January 21, 2015 | Category: Blog | Author:

Weekly round-up: Cat memes, women journalists, vaccine stories

CAT MEMES: Last year, I wondered about whether inserting pictures of cats in social-change communications would make them more popular. I may have found my answer in this 2013 write-up on the Daily Kos. It’s about about three types of memes — bits of culture that can be reproduced or imitated — and how best to use them for your political work. The types include silly memes (including cat memes), emotional ones, and factual ones (e.g. infographics). The author, Sarahkatheryn, co-runs a Facebook page of political cat memes called Class War Kitteh, which has over 10,000 likes. Granted, that’s no Grumpy Cat (7.3 million likes), but it’s pretty good! Elsewhere, I read that cat memes stretch back at least 100 years, to when drawings of cats advocating women’s right to vote were used to mock the suffragettes.

WOMEN JOURNALISTS: Read my recent Chronicle of Philanthropy story about the Global Press Institute, which gives journalism training to women in developing countries, then publishes their stories in its Global Press Journal, and syndicates them via the Global Press News Service to local outlets in the countries where the journalists live, as well as international news agencies, foundations, and other publishers. GPI’s example has valuable lessons for other organizations trying to tell stories in service of their missions.

VACCINE STORIES: The Gates Foundation has launched a project called “The Art of Saving a Life,” in which 30 artists and writers reflect on the value of vaccines. The project calls vaccines “one of the greatest advancements in the history of health.”