Frequently Asked Questions
An event this innovative and evocative is sure to generate a lot of questions. We’ve tried to anticipate as many of them as possible – and provide our best answers. If you have a question that is not on this list, please send your question(s) to us through our contact form, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
More about racial narratives
What is a racial narrative?
Problematic racial narratives are interwoven in the fabric of our society - e.g., news, entertainment, politics, literature, education, government, music, art and culture. Here are some of the broad patterns as described by the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations:
Underrepresentation - Relative to their representation in the world, a racial group is underrepresented in the media narratives that shape how you perceive the world.
Exaggerated negative representations - Limited aspects of a racial group’s real lived experiences are over exaggerated in media narratives that shape how you perceive the world.
Limited positive associations - Even when a racial group is portrayed sympathetically, they are absent from important archetypes in media narratives that shape how you perceive the world.
Problem frame - A racial group is primarily associated with intractable problems in media narratives that shape how you perceive the world.
Missing story - Important dimensions of a racial group’s stories are largely untold in media narratives that shape how you perceive the world.
Why is it important to change racial narratives in media?
Accuracy and bias rank among the most important factors the public uses in deciding what news media to trust, according to research from the Knight Foundation. Journalists have a responsibility to represent the people of Minnesota (and the world) humanely, accurately, and ethically.
What is the Truth and Transformation: Changing Racial Narratives in Media Conference?
This ground-breaking, two-day event will bring together community and mainstream media professionals, media educators and journalism students from across Minnesota to understand the impact that racial narratives have on individuals, communities, and trust in media – and how they can collaborate to change it.
On day one, participants will deepen their understanding of narratives that are absented from dominant culture discourse and engage with one another through the power of story, setting the foundation for deepened relationships across organizations, generations and geographic locations. Participants will experience a personal connection to their own stories, develop respect and empathy for the stories of others, and reflect on the danger of absented and racial narratives in media and society.
On day two, participants will challenge their own assumptions and practice strategies for telling more accurate racial narratives, placing value on the strength of different worldviews. They will hear first-hand accounts of Minnesotans impacted by racial narratives, and work collaboratively to identify systemic barriers and to amplify community solutions to narrative change.
Who is organizing the conference?
The conference is being organized by a community-media partnership that formed in April 2018 to help change problematic racial narratives and their representation in local news media. The partnership was awarded a $332,000 grant from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations to organize a statewide conference aimed at helping news professionals uncover their own biases and assumptions, and amplifying community solutions to narrative change.
The partnership is comprised of and governed by a steering committee made up of representatives from KMOJ 89.9 FM, Pillsbury United Communities through North News and KRSM Radio; Minnesota Public Radio, the Minnesota Humanities Council, Hamline University through its TRHT Campus Center, and the University of St. Thomas through its ThreeSixty Journalism program. Additional support for the partnership is provided by GrayHall LLP and Wilder Research.
When and where will the conference take place?
The conference will take place March 19-20, 2019, at Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Who should attend the conference?
This conference should particularly benefit:
Media professionals working at all levels and job classifications in mainstream and community media who care about accuracy, fairness and trust in media, and have a desire to understand – and change – the racial narratives that impact all three
Educators seeking meaningful strategies to engage students in changing racial narrative in media
High school and college journalism students who aspire to tell authentic and inclusive stories and to change racial narratives.
What do I need to know about the Media Professionals Survey?
Conference organizers have commissioned a survey aimed at how and how much media professionals think, care and know about combating racial bias in their work, and what training would help to increase their ability to tell more complete and accurate stories of Indigenous people and people of Color.
For the purposes of this survey, member of the news media means someone who provides or assists others in providing news and information to the public. It does not include marketing or corporate communications professionals.
The survey is being conducted by Wilder Research with help from the APM Research Lab and will be active Jan. 15 - Feb. 3. It is being emailed to news professionals and disseminated through social media and through professional organizations, including the Minnesota Newspaper Association, Twin Cities Black Journalists, and the Minnesota chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists and Asian American Journalists Association. Findings will be released at the March conference.
The survey asks for a lot of sensitive information about people and their experiences, including where they work. This information is sought so that researchers know if responses represent a diverse group of people working in newspapers, TV, radio, online, mainstream, community media, etc. Individual responses to all questions will be seen only by Wilder and shared only anonymously and in the aggregate with conference organizers, participants and the public.
Some professional organizations have been provided with unique links so that they know how many of their members participated but not who. Nor will any “head counts” shared about employers, such as how many people from the Star Tribune took the survey. Most of the questions have a “prefer not to answer” option, so you do not have to provide any information that makes you uncomfortable.
How can I register?
You can register here. Registration is currently open and will close when the conference reaches full capacity.
How much does it cost?
The conference is free and made possible with a grant from the Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundations.
Is there funding available to help with travel/lodging costs?
Conference organizers can assist with travel or lodging costs for participants attending from Greater Minnesota. Please contact conference organizers at email@example.com no later than March 1, 2019 to request travel and lodging scholarships.
More than one person from my organization plans to attend the conference. Must we register together?
It is recommended though not required that you register as a team so that organizers can provide you the with the best conference experience.
I only want to attend one day of the conference, is that possible?
No. Due to the immersive and collaborative nature of the conference, one-day registration is not available.
I just want to attend the keynote. Is that possible to do without registering for the conference?
No. We expect the conference to sell out early and will not have space to accommodate additional guests.
Can I register in person at the conference?
If the conference has not reached capacity, you may register onsite.
What if I registered but cannot attend?
You can cancel your registration through Ticketbud.
If I am unable to attend, is my registration transferable to a colleague or friend?
No. if you are unable to attend, please cancel your registration and have your colleague or friend register on their own. Priority will be given to individuals on the waiting list.
Will conference close registration at any point?
Yes. Registration closes on March 1 or when it reaches full capacity. We recommend you register early as there is always the possibility that the conference will reach full capacity before then. If registration closes early – or if the March 1 deadline is extended – we will post that information on the Truth and Transformation website.
Accommodations and Other Questions
What, if anything, should I bring to the conference?
An open mind and a desire to listen, learn, connect and collaborate. We will supply notebooks, pens and water bottles.
Is the conference schedule available?
Yes. A tentative schedule can be found on the Truth and Transformation website. The agenda will be updated as new information becomes available.
How can I reserve a hotel room, and what are the rates?
We have reserved rooms at two hotels:
Historic Best Western Plus Como Park Hotel, 1010 Bandana Blvd. West, St. Paul, MN, 55108. Conference rate is $107.99 per night plus tax. Click on this link for special conference discount to book directly with the hotel: Best Western
Courtyard Minneapolis/ St. Paul/ Roseville, 2905 Centre Pointe Drive Roseville, Minnesota 55113. Conference rate is $119 USD - $129 per night plus tax . Click on this link for special conference discount to book directly with the hotel: Courtyard Marriott
Will transportation be provided from the hotel(s) to Hamline?
Participants are expected to provide their own transportation to and from the conference. There is a free shuttle from the Best Western to Hamline.
How can I receive a list of participants or attendees?
We will ask participants attending the conference to opt into a conference attendee list that we can share publicly. We will post a list of individuals and companies attending on our conference site after the conference.
Will wi-fi be available in the conference space at Hamline University? What is the network and password?
Yes. Wi-fi information will be published in the conference program.
Will I receive a certificate of attendance?
A certificate of attendance is available upon request following the conference.
What meals will be served at the conference?
Continental breakfast is provided each morning prior to the scheduled start time. There will be morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, and lunch will be provided on both conference days. Dinner will not be provided on either day. If you have dietary preferences, please be sure to mark those on the space provided on the registration form when you register.
What services are available for special needs and requests?
Conference organizers encourages persons with varying abilities to participate in the conference and activities. Please alert us at firstname.lastname@example.org or through our contact form no later than March 1, 2019 to request ASL interpreter services or other accommodations for special needs. If you have dietary preferences, please be sure to mark those on the space provided on the registration form when you register.
Will a Prayer / Meditation Room be available? Where is it located?
Yes. We will designate a Prayer / Meditation Room. We can provide a map at the conference of the exact location.
Why does the registration form ask for my pronouns?
This conference is part of a larger journey to be more inclusive and equitable in all aspects of our work. Changing racial narratives involves challenging our assumptions, including those about gender identity. Pronouns signal who you are and how you define yourself. Yours, should you offer them, will be printed on your name tag as a way to help us all know how to refer to one another in conversations.
Are there accommodations are available for nursing mothers?
Yes. We will designate a nursing room. We can provide a map at the conference of the exact location.
Will child care services be provided?
No. Conference organizers will not be able to provide such services.
How can I receive conference email updates?
Sign up for our email list here for periodic updates, news, and special announcements!
What are the official hashtags for the conference?
We haven’t created them yet. Send us your suggestions!
My question is not listed here. Whom do I contact for more information?
You can send your question to us through our contact form, or email it to email@example.com.