2023 Update: Thank you to everyone who has been interested in these resources! I am now enrolled in a Ph.D. program to conduct research on equity/power concerns for communicators, so my reading has become much more academic in nature. I continue to update this spreadsheet both with academic articles and practitioner resources as I find them.
While I was in graduate school, I found that I was craving deeper conversations than we were having in my Strategic Communication MA. It wasn’t that I didn’t appreciate the program’s lessons about what I needed to do to be an excellent communicator who would have a seat at the leadership table. I did feel, however, that there was a lot more to consider to ensure I do my job “better”—in other words, what I need to know to be a more responsible (rather than, simply, proficient) communicator.
Where to start
This wish led me to actively seek out conversations about equity and power in strategic communication and public relations both within academic research and beyond. To give a list of some of my favorites:
- Conscious Style Guide (make sure to subscribe to the email updates! I learn something with new every edition)
- Institute for Public Relations (IPR) Center for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (a great hub for academic and practitioner research)
- “Having Urged Everyone Off the Sidelines, It’s Time We Heed Our Own Advice” by Emily K. Graham and Bia Assevero (here is quote poster I made to hang on my wall)
- Community-Centric Fundraising and the Ethical Rainmaker Podcast
- Radical Copyeditor
- Dignified Storytelling Principles and Handbook
- Ethical Storytelling and the Ethical Storytelling Podcast
- Nonprofit AF
To keep going
It includes a bit of everything (academic articles, books, blogs, websites — even some social media posts and threads that I found particularly insightful). The subjects and topics are wide as well. I have everything from practical items (like style guides on preferred terminology and stock photography/imagery websites) to complex discussions of how whiteness and white supremacy shape our thinking as professionals and the larger communication and nonprofit industries. A couple notes:
- I use the spreadsheet both as a reading list and record, so I have not read everything on it. I have only included items that I thought looked valuable, but I haven’t read past the title/summary in some cases. If you find something you believe should be removed, please let me know.
- There is a lot on this spreadsheet, so I created filter views you can use to sort by type, subject, topic, or cost (if you haven’t used them before, review Google’s directions to “See an existing filter view“).
- Most of the resources are free, but I included items that have a cost if they seemed valuable (try checking with a local library for access to books or the items behind a paywall).
What you won’t find
Whether you only look at the publications on the shorter list or dig into the full set of resources, I do want to make one thing clear: You aren’t likely to find a lot of simple yes/no answers here. While I understand this wish (trust me, I want it also), being more responsible in our work as communicators means engaging in continual growth and reflection, asking more questions, and embracing individual differences and the need for larger culture change. As Sharlyn Carrington (director and founder of Content Strong Communications) recently wrote:
“Many communicators are looking for a checklist, toolkit, a script — something that will make them an agent of change overnight. It’s important to remember: culture change requires more than a box-ticking exercise while writing a press release or planning a communications campaign. Organizational change requires internal reflection, not just a list of specifically crafted questions to ask your CEO… [W]e must remember that creating inclusive workplaces, communities and societies will require a lifelong commitment to do better.”Sharlyn Carrington, Tangible anti-racism steps for PR practitioners
Changing the way we have always done things won’t be easy, but it is necessary. I hope that you, like me, can embrace this as an exciting opportunity to re-conceptualize how you do your daily work and how you think about your responsibilities. To, once again, quote Sharlyn:
“…[A]s communicators we are uniquely positioned to shape understanding and shape conversation. We craft narratives. We protect reputations. And we can move culture forward.”Sharlyn Carrington, Tangible anti-racism steps for PR practitioners
Know something I should check out?
Do you know about something I don’t have here? Please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on Twitter/LinkedIn. I don’t have any hard rules about what will/won’t be included as long as it connects in some way to DEI concerns for communicators. Please also feel free to leave a comment saying what you found helpful or other topics I should explore.
Want to share this?
I’ve created this spreadsheet and blog because I want to help others find them. If you are writing your own blog or resources, feel free to either share the link to this blog/spreadsheet or pull out specific items of interest. While it is appreciated, I don’t require that you give me credit unless you are going to reuse the entire blog/spreadsheet. (I do continually add to the list, so one advantage of just linking to it is that there will be more things added later)