Twitter party

This month, the little-known concept of marine protected areas (MPAs) and a new hashtag #MPAsWork attracted 1000 tweets in one hour, causing the discussion to trend on Twitter. This was thanks to a Twitter party hosted by Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay and Samantha Murray of Ocean Conservancy (via…

And…we’re live! (via Google+ Hangout On Air)!

Conference calls and webinars have become a normal part of both the for-profit and nonprofit world. Despite the ability to share screens and slide decks, there’s really no replacement to seeing the face of the person presenting. While video conferencing was once difficult and expensive, the technology has improved by…

Workplace jargon driving you nuts? Enter our ‘Wonky Word’ contest!

What tortured vocabulary drives you nuts in your job? In each issue of our email newsletter, we share the wonky, jargon-y words and phrases swirling around policy and advocacy conversations that make us pull our hair out, but now we want to hear from you. We are compiling a top…

Leveraging art and artists for social change

In October I traveled to Austin, Texas for SXSWEco expecting to learn about plenty of green and clean technology, policies and activist campaigns to advance sustainability in the face of climate change.  The most important idea I came away with was quite unexpected: Art and artists have an important role…

Is it catching? Campaign lessons from Salsa and Web of Change

With all the data available these days about what’s getting liked and shared online, researchers have been working overtime to crack the code for virality. A recent post in the Harvard Business Review emphasized the importance of feelings like curiosity and amazement, and a Wharton study from 2012 found that…

Making population part of the environmental beat

In many parts of the world, rapid population growth is now combining with the devastating impacts of climate change to place major strains on resources and infrastructure. This combination is widely reported in the local media in these regions, as is one potential solution: providing universal access to family planning…

Protecting the crown jewels of the ocean

The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) recently announced that about three percent of the world’s oceans—an area slightly larger than the continent of Europe—now lies within marine protected areas.  This is up from 1.2% in 2010, but still well below the target of 10% by 2020. Despite…

How nonprofits can use Vine’s new features

Last week, Vine rolled out some useful updates to its mobile video service. While the basics didn’t really change (it’s still six seconds, shot with your smartphone and shared via Twitter), you can now edit your Vines, and save drafts for later completion. For anyone who has worked through multiple…

Reframing perceptions of people and places through video

American stereotypes of Africa and Africans run the gamut, but over the last century, it is safe to say that more people have viewed it as the land of famine, warlords, tragedy and disaster, than the land of opportunity. Ever since the wildly viral Kony 2012 video played right into…

Putting the Dead Zone’s evil twin on the map

How do you win national media coverage on an unreported issue?  It’s a challenge faced by many nonprofits and watchdog groups. And it’s one Resource Media faced when we knew we wanted to tell the story about the spread of cyanobacteria – aka toxic algae - across US lakes and…

After the last shot: Editing tools that maximize impact

There are countless apps and programs today to spiff up your photos and get those eyeballs lingering longer over your pictures, pondering the scene. Movie producers use special effects to wow the crowd, so why shouldn’t you, too? But, we’re not just talking about applying fancy, fun filters like Instagram.…

How to get the most from the new Facebook Insights

With somewhere in the neighborhood of 1 billion worldwide users, Facebook is a great way for nonprofits to connect with people they know (and people they don’t know, yet) and spread the word about their good work. And thanks to Facebook’s new and improved Insights, it’s easier than ever to…

The luxury of time

In a conversation with fellow conference attendee Kathleen Hennessy in the cab on the way to the airport on Friday, we had a good laugh over the similarities between her job as a professional photographer and my temporary gig as a blogger for the Communications Network conference. Quite simply, it…

Storytelling with a purpose

Logging into the Dallas airport WiFi on the way home from New Orleans, I was forced to watch a 16 second cereal commercial that ended with an invitation to share my story on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter. The commercial’s message was, “Some things, like how the baby got into your…

Elevate design to the highest priority in your communications

We’ve been touting the benefits of high quality visuals for months now, and I hope we’ve convinced you to give your images a second thought. But the value of your high quality images also depends on the overall design of your website or outreach publication. Your beautiful photos and videos…

Color me effective

There is a well-established process by which brand marketers match colors to the personalities of companies and organizations, and for good reason. We have a gut reaction to color. All major brands have logo colors that are part of the brand image and feeling they want to convey. Red for…

Measuring up to achieve Zero Net Energy

You’ve heard it on this blog many times before: Successful advocacy organizations tend to have a healthy culture around measurement and evaluation. By setting clear goals and paying attention to what works and doesn’t work, successful groups constantly refine their strategies to achieve the maximum impact. At the recent Getting…

Good for women, and good for gorillas

“It dawned on me, in that moment, that what was good for this woman and her family, on a deeply personal level, was also good for the forest and good for gorillas.” Journalist Ken Weiss told this story to set the stage for a unique webinar for environmentalists this week.…

A garden that works – for homeowners and clean water

The traditional water pollution prevention story goes something like this: industrial operator, either nefariously or ignorantly, dumps nasty stuff into the water. Someone cries foul – often an intrepid group of scrappy environmentalists – and regulators step in. The polluter gets a big fine, agrees to change their ways and…

Endangered Species Act: Soaring high at 40

In 1973, America took a stand against extinction when Congress passed the Endangered Species Act to protect our nation’s most vulnerable wildlife. The law was unprecedented and an example of global leadership. President Richard Nixon signed the Endangered Species Act on December 28, 1973, proclaiming that endangered and threatened species…

Multimedia: Eye candy with nutritional value

Visual storytelling can be even more powerful in a multimedia format. Dual coding theory states that information is more easily recalled when the brain’s verbal and visual channels are simultaneously activated. First, a definition of what is multimedia is, in order: a cinematic slideshow (think video mixed with still photos,…

Interactive graphics help data tell a story

If you are the nation’s premiere energy efficiency research organization and you want to make your highly technical findings interesting to the public and energy professionals, what do you do? In preparing for the release of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy’s latest report – the 2013 City Energy…

Senator Frank R. Lautenberg: Honoring a Champion of Sustainability

Guest blog by Kathleen Mogelgaard Earlier this month, a diverse group of advocates and admirers gathered at Rutgers University to honor the late Senator Frank Lautenberg for his leadership on global reproductive health. In this era of ginned up controversy over basic access to women’s healthcare, it was great to…

Bringing back the picture book

If information is presented orally, people remember about 10 percent, when tested 72 hours later. That figure jumps to 65% if pictures are added.[1] Unsurprising news when you think from an evolutionary standpoint of how recently text has been a part of our processing of information. Findings from two University…

Piercing the veil

Some corporations and industries are so unpopular they go to great lengths to mask their involvement in policy debates. Rather than wage quixotic efforts in their own names, they form and fund more likable front groups to do their bidding for them. The ninjas of this tactic in the modern…

How nonprofits can work with professional photographers

One of my favorite bits of summer reading had few words and lots of pictures. I wasn’t being lazy…I spent far longer pondering the images from Nina Berman’s outstanding photo essay on rural Pennsylvanians forced to live with the consequences of fracking than I do reading a dense Atlantic Monthly…

Buzzworthy summer campaigns

While I’ve tried to minimize screen time this summer in favor of soaking up sunshine, I have been keeping an eye on the Twittersphere, where advocacy groups are making major waves with smart and shareworthy campaigns. Any organizer worth their salt will tell you that online organizing is no substitute…

iPhoneography: Beyond basics

Yesterday, we covered the fundamentals of taking quality photos with your iPhone camera. Ready to go beyond point and click? Here are two nifty tricks to shoot like a pro: Use the camera trigger. Most apps feature an onscreen button, but with the iPhone you can also use the volume-up button…

iPhoneography: making the most of your phone’s camera

“The best camera is the one you have with you.” - Chase Jarvis Today nearly all of us are walking around with a perfectly good camera in our pocket -- the one on our smartphone. For this article, I will focus on the iPhone, but the advice on technique and…

Going with your gut: Emotions change taste

One of the more famous stories on the power of branding is of Coca-Cola and its long-time domination over Pepsi in the cola wars. Why is Coke more popular than Pepsi when the majority of people think Pepsi tastes better in blind taste tests? Several years ago Duke University conducted…

Picturing the summer’s news on coal

With Labor Day weekend nearly here, we decided to look back at some of the headlines that have come across our desks this summer in our work on coal communications. Financial and market news doesn’t make for the most entertaining holiday weekend read, so instead we've put together a few…

3 video tips from the Visual Story Lab

Steve Stockman, a Hollywood writer/producer/director and author of How to Shoot Video That Doesn’t Suck, advises that nonprofits avoid a cause- or organization-centered approach to video. Instead, they should do audience-centered video. Why? Because you don’t get to decide whether your audience watches your whole video – the audience does.…

Instagram tips for nonprofits

Instagram was launched in October 2010, but it really came of age in fall of 2012. This mobile app allows users to take pictures, apply photo filters, tag friends, map their current location, and use hashtags to connect to collective photo galleries. Like other social networks, it is often used…

Using photos to generate media coverage

Want to win the race to front-page glory? Pitch media using photos. Photos are a great way to garner media attention and public support. Bernard Gwertzman, former foreign editor of the New York Times once said, “A story is more likely to get on the front page if it’s a…

Lining up the shot: Using the “Rule of Thirds”

The second part of this guide is dedicated to being off kilter. For everyone who leads a well-balanced life, I’m here to show you the positives of being askew as defined by “The Rule of Thirds.” The rule of thirds says that a photo should be broken up into two…

Lining up the shot: A guide to using lines for visual appeal

The increased accessibility of the camera, revolutionized by smart phone users, and blown up by visual media sharing platforms such as Instagram, Vine, and Pinterest means the public is constantly exposed to thousands of pictures. I have news for you: that photo of your morning latte with the artsy heart…

Six second stories: How nonprofits can use Vine and Instagram video

At Resource Media, we’ve seen firsthand the power of pictures to change hearts and minds. Our experiences in the field inspired us to explore the brain science behind visual communications, and we published research highlights and top tips in our Visual Storytelling Guide. But, while still photos can speak volumes,…

Need more photos? Crowd-source them!

Have you ever been in a situation where you needed a picture that captured some of the field work you have been doing in the last year and you are searching your photo archives and still coming up with nothing? Your members and other supporters will be happy to come…

Face first: How smiles can tell your stories

In the book A Whole New Mind, Daniel Pink writes, “And the main canvas for displaying those emotions is the face. With forty-three tiny muscles that tug and stretch and lift our mouth, eyes, cheeks, eyebrows, and forehead, our faces can convey the full range of human feeling. Since empathy…

Who’s your spokes-daddy?

Choose your spokespeople carefully. Very carefully. You know that famous quote from Warren Buffett:  “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that you will do things differently.” There are countless ways to think about how that advice applies to…

People power is picture power

Our brains are visually and story-driven. Nonprofits can take advantage of this: champion your cause with visuals that showcase your story’s cast of characters. The hard research: Babies as young as four months old demonstrate a preference for photos of people over animals or other things. There’s no better way…

On the risk and courage of social justice work in Mexico

“Un abogado y activista por los derechos humanos de las comunidades indÍgenas en Oaxaca ha sido desaparecido. Fue sacado de su oficina.” A human rights attorney and activist on behalf of indigenous communities in Oaxaca has been ‘disappeared.’ He was taken from his office. The news came during a workshop…

Visuals: Your brain’s Post-it notes

I’m waiting for more copy cats to come out of the woodwork after seeing two different organizations perform some “think twice” magic recently with their efforts to get clicktivists to do more than just click. First, I saw UNICEF Sweden launch a “Likes Don’t Save Lives” campaign. You try reading…

Use visual “benchmarks” when trying to communicate change

As nonprofits and as cause campaigners, we are constantly trying to bring about change to better the lives in our communities. Change, or the threat of change, is often uncomfortable, even scary, for people. Change can also be challenging to communicate. Visual benchmarks can be used to shock, or they…

Show me the money: image strategy for fundraising

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But a well-chosen photo might also be worth a thousand dollars. Yes indeed — the right photo can make or break a fundraising appeal or action alert. But too often we spend hours crafting our written messages and only seconds choosing…

High on humanness—connecting through visual storytelling

What does it mean to be human and alive? What a fantastic, important question to ponder, explore and reveal through visual storytelling. I argue that there’s no better way to connect people—and to move them to action—than through the power of photography, a force that has extraordinary potential and has…

From being heard to being felt: reflections from a photoactivist

“It is one thing to photograph people. It is another to make others care about them by revealing the core of their humanness.” - Paul Strand We are at the crossroads of a digital revolution and changing media landscape with unprecedented opportunities for catalytic photoactivism! Images allow us to connect…

Prime time pitching tips

Turn on your television. Those are the words we hear, say, or text when something BIG happens.  I’m talking about 9/11 big, or Tsunami big.  TV is still where people turn first to witness events that change the world. As a former television producer, I have a bias both for…

Solutions: The foundation of empowerment

I spent 23 years as a TV reporter, toiling under a self-evident operating principle “If it bleeds, it leads.”  My environmental stories were rarely grisly enough to creep into the top story slot; but they still contained plenty of bad news. Like all journalists I fielded plenty of complaints about…

Conflict + solution = story

I worked for a decade as a journalist before jumping ship into the world of PR and media strategy. Ironically, considering it’s a big part of what I do now, the one thing I really loathed about the job was the calls I would get from PR professionals trying to…

Solutions that sizzle

As a young reporter decades ago, I had a grouchy editor who fit the Lou Grant stereotype. He would look at my copy and growl, “Move the conflict up higher. More people will pay to see a dog fight than a dog show.” He had a point. Conflict is the…

Smile, You’re On Camera!

In my blog post last week I shared with you some great new tips I picked up on public speaking in one of the more stellar sessions at the Netroots Nation conference in San Jose. This week I want to pass on some good pointers from a media interview coach…

Saying “thank you” with pizazz

Wondering how to say “thank you” in a way that keeps supporters coming back? Taking a moment to sincerely connect with your supporters lets them know that they’re supporting real people who honestly care about their work and their donors’ support of it. The key to an effective thank you…

Build a Better Condom

Bill Gates is putting his money where his, um, privates are, with a contest and $100,000 prize to the lucky gal (or guy) who builds a truly better (meaning non-numbing) condom. Contests are all the rage these days – in government and non-profits alike. From super-cheap, high-quality client-driven logo design…

It’s Not (Just) About the Numbers

The planet is growing more crowded every day. In 2011, according to United Nations projections, we surpassed seven billion people. Projections at the time forecast passing another astounding milestone – nine billion – by mid-century. Less than two years later, revised estimates put the world at closer to 9.6 billion…

Back from Netroots Nation with a new secret hand gesture!

One of the training sessions I attended last Friday was called Five Secrets: The Proven Neuroscience Behind Persuading Voters, led by Stephanie Dreyer and Brandon Fureigh. I’ve never thought much about my hand gesturing when I am speaking to groups, as long as I don’t have arms flying in all…

Calling All Millennials: Obama’s Climate Speech

Amid all the hoopla about the POTUS speech on climate today, one thing stood out: this guy is talking to the young ‘uns. From his dog-whistle mention of fossil fuel divestment to his (surprise) announcement that emissions will be taken into account in the Keystone XL decision, Obama was talking…

Renewable Energy and Conservation

At Resource Media, we’ve always been particularly interested in “unlikely bedfellows.” We often find ourselves facilitating conversations with groups who have a hard time seeing their common values.  Call it a feel-good win, but we love the moments where diverse stakeholders such as sportsmen, conservation groups, county commissioners and local…

How to package solutions stories for online media

The Internet is a vast, weird space filled with fast-changing “rules,” a generally poor signal-to-noise ratio, and a very uneven distribution of power. And cat videos. Tons of cat videos. Getting attention in this environment requires both a good story and smart packaging. Before joining up with Resource Media, I…

Money talks. Just be careful who’s listening

We’ve posted before about the idea of calculating the value of healthy natural systems and factoring that value into land management decisions. Great idea right? Yes, but the key is to understand your audience. It’s definitely useful if you are attempting to influence short term decisions by budget-conscious decision makers,…

On demand webinar: Visualizing climate change

On May 29, Resource Media’s Liz Banse led a Climate Access webinar on “Climate Change in the Visual Story Lab.” She shared research about how the brain processes images, and how climate communicators can harness the power of visual storytelling.  The training included case studies highlighting effective (and ineffective!) photos…

Using visual communications to Power Past Coal

One of the perks of working for Resource Media is getting to work with a bunch of different partners on diverse projects. Often, different projects match up in interesting ways, and sometimes, two come together to create something really powerful. That happened recently with our work on the Power Past…

Want to be as successful as REI?

When Sally Jewell was nominated as the next Interior Secretary, people who knew her during her tenure as REI’s chief executive hailed her leadership at the national outdoor retailer. As a fellow Seattleite, I can vouch for that. I heard nothing but good things about her smarts and competence. But,…

Words matter: burning trees and biomass

How do you feel about generating electricity from biomass? A good idea? Not so much? Not sure? It sounds vaguely green, doesn’t it? How about chopping down whole trees in America’s southeastern forests and shipping them to Europe to be burned for electricity? How does that grab you? Chances are…

Climate change in the Visual Story Lab

Recently I read an interview of Eli Pariser, CEO of Upworthy, in the Washington Post, where he reflected on the stunning success of Upworthy in its first year of operation as a website for viral content. Pariser said, “In general, I would say we focus on the things that are…

Online organizing advice in 140 characters or less

Resource Media is delighted to be supporting Green Meme’s forthcoming Most Amazing Online Organizing Guide Ever. Some of our staff have deep roots in the organizing world, and all of our partners are working daily to increase the engagement of online supporters. Inspired by this project, we devoted a recent…

Trendspotter says 1B pics to be uploaded per day in 2014!

Two weeks ago, Silicon Valley trendspotter Mary Meeker released her 2013 Internet Trends report. The headline? In 2014, she expects that 1 billion photos will be uploaded and shared on the Internet each day. That is a staggering figure, largely driven by the rapid growth of Snapchat and Instagram, with…

Take it from the Cicadas: When it Comes to Sex and Sustainability, 17 Years is Long Enough to Wait

Guest blog by Kathleen Mogelgaard Last week, while many of my colleagues were discussing emerging reproductive health and rights issues at the fascinating Women Deliver 2013 conference in Kuala Lampur, I was in rural Virginia witnessing a totally different kind of emergence and reproduction: Cicadapocalypse 2013. As anyone who lives…

Using Vine to get your audience’s attention

Interested in reaching Millennials? I’m a Millennial and I will be so bold as to speak for my peers:  we are video-driven. If you want to reach and engage us, videos need to be part of your toolbox. Getting those ever-elusive Millennials like me to sit still and watch your…

What nonprofits should know about the new Flickr

Last week, Flickr unveiled an overhaul that gives individual and organizational users more storage, more statistics, and a user-friendly interface that puts pictures front and center. Flickr’s new features create exciting (and free!) possibilities for connecting with supporters. One of the biggest benefits of the new Flickr is that users…

Stories that connect: the hero’s journey

What makes a good story? Narrative structure and content. Think of the stories that have unique staying power across all cultures – mythology and folklore. There is a universality about the lessons learned by the heroes of these stories. Their dreams are our dreams. Their feelings, their challenges are shared…

Miracle Gro Gone Wild

Last week, National Geographic took on the explosive impact that the widespread use of chemical nitrogen fertilizer to boost crop production has on human health and the environment. Scientists have been leading a clarion call about the impacts of excess nitrogen for decades, but the issue remains little known, even though the impacts touch…

Storytelling science: why you need a good hero

A couple of years ago, political scientist Michael Jones published the results of a study in the Policy Studies Journal, on the most effective ways to educate and persuade the public about the threats of climate change. His research clearly demonstrated that when climate information is conveyed in narrative story…

“Go outside!” and other lessons from Mom

In New Zealand, one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts is “Tūrangawaewae”.  It is a foundation, a place in the world and the idea that the land where you come from- the mountains and rivers and your own back yard- is inseparable from the person you are today. …

Beyond PR–Raising Our Voice

What do The Most Amazing Online Organizing Guide Ever, The Range blog at High Country News and a tweet from the UN WOMEN agency have in common? Besides residing in former Alaska Senator Ted Stevens’ “series of tubes,” the answer is the Resource Media connection. We provide a wide range…

A Thousand Welcomes

When we launched the Visual Story Lab website less than a month ago, all we knew was that we were addressing a need we had seen in our work promoting social change over the last fifteen years. Resource Media is a strategic communications firm, so it is our job to…

Picture Power

Amid Earth Day events earlier this month, a gathering out in the desert in southeastern Nevada jumped off newsprint and screen with a captivating image. So compelling, in fact, that the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran it large enough to fill the entire above-the-fold space in the paper. It was huge.…

Money talks…right?

Why talk about intrinsic worth when you can put a price tag on it? The idea of calculating the value of healthy natural systems and factoring that value into land management decisions is taking hold across the world. The idea is that with a better sense of how much these…

Fast and Furious Philanthropy

If you have a tendency to click on news items that might make you cry, you likely saw that hundreds of sea lions have been washing up- starving- on the shores of Southern California.  I possess that tendency as well as some well-worn tear ducts.  Within two minutes of reading…

NTC13: Packing Crayons for a Technology Conference

At 2:29pm on Saturday afternoon, I stood at the podium and looked across the room. All the seats at the tables were filled; people were packed into the corners at the back, and standing in the doorway. Folks actually stayed through to the last possible session slot at the 2013…

Don’t skin cats or throw babies

When idioms battle messages In a meeting recently, a colleague was making a point and started with “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” I cringed. Then I thought about it for the next several minutes, visualized a baby being thrown out the window and cringed a bit more.…

Putting a human face on it

The California-based Community Water Center has spent years trying to shine a spotlight on agriculture runoff and groundwater contamination that has made water undrinkable in the state’s most productive agricultural regions. Yet in a nation where most people believe agriculture is good for the environment, raising awareness of the nuances…

Creating a Sustainable Future: Women at the Center

What does family planning have to do with Earth Day? More than you might think. Family planning gives women and families the tools they need to decide whether and when to have children – and that, quite literally, can mean the world. Here are a few of the ways in…

Climate change costing taxpayers plenty

Done your tax returns yet? Here’s something to think about as you finish your 1040. Flood insurance. Fire suppression. Crop insurance. Hurricanes.  Turns out American taxpayers are already footing huge bills for climate change impacts. Here are just a few of the costs we’ll be paying in federal and state…

Environmental Health & the Social Movement That’s Protecting It

Guest Blog by Kate Davies When I do talks on environmental health, I often start by asking the audience if I can do a quick survey with them. They always agree. I begin by saying, “How many of you know someone living with cancer?” Usually, about half the people in…

A reporter’s best friend

We all recognize that media is changing and many of us are continually watching for trends and indicators for how best to work with this shapeshifter. The more things change, however, the more things stay the same. Twitter, Facebook, Vocus, Sysomos, RowFeeder, Google news and other searchable online tools seem…

Pinterest Strategy: It’s More Than Just Posting Pretty Pictures

So, you’re hooked on Pinterest and you want to get in on the action on behalf of your own organization or cause. You’ve created an account and you’re ready to create your first board. You ask yourself, should I start with a board for this project or that project? Or,…

Seeing is Believing

For all that has been written and screened about Abraham Lincoln, most of us know him from a series of pictures by Matthew Brady, one of photography’s early giants. They are all remarkably similar – a face, prematurely lined, a jaw, grimly set and eyes that convey both steely determination…

What do you find Pinteresting?

Have you ever opened up a travel magazine and just flipped through it gorging on all the beautiful pictures of places you now really must see for yourself? Have you ever opened a cooking magazine because the cover picture looked so delicious? In either case, the pictures may have guided…

Marriage equality’s visual vocabulary

Rapid, rampant & red.  It's been great watching my Facebook feed over the last few days.  First the Human Rights Campaign logo began showing up as profile pix, everywhere, by all sorts of friends from many walks of life.  But the fun really kicked in when people started mashing up…

Building resilience: So much more than seawalls

Guest blog by Kathleen Mogelgaard Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about resilience. And I know I’m not the only one. In some ways, resilience is the new “it” concept, resonating throughout the climate change community, the disaster risk reduction community, and the mental health field. The US Agency for…

Shooting the bird in the hand

Is it possible to love cats and birds at the same time? Of course it is; I do it every day. But apparently, that’s not true for everyone. I have a cat named Brutus. I adore this cat. When Brutus catches a mouse in the kitchen, I applaud him as…

Turn Track Changes On

As a (mostly) native Bay Stater, and a fan of good music and political journalism, I was sad to hear of last week’s shut down of the Boston Phoenix.  The Phoenix covered Boston politics, culture and music with its own brand of gritty, independent reporting since 1966.  The publishers declared…

Turning online comments in your favor

Modern debate is lightning fast.  Most news outlets have opportunities for readers to post comments at the end of online articles and blog posts immediately after the piece is published. No more waiting for the Post Office and editor’s desk to process your letter to the editor. The price of…

The power of the storyteller

The opening plenary of the Funders' Network 2013 Annual Conference in Memphis was a stirring testament to the power of story and a reminder of how much of that power resides in the storyteller. Stories, after all, are a primal form of human communications. Brain studies have documented the empathy that…

Email best practices and A/B testing

According to a 2012 benchmark study, only 14% of recipients open the average nonprofit email, and just over 2% click on a link. That means up to 85% of your members and supporters aren’t even seeing your carefully crafted messages, and 98% of your fundraising and action appeals are going…

California’s experiment to boost fisheries shows early signs of success

In the last ten years, the state of California launched a big experiment by creating marine protected areas up and down the coast that give ocean creatures a chance to feed, breed and thrive.  Like national parks on land, these so-called “underwater parks” are meant to give marine life a…

Celebrating women and sustainability

Today, March 8, is International Women’s Day, a day to celebrate the achievements of women around the globe. It’s also a moment to think about the issues that concern women the most: equal access to education and jobs, health and safety, reproductive rights. Oh, and the environment. Wait, what? As…

Five steps to shareworthy infographics

This graphic from Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine isn't much to look at. But it made the New York Times in 2010, and continues making rounds in the blogosophere today. Why? Because it puts a (still timely) agricultural policy topic in context with people's plates and pocketbooks. We've written recently…

Three lumps of coal

Anyone who works in media or media relations knows that Friday afternoons are an information graveyard perfect for burying bad news. Last Friday, the gravediggers were particularly busy. First came the news that the State Department had concluded that building the Keystone Pipeline to export oil from Alberta’s tar sands,…

A visual revelation for Power Past Coal

It was the spring of 2011. Resource Media was working with the Power Past Coal campaign to block the global export of Powder River Basin coal from ports in the Pacific Northwest. The Power Past Coal campaign knew why they wanted to block coal exports, but weren’t sure the same…

Managing opposition activity online

The smart folks at New Organizing Institute know a thing or two about community management, and we thought their recent post on responding to opposition or criticism on Twitter was too good not to share: Haters gonna hate (don't feed the trolls) Whether you're online or not, there are people…

We’re number one! (um, energy wasters)

In a country that prides itself at being the best at everything, our most recent achievement is nothing to boast about. The United States tops every other industrialized nation in the world when it comes to wasting energy. According to the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, what the U.S.…

Gamifying climate change

Our friends over at Al Gore's Climate Reality Project just launched a new online game to fight the climate deniers, called Reality Drop. Here's a post from President and CEO Maggie Fox introducing their new toy, er, tool.       Reality Drop: A New Way to Fight Climate Denial…

Farm Bill: the perils of political gridlock

Want to win in Washington? As sustainable agriculture advocates learned in 2012, even issues that hit American's plates and pocketbooks are difficult to move through the partisan gridlock in the nation’s capital. Resource Media has been working with a coalition of sustainable farming, environmental, wildlife and sportsmen groups to defend…

What gets measured gets better

I was part of a peer learning group Beth Kanter convened when she was writing Measuring the Networked Nonprofit. I was excited and terrified, and, ultimately, didn’t even complete my pilot project. Work intervened. Flash forward 18 months, and I’ve become a measurement evangelist. It’s still scary to set quantifiable…

Clean energy’s image problem

One thing that has been a constant companion during a combined business and pleasure trip to Hawaii has been wind…a luscious, thick, wet lick of a wind. In some places, this abundant resource is being put to work. On the pleasure part of my trip, my son and I took…

#Fracktail Friday fun

It was a cute bit of theatrics when Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper told a group of water managers last March that he, in fact, had swigged fracking fluid with the CEO of Halliburton. For those who don’t know, fracking is a drilling technique in which water, sand and chemical additives…

Arctic natives could lose their say in oil and gas development

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell and energy companies are pushing to take away Alaskans’ voice in how oil and gas drilling, mining, road building and other development is balanced with protection for clean water, fish and wildlife. Several bills now being debated in the Alaska Legislature would strip public input and…

Infographics that tell a story

With 24/7 internet access on smartphones and tablets, folks these days are drowning in information. As screens and attention spans shrink, so too must our content. In the past couple years, blog posts have given way to Facebook updates, Tumblrs, and tweets. And the meteoric rise of Instagram and Pinterest…

The secret to activating your supporters

Do you know what makes your audience tick? Do you know what makes them care enough to promote your organization on their own? I keep coming back to a fascinating webinar I attended last year on a paper published by Jonah Berger and Katherine Milkman of the Wharton School of…

State of the Union, Lincoln, and communicating clean energy

Watching President Obama’s State of the Union Address last night on the anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birth, Steven Spielberg’s recent movie was fresh in my mind (I finally got to the theater to see Lincoln this past weekend). With the speech on TV, smart phone handy, and laptop open to…

Sally Jewell’s adventure of a lifetime

Resource Media's Ben Long blogged about Obama's nomination of Sally Jewell for Interior Secretary in High Country News this week: President Obama’s nominee for heading the Department of Interior, Sally Jewell, is noteworthy not for who she is, but for who she is not. She is a mountaineer, an ultra-marathon…

Close to home: Communicating climate impacts

"Close to Home: Communicating Climate Impacts” is a 20-minute video webcast produced by Climate Access and Climate Nexus.  It features an interview with Dr. Ed Maibach, director of George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication, and co-chair of the Engagement & Communication Working Group of the NCA Development and Advisory Committee.…

Testing your website’s look and feel

Did you know that people form an opinion of your website in a mere fraction of a second? That’s right, a mere fraction of second. Do the math and realize that this impression is formed without reading even one line of your carefully-written web copy. It’s the design, the look…

Upworthy: What it takes to make good content go viral

Upworthy is social media with a mission. The smart folks there scour the world wide web for content that is both meaningful and awesome, and use their email list and social platforms to spread them far and wide. How do they do it? CTO Tim Jones dishes on their process…

Strange bedfellows: the intersection of environment and public health

Family planning and conservation – mutually exclusive topics, or entirely inseparable? Resource Media has spent the last several years looking at the connections between environmental and public health, and, specifically, at the benefits of addressing unmet family planning needs to curb climate change. Climate, like population, is one of those…

Beyond facts: from climate awareness to climate action

One cardinal sin of communications strategy is to assume that two different people given the same set of facts will reach the same conclusion. The environmental community has been as guilty of this sin as any social change sector…beating people senseless with facts and recoiling in frustration when their targets…

Protecting the heart of the Arctic

Over the last year, Resource Media has had the privilege to work with leaders of the Gwich’in people of northeastern Alaska and Canada’s Yukon. Together, we recently completed a new website, OurArcticRefuge.org. With powerful words, and stunning images, the new website captures the high stakes for the Gwich’in people in…

Communicating climate change: research and recommendations

Our super-smart friends at Climate Nexus just put together a climate change polling synthesis that features good news, more good news, and some very good advice. Here’s the headline: Americans are really starting to get it, even Republicans. That’s what Hurricane Sandy, epic wildfires, insane drought and the hottest summer…

New York Times abandons the environment? Not so fast…

Today, the world’s most influential newspaper announced it was reshuffling its newsroom in regards to how it will cover “the environment.” Specifically, the New York Times announced it will dismantle its “environment” pod of reporters and reassign them to different beats.  Clearly, this is not great news for people concerned…

Conveying dignity through photos

In 2011 international nonprofit Action Against Hunger got written up in The New York Times after unveiling its new magazine-based PSA campaign where it made a big shift away from showing starving children to other images that would surprise people with a bit of cognitive dissonance, making them think about…

Smarter nonprofit communications: measuring what works

From Instagram to Scoop.it. Tumblr to Twitter, nonprofits have more ways than ever before to reach prospective supporters and activists. You can make an infographic and blast it out via email and Facebook, create an online petition, or post a video on YouTube. The number of choices can be dizzying,…

Branding: it pays to stand out from the crowd

With tight budgets and many demands on their time, nonprofits leaders often view branding projects with skepticism. Why spend hard-earned dollars navel-gazing when you can invest it in program work instead? It’s a good question, and the intangible benefits of branding can be hard to quantify. But a powerful brand…

Tumblr for Nonprofits: binders full of ideas

The presidential election is so last year, but somehow the Binders Full Of Women page is still the first thing that comes to mind when we hear someone mention platform Tumblr. If you haven’t yet stumbled on Tumblr, you’re in for some fun. Pick a random topic you love and…

Is a blog among your New Year’s resolutions?

With blogs and websites we all own a printing press today. While the Internet has revolutionized publishing, social networking has revolutionized the distribution of people’s writings and video production. Anyone anywhere in the world can see your work within moments of you publishing it on the web. However, it is…

Facebook for nonprofits: Maximizing ROI

The vast majority of our partners are on Facebook. Some have amassed impressive fan bases that number in the tens of thousands. They dutifully post day in and day out, spending several hours per month to keep online supporters informed, delighted, and, hopefully, engaged. Or are they engaged? What is…

Mountains of Misfit Electronics

It’s that time of year again: the holiday season. A time of giving and receiving gifts, many of which will be new electronics. Out with that “old” phone, game console, TV or laptop, and in with the new! Right? Of course there is an underbelly to our collective delight in…

Mapping the mystery–Santa Claus and climate change

The NORAD Santa Tracker (North American Aerospace Defense Command), a holiday tradition since 1955, is a hit at my house.  With two young boys, the combination of Santa Claus, computers and maps is hard to beat.  And when we read how NORAD tracks Santa this year, the 7 year old…

Seven cool things in 2012

As communications consultants working with nonprofits, foundations, mission-minded businesses and community groups on behalf of the environment and public health, we come across a lot of really good ideas and cool tactics. What follows are seven especially cool things that came across our collective desks in 2012. Some we were…

Coal export hearings draw record crowds

More than 2300 people packed last night’s coal export hearing at the Washington State Convention Center in downtown Seattle; about 95 percent of them came to say no to the proposed coal port near Bellingham. Lots more photos here. Officials from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, state Department of…

We Three Kings

Yes, it’s one of my favorite Christmas carols, and here’s some good interpretations if that’s what you clicked through for: Miles Davis, Blondie, Patti Smith, The Amped, Paul Horn, Neil Diamond, and last but not least, Spinal Tap. But alas, this post isn’t about Christmas.  It’s about different things that…

King Tides: visualizing sea level rise

If you live along the west coast, you may have noticed flooded streets and sidewalks, submerged piers, and disappearing beaches this morning. Today marks the year’s highest tides. Known as “King Tides,” these seasonal high tides can cause the ocean to swell a foot above normal high water levels, providing…

Data is easy, good storytelling is the challenge

These days, it’s easier than ever to tell important health, environmental and energy stories with data. Want to determine how many coal plants in Illinois are violating Clean Air Act standards? This EPA database can help you figure it out (26 of 29 have exceeded limits in the last three…

Making the case for conservation in Congress

Carpe Diem West recently convened leaders from government agencies, utilities and NGO’s for the latest installment of discussions about how to restore and protect watersheds that are so critical to the West’s water supply. As usual, the ideas shared were innovative and inspirational. Just as instructional, however, was the cold…

A win for wilderness at Pt. Reyes

Four years ago, Resource Media conducted a strategic communications training in a big red barn next to the visitor’s center at Point Reyes National Seashore. We discussed a number of challenges threatening the Seashore’s spectacular natural assets, one of which was a brewing controversy over an oyster operation at Drakes…

On Camels and Creative Commons

Part two of our series on copyright law and images: We are glad that you have decided to abide by the holy law of copyright, but you still need to keep your boss happy and find that photo of a tourist riding a camel in Egypt in the next ten…

Pretty, practical pollution prevention

Here in the Pacific Northwest, you can add rain to death and taxes on the list of life’s certainties. In the Seattle-area we set rainfall records earlier this month, sparking floods and mudslides. And as the region has been paved over, our wastewater and stormwater systems have to absorb more…

Understanding California’s cap and trade auction results

When assessing the nation’s first cap-and-trade carbon auction—whereby major polluters bid on permits to continue polluting—it’s no small task to interpret the results. Such was the challenge faced by observers of California’s cap-and-trade auction (held November 14th) after results were announced by the California Air Resources Board yesterday. The numbers—without…

Copyright law and photos: finders ≠ keepers

What you need to know about copyright law and photos:  Finders are not keepers when it comes to photos on the internet. High quality, free photos from the internet are awesome. But, if you are stealing them, you are not so awesome. Here’s what you need to know to avoid…

Social media: Well begun is half done

I came to social media somewhat reluctantly. As the youngest communications staffer at The Trust for Public Land nearly a decade ago, I was nominated to take over the Facebook page that a board member had created to nudge the organization into the 21st century. It took me a while…

Making energy efficiency a political winner—again!

Once a political poster child for economic recovery, energy efficiency took a back seat in the lead-up to the 2012 presidential election. President Obama and Mitt Romney barely mentioned the potential of energy efficiency to address the nation’s energy needs while campaigning, even though both have strong track records supporting…

Big data, social media and 2012’s winning coalition.

All over the web today, bloggers are dubbing election 2012 “revenge of the nerds.” Not just because Nate Silver of the New York Times’ FiveThirtyEight blog got the results right. But because the winners went deep with data to reach and move the voters that mattered. Time Magazine ran a…

Winning the sportsmen vote: How Tester took Montana

Outside special interests dumped some $30 million dollars on the Montana race for the US Senate between Democratic incumbent Jon Tester and Republican challenger Denny Rehberg, but the race came down to something that costs $19: A Montana resident hunting and fishing license. Sportsmen issues of access, wolves and gun…

Citizen journalism, Instagram, and #Sandy

On January 15, 2009, US Airways Flight 1549 made an emergency landing on the Hudson River. Janis Krums from Sarasota, Florida broke the story, using his iPhone to post the first photo of the floating plane on Twitter. Half an hour later, MSNBC interviewed him on live television. Twitpic had…

Building Strategic Alliances

“Hang together or hang separately,” was the motto of American patriots trying to forge a nation out of 13 unruly colonies. It’s equally appropriate advice for folks who want to get something done in modern politics. America’s style of democracy is winner take all. To win, one must obtain 50…

Disaster communications: Lessons from #Frankenstorm

Major events like Superstorm Sandy can be an irresistible temptation for organizations working on related issues like climate change. What better time to talk about the impacts of climate change on weather than in the midst of a massive, unprecedented storm? But dramatic events like Sandy also present major communications…

Pragmatic Environmentalism

These days, being an environmentalist doesn’t mean what it used to. There’s little or no “nature” left that hasn’t been touched in some way by human activities. And like the proverbial butterfly, the impacts of our actions in one place – whether it’s pumping greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, or…

What do politics, biology and James Bond have in common?

It is only a matter of days before the next James Bond movie, Skyfall, comes out, and I for one cannot wait. Aside from the beautiful locations and cars, James Bond always delivers a good story in the most satisfying way. We can all watch safe in the knowledge that…

The Epic Battle Continues…will the myth or the fact win out?

It’s election season. And that means that candidates are hurling accusations against each other left and right. And the candidates on the receiving end are having to respond to false accusations with their version of the “truth.” In the nonprofit world, we have the distinct pleasure of dealing with this…

What’s renewable, safe and growing twice as fast as the overall economy?

Two weeks out from Election Day, there is hardly a national issue that is not, to some degree, solved by clean energy. Jobs, the economy, public health, national security and – of course – the environment, all have roads leading back to clean energy. But since the biggest issues of…

New and improved (and with fewer channels)…

There is a phrase making the rounds in the communisphere and it’s called, “remote control culture.” If you don’t capture someone's interest quickly, they move on to the next channel.  You must find the information that is most interesting to your audience – feed them food they like and they’ll…

Our take on Tuesday’s debate

What happens when you ask a gaggle of news junkies to share takeaways from a presidential debate?  Well, you get a whole lotta communications insight and no small amount of snark.  Resource Medians chimed in post-debate.  See what you think. Traditional feeds social, social feeds traditional. In covering a debate…

The Blind Spot: Nonprofits and Visual Communications

Nonprofits have made tremendous progress over the past two decades by embracing the use of values-based messaging to connect with our audiences. We’ve learned to use research, and not just a gut feeling, to develop effective messages. But how do we choose the visuals that accompany our messages, or that…

Storytelling: A master class

Hearing a master storyteller talk about how to tell a story is inspiring and intimidating. It is a bit like watching Julia Child whip up a TV meal. It is tempting to mutter, "Easy for you to say," which is masking a sinking "I am not worthy" feeling. In his…

Choosing the rights words and images

Climate communications is a tough job, but the team at Climate Access is making it easier by sharing tried and true techniques. We were very glad to share some of our lessons from the field in two recent posts: Messages that move On shooting polar bears: Communicating climate visually. Whether…

Guest Post: Whole tree biomass is the new coal

At a time when scientific evidence is mounting that burning trees for electricity will actually result in increased carbon emissions when compared to coal over the next 30 to 50 years, utilities in Europe are making a mad dash to convert coal burning power plants to wood, all in the name of “renewable…

California Creates Nation’s First Statewide Underwater Park System

In June, Resource Media joined with ocean fans around the world in celebrating the completion of California’s network of marine protected areas. Many years in the making, the United States’ first statewide system of underwater parks came about as the result of the visionary Marine Life Protection Act and the…

Lake Invaders: Algae blooms turning America’s lakes into toxic pools

That’s ABC News’ headline for its recent investigation into the economic and health costs of toxic blue-green algae that is spreading across the US. The TV segment, which aired first on World News Tonight, is hard-hitting, laying the blame for blooms in the Great Lakes squarely on agricultural runoff. Other…

Intern Report: My Summer Reading List

The first email I received as an intern at Resource Media was titled “Your Summer Reading List.” My first reaction was “Huh? You care if your interns read?” I was psyched to learn quickly that this is a place that believes bringing in and talking about new ideas is crucial…

California’s Water Wars

Even if you don’t live in California, you’re probably well aware of the water wars that have been percolating here for the last 150 years. Ground zero in this ongoing dispute is the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, which provides water for more than 25 million Californians. Our partner, the Delta Vision…

Seeing is believing: The big thaw

Last week, I had a privilege of watching a powerful new climate change documentary, Chasing Ice, at a special screening on Capitol Hill. The film is full of staggeringly beautiful images of glaciers and sea ice, as one might expect given that its central character, National Geographic photographer James Balog,…

Ready. Set. Blog! Create Blockbuster Blog Posts

Whether you’re scratching rock art, typing news copy or tapping out a Twitter feed, every genre of communication has its own demands, its own blessings and curses for the writer. Increasingly, the blogosphere is where people go to explore and share ideas. Blogging can be enormously gratifying or enormously frustrating.…

Stay out of the Water: Toxic Algae’s Threat to People & Pets

This summer, a retired couple played fetch at an Indiana lake with their four dogs. Twenty four hours later, two of the dogs were dead. The lake contained blue-green algae, which can release toxins that cause liver and respiratory problems in people and prove fatal to pets, but no warning…

Field Notes: Women in Rio- Deploying Social Media

Twenty years after climate change first hit the headlines at the Earth Summit of 1992, world leaders gathered again in Rio de Janeiro to talk sustainable development. The resulting “agreement” was a big fat letdown, but there were some bright spots. From the beginning, the Rio+20 agenda focused far too…

Web of Change: This is what connectedness looks like

Half the conferences I attend these days pass in a blur of tweets. I’ve engaged in lengthy conversations with people sitting a few chairs away without ever connecting face to face. And I’ve captured reams of notes without really assimilating the content. Web of Change is different. It celebrates the…

Guest post: Who’s really on social media

Over the past several weeks, Winning the Internet has been looking at the demographics, traffic and stats of some popular social media sites including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr and YouTube. Here’s a round up in case you missed it.  There’s lots of data and information here, which may help you…

Of Bikes, Pens and Soccer Balls

Internship: an inglorious rite of passage that involves coffee runs, taking out the trash, and sneaking around the office to catch a glimpse of company projects. Alternate definition: an amazing experience that involves contributing to essential project work, being immersed in the world of effective communication, and working with eloquent…

Opening thoughts from Resource Media’s new president

It is great to be back at Resource Media. No point burying the lead. This is a supremely talented staff working at a craft I consider essential; communications is the lubricant for social change. It is how we form relationships, partnerships, coalitions and campaigns. It is how we bridge the…

Why we do this work

It’s been called the world's "greatest meeting of land and water." And fortunately, the protections at Point Lobos State Reserve connect land and sea. Visitors that delight in watching brown pelicans and harbor seals offshore will be glad to know the area’s coves and kelp forests are part of an…

Welcome to Our New Website

After so many years helping partners tell their stories, we thought it was about time to tell our own.  We are delighted to welcome you to Resource Media’s new website! Clicking around these pages, you can explore who we are, some of the work we’ve done, and downloadable tools for…

Investigative Reporting: Gone The Way Of The Typewriter?

Ah, local TV news. Weather, sports, ambulance chasing. No real reporting, right? Not so fast. Amid growing attention to a small indigenous community in southeastern Nevada whose health and traditional practices have been devastated by pollution spewed from a nearly 50-year-old coal-fired power plant near their homes, NBC affiliate News…

Say it With Pictures: 10 Tips for Killer Infographics

I’ve been scooped by the Chronicle of Philanthropy! Yep, one of our funder friends sent me an article from the Chronicle many months ago with good guidance on infographics. Below, we’ve combined the Chronicle’s excellent advice with some of our own, based on experience communicating issues as complex as climate…

Growing the Web of Change

From Rio+Social to 350.org, the internet has enabled a whole new kind of movement, where people power stands a real chance of overcoming the political and corporate establishment. It’s an exciting time for the progressive community. But also terrifying. Every nonprofit we work with is stretched thin. Who has time…

On Our Minds: Suddenly, Women are Hot Again

On July 11, international development big wigs - from governments to the Gates Foundation - announced some very big news at a family planning summit in London: giving women what they want matters again. Specifically, giving over 200 million women worldwide access to the basic modern contraception they want, but…

Paving the Way for a Clean Energy Future: Convening Communicators on Coal

We all know that coal is a dirty business—it pollutes our air and water and poisons our bodies. Communities around the country are banding together to fight new coal plants and champion cleaner alternatives. But when the coal plant is already in a community, providing jobs and power, and sponsoring…

Hearing is Believing: 8 Tips for A successful Radio Interview

Sandwiched between the security of a familiar newspaper reporter and the lure of a smashing TV expose, non-profits often underestimate the power of an excellent radio interview. We’ve got tips, but first let’s understand why radio is important. Radio is the second most common media in Americans’ lives (93% of…

Perils of Playing with (Wild) Fire

The catastrophic fires burning throughout the American West have dominated headlines all summer. Visceral and dramatic, forest fires draw TV cameras like nothing else. So do they offer a productive pathway to discuss the perils of climate change? Well, yes and no. It’s difficult to link any single current event,…

Burning Up Our Food Supply

With drought ravaging America’s Corn Belt, and food prices rising, every bushel of corn is precious. Yet according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) nearly 40 percent of this year’s corn harvest will likely be used to make ethanol. Many experts argue that diverting so much of the corn…

Mobilizing Millennials

Can you guess the average age of a member of The Nature Conservancy?  65. Now, take a gander at guessing the average age of a new member of TNC.  62! Last question…and this is the kicker: what percent of TNC’s members are under the age of 40?  A paltry 5%.…