As “Team Rando” works hard to build a website for Fundacion Bendaked, I am left with many questions about content and the best way to communicate our message to our audience.
I have worked with a few nonprofits, so I have some idea of how the administrative, fundraising, and communications processes work within the nonprofit sector. However, I have not ever had to control content and make the kinds of decisions about messages that we are making with this project. For example, we are often met with dilemmas about how graphic we should get when using photos and videos on the site. We want to make our point and show people how desperately these people need help, but we also don’t want to dehumanize our subjects or turn our audience off through visuals.
If I think back to my journalism ethics that I took in undergrad, I remember similar issues that news corporations face every day when they print papers or broadcast the news. Things like protecting names of rape victims or not showing caskets of war casualties are ethical rules that news institutions have followed for years. Unfortunately for our project, there really isn’t a steadfast rule of thumb as far as what we should or shouldn’t put on our site.
For example, I have seen nonprofits that work with childhood cancer patients who try to really appeal to the sympathy of their audience by using photos of very sick children, with bald heads, and sad faces. I have also seen organizations that use happier photos of children that appeal to a sense of hope in the audience. It is important as we create this site to remember that the content we choose will set the tone of the entire site.