MEDIA WORKSHOP – Informed Citizenship: Defining our narrative, setting public policy

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Instructor:  Dr. Aref Assaf

Time: 12:30 pm, Saturdays starting 2/17/18

Place: Islamic Center of Passaic County

Duration: 10 weeks

Synopsis: “Media” plays a defining role in our lives. While it seems at times little if any can be done by private citizens, it is within our powers if not our constitutionally guaranteed rights to ensure the ‘media’ maintains its professional and moral compasses. As engaged citizens, we have a true opportunity to channel the often-hateful rhetoric and brazen physical attacks on members of our community into an opportunity for a positive change with far reaching implications on relationships with our neighbors, coworkers, and public and private sources of authority. Hence this hands-on Media Workshop for those desirous of specifically impacting the official and popular image of American Muslims, their faith and their cultural heritages.  Complaining about the media bias is no longer sufficient to explain the poor mage our community has in the public eye. We can affect a positive reformulation of both the tone and the tenants of our collective current positions and indeed future destiny. The Workshop is geared towards college students of all majors, but other adults of all ages may also apply. Participation will be limited to 20 students. Successful students will be offered an opportunity to enroll in future and more advanced workshops. A certificate of completion will be presented.

This s a free 10- week workshop offered by the Islamic Center of Passaic County, ICPC and is cosponsored by the Palestinian American Community Center. Participation is open to anyone with a quantifiable commitment to first understanding the pivotal role of the media in our lives and, second and more succinctly, a solid understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing our community as it navigates the ever changing and multifaceted constructs of the American political scene. While very useful, but participants need not have a strong linguistic command. This will not be a “Writing’ Workshop.  If you possess a passionate desire to ‘correct’ the negative stereotypes so prevalent in the media, you will find this workshop a starting point to help you understand the rules of the game, and the needed skills and yes, the shortcuts, to positively impact our narratives and by your informed skills, positively steer public discourse towards a more representative coverage of our rights and obligations as American citizens.

Workshop will be held at the ICPC and will consist of extensive participatory conversations in which participants will be expected to partake in oral and written engagements. Guest speakers will comprise a sizeable portion of the course and these will include professional journalists, social and media experts, newspaper editors, and public officials.

The workshop will harness and focus participants’’ skills to write short responses either as letters- to-the- editor, online comments and pen opinion pieces publishable in local, and national newspapers, blogs, public testimonies and presentations. A more detailed workshop syllabus will be posted shortly. A certificate will be presented to those who successfully complete the workshop.

Registration is very limited and will be offered on a first-come basis. A short resume is strongly requested and must be submitted no later than February 15, 2017. Workshop will start on Saturday February 17, 2018.  100% attendance is expected. Online collaboration will form an important part of the workload and the required homework.