Models of Engagement
Our readings included a summary of the three models of environmental communication. These models include the classical deficit model and the framing model, which both rely on the idea that the primary issue is a lack of scientific understanding. The classical model focuses solely on the facts and can convey an apocalyptic tone, exemplified in Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth (2006). For this reason, this method has been heavily questioned and criticized (Feinberg and Willer 2011). The framing model uses an approach more sensitive to a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives, but also relies on the idea of a knowledge deficit. A good example of the framing model is the Global Warming’s Six Americas site that we wrote about in our “Who” post. The third model is the contemporary dialogic model, which emphasizes listening to both sides and engaging in a two-sided conversation. This model was used in a study (Brookman and Kalla 2016) focused on transphobia in Florida which is discussed in a This American Life podcast. The contemporary model applies to our discussion of engagement as it allows for the most interactive communication from multiple perspectives.
PCUN’s Models of Engagement
Our readings also included examples of the dialogic model in use, such as has been explored through story exchange initiatives and canvassing techniques promoting dialogue. This made us interested in how PCUN conveys their message and communicates with the public, the community, and its stakeholders. PCUN takes multiple different approaches to engagement due to their three pronged organization. The two models that best apply to PCUN outreach would be the framing and contemporary models. Since PCUN has three charity organizational branches, they may take different directions with their respective models. The 501(c)3 organization focuses on building community. An example of that could be their radio movement. Here the three communication models can be seen in use. The classical model serves as a way to relay primary information and facts, while the framing model can be seen in education segments, perhaps putting more significance on diversity. The radio movement also helps create conversations that are two sided as a true form of engagement. Additionally, PCUN’s healthy workplaces initiative includes “healing circles based on our cultural connections,” a mode of intercommunication that reflects both the framing and contemporary models and creates a conversation.
The Dialogic Model in Action
It is clear how PCUN engages with their community however, their methods of engaging in political or environmental communication are less clear. In the 501(c) 4 organization we see a possible relation to the 2016 Brookman and Kalla study that we read about for class. PCUN’s Accion Political PCUNista, which lists a main objective for 2020 as “looking to knock on 30,000 Latinx voter doors statewide for Movement Candidates,” can be compared to the canvassing efforts described in our readings. While the Brookman article focuses on transphobia and opening more of a dialogue, it seems that PCUN’s primary focus with Accion Political PCUNista is to promote awareness of “movement candidates.” For example, in 2018 PCUN canvassed for Representative Teresa Alonso Leon. This door to door method that they describe could possibly have some similarities to those described in the TAL podcast. However, since we do not have full information about how PCUN conducts their canvassing, we would like to ask them about their methods and consider what approach this takes towards communication in order to understand how this does or doesn’t fit into the models described above. We are especially interested in whether PCUN primarily conveys information in a classical or framing style when going door to door, or whether they attempt to engage on a more contemporary and deeper level by creating a two-sided conversation. As we interview the organization this will be crucial to identify. Moving beyond PCUN’s outreach to the Latinx and farmworker community, we are interested in how PCUN communicates and engages with actors that may present conflicting opinions or opposing interests—such as farm owners, the Oregon Farm Bureau, immigration enforcement, and the state and federal government—and what models of communication this may reflect. This will form one of our main questions when interviewing PCUN so that we can further understand how they conduct their work and communication.
Broockman, David, and Joshua Kalla. 2016. “Durably Reducing Transphobia: A Field Experiment on Door-to-Door Canvassing.” Science 352, no. 6282: 220-24.
Feinberg, Matthew, and Robb Willer. “Apocalypse Soon?: Dire Messages Reduce Belief in Global Warming by Contradicting Just-World Beliefs.” Psychological Science 22, no. 1 (January 2011): 34–38.