At Nyhus, we’ve been struck recently by the emergence of authentic voices as effective spokespeople on important issues. On a number of fronts, those who speak from their own experience are being heard in ways they have not been heard before. Their effectiveness reinforces a key tenet of successful communications: The most persuasive and powerful messages come from those that speak passionately and from the heart.
In our March issue of The Lede, we tip our hats to these authentic voices – past and present – who have shaped the public dialogue and moved the needle on important problems. We find their courage inspiring and hope you do, too.
In the weeks following the school shooting in Parkland, Fla., the student survivors have emerged as powerful advocates for gun control, injecting new voices and renewed urgency into a debate that has raged for years. In media interviews and across social platforms, these new faces of the gun control movement have activated an entire generation, as we saw in the recent “March for Our Lives” that involved hundreds of thousands of young people across the nation, including here in Seattle.
Eyewitnesses to War
Armed with only a cell phone, Muhammad Najem takes selfies in front of places like his abandoned school, now a pile of rubble, so that he can share what is happening in war-ravaged Syria. With hashtags like #SaveSyria, #IAmStillAlive, and #SyriaSpeaks, the 15-year-old eyewitness has circumvented traditional media to reach millions around the world with his unfiltered and heartbreaking on-the-ground reporting.
Jay Rockey, Seattle’s “grandfather of public relations” who was largely responsible for bringing the 1962 Seattle World’s Fair to life, was well-known for his integrity and professionalism. Mr. Rockey, whose death was announced on March 2, was a model for PR practitioners whose industry he shaped through his dynamic personality and authenticity. Learn more about his legacy in this story from Crosscut.
When NPR published a report into sexual misconduct allegations against local author Sherman Alexie, the publication centered its story around three women who spoke on-the-record about their experiences. By sharing their stories, they exposed rumors as truth and forced an entire industry to take stock of its own. The bravery they exhibited in speaking publicly had an immediate effect throughout literary circles.
Last month, in anticipation of legislation that would exempt the Washington State Legislature from the state’s Public Records Act, daily newspapers did something that may be without precedent. More than eleven newspapers printed editorials urging Governor Jay Inslee to veto the bill. The Seattle Times published its editorial on the front page, a move that was unexpected, and, as such it made people take notice.
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