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OpEdNews Op Eds    H4'ed 6/26/17

Annual "Danny" Award for Journalism & Advocacy to Patrice O'Neill; Honor to Founder of "Not In Our Town" Project

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Annual "Danny" Award for Journalism & Advocacy to Patrice O'Neill; Honor to Founder of "Not In Our Town" ProjectIncludes $3,000 Prize

NEW YORK -- The Global Center, a non-profit educational foundation dedicated to helping develop socially responsible media, is pleased to announce Patrice O'Neill as the second recipient of "The Danny," an annual award honoring the life and work of the late journalist and social change advocate Danny Schechter, aka the "News Dissector."

Danny Schechter
Danny Schechter
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The Danny Schechter Global Vision Award for Journalism & Advocacy ("The Danny") is awarded annually to an individual who best emulates Schechter's practice of combining excellent journalism with advocacy on behalf of the public. The award includes a $3000 stipend to support future work.

Patrice O'Neill is Founder and Executive Producer of the Oakland-based non-profit strategic media company The Working Group and a leader of Not In Our Town , the organization's core project devoted to addressing hate, intolerance and bullying in local communities. An accomplished filmmaker, she has produced successful national film series on PBS for twenty years and led a multi-platform approach that utilizes documentary film, social networking, and civic engagement to encourage dialogue and spur community action. O'Neill makes regular presentations to community groups, college campuses, law enforcement organizations, and faith institutions on how to address hate crimes and intolerance.

Not In Our Town, a movement of people across the country working to build safe, inclusive communities for all, had its genesis when O'Neill's film (with Rhian Miller) aired in 1995 as a PBS special. The film showed how ordinary citizens in Billings, Montana came together to stand up to hate when their neighbors were attacked by white supremacists. Townspeople of all races and religions found common ground against hate-based assaults on African American, Native American and Jewish families and congregations. Religious and community leaders, labor union volunteers, law enforcement, the local newspaper and concerned residents all united in action and spoke loudly against hate and intolerance, proclaiming in no uncertain terms "Not In Our Town!" The story of how the residents in Billings stood together against hate inspired many others around the country to create new ways to stand up when neighbors are under attack.

Since then, O'Neill has fostered a network of community activists and helped lead a series of anti-hate media campaigns featuring screenings and town hall meetings in hundreds of communities nationwide. Under her leadership, Not In Our Town has turned into a dynamic mass movement that thrives in communities across the U.S. -- and around the world. Her team launched NIOT.org , a social media resource and film site that opens new civic engagement possibilities, and Not In Our School , which includes anti-bullying campaign resources for teachers and students.

O'Neill's current projects include Waking in Oak Creek and A Prosecutor's Stand, part of a series about local leaders and law enforcement who are working together to prevent hate crimes and build safe, inclusive communities. She also currently leads the Safe, Inclusive Communities Initiative, a collaboration between Not In Our Town and the Department of Justice COPS Office. Films and resources from this initiative including Waking in Oak Creek and A Prosecutor's Stand, stories of local leaders and law enforcement effectively working together to build trust and prevent hate crimes.

"NIOT offers a different model," says O'Neill. "We have a clear perspective and angle on a topic we cover in depth. We are transparent about the fact that we think hate crimes should be prevented, that hate and intolerance are poisonous to each of us as individuals, to our schools, communities, our country, our world, and that there are effective ways for local communities to counter it together. NIOT seeks out stories about what people can do to both respond to hate and bullying incidents, but more vitally, what they can do to create an atmosphere where hate doesn't grow.

"Not In Our Town fits squarely in the journalism approach as we seek out stories of effective local actions to respond to and prevent hate crimes," she adds, "but community engagement designed to help local leaders be pro-active as they seek ways to address intolerance is also an essential part of Not In Our Town's mission. " Up next for NIOT, says O'Neill, is its Gold Star Cities Program, "bringing together twenty years of knowledge about successful local strategies, providing action steps and measurable criteria to certify cities and towns working together to create thriving diverse communities and presenting a way for communities to measure their progress."

ABOUT THE GLOBAL CENTER: The Global Center is a non-profit 501 c 3 educational foundation dedicated to developing informative and socially responsible media and a new type of journalism in which the reporting of events and conditions is done in conjunction with those most affected by those events. In addition to operating its own projects, the Center also acts as a fiscal sponsor for outside media efforts that fit within its mission and guidelines.

ABOUT THE SCHECHTER AWARD:The Danny Schechter Global Vision Award for Journalism & Activism ('The Danny') is given annually to a reporter who best emulates Schechter's practice of combining journalism with social activism and advocacy. In addition to the award itself, announced each year on or about Schechter's birthday of June 27, each recipient receives a stipend in the amount of $3000 to support future work. The 2016 inaugural award went Jose Antonio Vargas of the non-profit media and culture organization Define American.

There is no way to apply for the award. Recipients are chosen by a panel from a pool of qualified candidates. An anonymous donor contributed $15,000 to fully fund the award for its first five years. Those interested in contributing further can make tax-deductible donations to The Global Center, which is acting as fiscal sponsor for the award. Send contributions to:

The Global Center

PO Box 677

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Filmmaker and journalist Rory O'Connor writes the 'Media Is A Plural' blog, accessible at www.roryoconnor.org.
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