The LSE has just released the first report in a three-year research project focusing on the gap between what people know about human suffering and how they react to it.
“Who cares? Challenges and Opportunities in Reporting Distant Suffering” should be required reading for anyone who works in communications, media relations or advocacy in the aid sector.
The report is based on discussions during a seminar that brought communications, advocacy and fundraising professionals from 18 NGOs together in November 2011, at a time where the Horn of Africa crisis was still fresh in everybody’s minds.
The report is organized in four themes, each of which contains a case study:
- NGOs’ portrayals of suffering and some of the central tensions and challenges involved in this process.
- The challenges and opportunities in NGOs’ relationships with the UK public.
- The growing challenges NGOs are facing in managing their public image, in the light of growing in the light of growing criticism of and scepticism about international aid and NGOs.
- The challenges and opportunities entailed in NGOs’ engagement of the public in development and humanitarian issues in a crowded and competitive field.
Since the seminar was held under Chatham House Rules, comments are much more open and frank than you’d normally see in a public report.
(h/t Linda Raftree)