Transforming stories of violence, tragedy to resilience, hope

FIU and Images & Voices of Hope co-host “Storytelling to Change the World” Oct. 28


FIU journalism students recently presented their documentary, Liberty Square Rising, to residents of the community. The project will be featured at an event on Oct. 28.

Stories of violence and tragedy frequently dominate daily headlines and newscasts.

A relatively new movement in the media world seeks to tell a different narrative – through stories of strength, hope and resilience.

To engage the community in a dialogue about how media can have a positive impact on communities, the FIU Office of Engagement has partnered with Images & Voices of Hope (ivoh), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to strengthen the role of media as agents of world change.

FIU and ivoh will co-host a community forum, Storytelling to Change the World, on Oct. 28 at the Graham Center. One of the goals is to shine a spotlight on multimedia work by FIU faculty and students that goes beyond tragedy and trauma.

“Much of the work that FIU’s journalism students have done aligns with ivoh’s work around ‘restorative narratives’ – stories that show how people and communities are making a meaningful progression from a place of despair to a place of resilience,’’ said Mallary Jean Tenore, executive director of ivoh.

“It’s important to us to create opportunities for media practitioners and community members to engage in dialogue about this type of storytelling, and we feel that FIU shares this interest.”

The day-long forum will feature panel discussions with students and faculty, along with local media practitioners and community members. FIU Global Learning will host a discussion with students about how restorative narrative is connected to the university’s efforts to promote global awareness and engagement.

One of those students, Luis Nieves, writes a blog, “West of 95,” that features photos and stories that shine a light on the diversity and resilience of Miamians.

“These are stories about the real Miami,’’ Nieves writes. “Stories about its people. Its food. Its culture.”

Also at the event, John Yearwood, world editor of the Miami Herald and an ivoh board member, will deliver a keynote address on how restorative narratives are changing the media landscape globally.

Mariana Santos

Mariana Santos was recently named the Knight Innovator in Residence at FIU’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Mariana Santos, recently named FIU’s Knight Innovator in Residence, is scheduled to speak about her work at Fusion, a multi-platform media company that focuses on coverage of news and culture that appeals to a young and diverse audience.

Throughout her career, Santos has been a champion for media innovation.

In a Knight Foundation blog announcing her arrival at FIU, Santos said she believes journalists must be agents of change.

“I believe this world needs more journalists who are focused on making a change in the world, who won’t quit easily, who will ignore the pessimists and who will strive to make the world a better place.”

Moses Shumow

Digital media professor Moses Shumow worked with students to create a documentary film project on Liberty Square. Parts of the film will be shown at the event.

One FIU faculty member who shares that vision is Moses Shumow, a digital media professor in the School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

During the event, Shumow will show clips from a documentary, Liberty Square Rising, which he and his students created this summer on Liberty Square, an historic housing project in Liberty City that has been the focus of dozens of news stories on guns and violence.

He will also help moderate a dialogue with residents of the community about how their neighborhoods have been portrayed in the media – and how they can help redirect the narrative.

“I think this day presents a rare and excellent opportunity for the residents of a community and those who cover them to come together for an open and honest dialogue about the power of media in covering communities dealing with trauma and marginalization,’’ Shumow said. “I hope one of the outcomes will be an increased empathy on the part of both parties.”

In advance of the event, FIU and ivoh are conducting a social media campaign to highlight images and stories – from the university or around the world – that embody the philosophy of restorative narrative.

Using hashtag #stories4changeFIU, students and faculty are invited to post stories or photos that inspire them, either online at the event site or via social media. The posts will be shared at the event and posted online at

In addition to the Office of Engagement and ivoh, the event is being co-sponsored by Global Learning, SJMC, the College of Architecture + the Arts and Related Urban.

Storytelling to Change the World will be held from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Oct. 28 in the Graham Center Ballrooms at FIU. To RSVP, click here. For more information visit or contact Amy Ellis at or 305-348-4335.