We are a group of creatives who are working to strengthen democracy through media literacy.
The contemporary digital age has created an online ecosystem in which citizens are often caught up in polarized communication cycles, informational silos, and a curated media landscape. Within that, individuals create virtual versions of themselves and can use the media as a tool for distraction, disengagement, and distortion.
Engaged citizens use media to enhance lives and empower voices while holding democratic institutions accountable and forming meaningful connections to each other and society.
what we do
To address this challenge, we begin with what we view as a set of actionable democratic imperatives:
(1) Promote media literacy education in our schools and our society more broadly
(2) Connect people who share different views, both online and offline, to generate alternative conversations/algorithms
(3) Support creative canaries in local communities to shed light on contemporary issues in America through diverse arts-based mediums
All of these actions have the ultimate goal of strengthening democracy and cultivating civic engagement through media literacy.
* American Canary is federally incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
We chose the following five values to guide our work at American Canary.
Creativity, Intentionality, Well-Being, Truth and Community.
Together they encapsulate what is at the heart of American Canary – and the deep convictions that brought it to life.
Creativity is the pulse of our problem solving and storytelling strategies, pushing us to ask the tough questions and explore our own perspectives and imaginations.
As we seek to unpack and understand what it means to be a media literate digital citizen we will take each step to discovery with intentionality. We will build our intentions around the beauty of diversity and seek to foster an inclusive environment to grow and learn together.
An idea can only grow if it is nurtured. We can only nurture an idea if we nurtured ourselves. We must be mindful of our well-being and how to create a balance of action.
In a time when truth is a relative term it is more important now than ever to hold ourselves accountable for the reliability of the information we provide to our audience.
The American Canary culture is one of a community, where meaningful collaborations are cultivated as we engage, listen and empathize with new voices in the search for a stronger tomorrow.
Lindsay Newman is a nonprofit consultant and development associate with over a decade of international and localized work. She has dedicated her life to empowering stories and capacity building within communities. Her work includes strategic partnerships with organizations working as a change-maker with indigenous youth, animal rights, political advancement and environmental justice. She holds a BA in English Literature and a master’s degree in nonprofit management from Regis University. She seeks to utilize the third sector to enhance social change and foster humanity and beauty within the world.
Bridget Haina is a jill-of-all media trades. From print to web design, still photography to video motion graphics, there is not much she cannot create. Bridget holds a MA in Multimedia Photography and Design from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She is an Assistant Professor of Digital Media Production at the State University of New York College at Plattsburgh where she focuses on instilling mindfulness, truth and justice in the voices of the next generation of media creators. Her research focuses on studying the use of outrage language on social media platforms, online hate over issues of racial injustice and media literacy in public education. She is the former Creative Director for the online retailer Global Sugar Art and currently works as a multimedia freelancer based in the Adirondacks.
Katherine (Katie) Baxter is an experienced educator, researcher, writer, and meditator. She has worked in academia, education, government, and the non-profit sector, in the U.S. and abroad, always endeavoring to forge meaningful cross-industry/disciplinary collaborations in the pursuit of innovative solutions to complex social and environmental problems. Her research and teaching focus on pedagogy, youth, social change, and ecological sustainability. She holds an MSc in Global Social Change and a PhD in Sociology from the University of Edinburgh, and is also the co-founder and former co-director of the University of Edinburgh based charity LIVED. She is currently the Operations Manager of ANAW-USA, and based in Denver, Colorado.
Amanda Zackem is a director, cinematographer and activist. She uses film as a tool to explore consciousness, social justice, and raise awareness against exploitative corporate power structures in an effort to restore balance to our planet and all those that live here. She directed, shot and edited American Psychosis and has produced feature documentaries on issues of civil disobedience and oil and energy. Amanda holds a BA from Ithaca College, a master’s degree from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University. She was chosen as a 2018 Blue Mountain Center Artist Residency recipient.