Minds of the Movement

An ICNC blog on the people and power of civil resistance

Deborah Mathis

As ICNC’s Director of Communications, Deborah develops, executes and coordinates ICNC’s communications, marketing, and media relations, working in collaboration with the organization’s staff and advisors.

Deborah has extensive experience as a communications strategist and media coach, most recently as a consultant to an array of national and international non-profit organizations and campaigns. Her work in communications commenced at the end of a long career as a working journalist, including her assignment as White House correspondent for Gannett News Service during the Clinton Administration.

Her journalism career included stints as a managing editor, nationally syndicated columnist, broadcast news producer, news anchor and assistant professor at Northwestern University’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism.

Contact: editor [at] nonviolent-conflict.org

Writings from Deborah Mathis

Articles

Ideas & Trends

Paradigm Shift: Media Imagery and the BLM Movement

There is no denying the drama of the worldwide mass demonstrations against systemic racism generally, discriminatory policing particularly, and George Floyd’s murder specifically. For weeks and weeks, it has unfolded in both predictable and surprising ways. In my experience, honed from decades in the news media, newsrooms begin to lose interest in such phenomena after about two weeks. But, as with practically everything else associated with this movement, the media attention has held steady. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Too Much Coverage of U.S. Anti-shutdown Protests? A Journalist Chimes In

You are not imagining things if you think recent anti-COVID-19-shutdown protests captured the news media’s attention with speed, regularity and intensity that many civil resistance campaigns can only envy. Several scholars and co-founders of a website that tracks news accounts of U.S. protests compared coverage of the anti-shutdown protests with that given to bona fide civil resistance actions such as last September’s nationwide climate strikes. As the researchers reported on Vox last week, the difference is stark. […]

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Ideas & Trends

The Activists’ Creed: Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way

This summer will bring the 400th anniversary of enslaved Africans’ first landing in the United States. As their numbers grew, so too did the oppression they faced and, increasingly, its cruelty was codified as law. Colonial oppressors had their laws then, and modern despots have theirs today. They can ban the meetings, shut down Twitter, and burn the books. But the indomitable, immutable human spirit always finds a workaround. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemoration: Reflections on Maintaining the Integrity of a Movement

A year before he was assassinated, Dr. King delved into the highly charged debate over the Vietnam War, taking a firm and unequivocal stance in opposition. Many supporters, including some of his closest advisors, had practically begged him not to speak out against the war and risk alienating President Lyndon Johnson, who had ushered the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts through a fitful Congress. The press weighed in too. But Dr. King took care to protect the integrity of the movement, even if it entailed risk and cost. […]

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Interviews & People

The Rev. Dr. James Lawson on “Human Endeavors for Hope and Change”

Over the years, the Rev. Dr. James Lawson has amassed a treasury of nonviolent civil resistance methodologies, which, ever the teacher, he is eager to share, provided the listener appreciates the value of know-how. After all, he says, it takes more than a riled up spirit to build and sustain a movement; it takes study and planning too. […]

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Ideas & Trends

Delivering the Story: Why Movement Reporting Matters

It would have taken extra effort for anyone in the U.S. on January 21 to avoid news of the massive women’s marches and demonstrations ballooning across the country that day. Media were all over the event – broadcast, cable, radio and social – encamped for day-long coverage of the throngs weaving through […]

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