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#BlackLivesMatter

The Challenge:
Numerous AU students were emotionally affected by a grand jury's November 24, 2014, decision not to indict Ferguson, Missouri, police officer Darren Wilson for the killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed African-American man. Many of these students also expressed frustration that other members of the AU community did not seem to grasp the gravity of the situation and its implications about race and inequality in America. To raise awareness and encourage dialogue, the students organized a demonstration on campus. In responding to this event, UCM wanted to demonstrate that the university values diversity and is committed to creating a more inclusive environment for all members of our community.

The Solution:
Write a news story (#BlackLivesMatter) for the university's website that positively highlights our students' passion for social justice and their active citizenship related to issues of racism and police brutality. We promoted the story on the home page and through social media.

Although the story needed to discuss the students' demonstration, we did not want to simply report on it as an isolated event or "news of the day." We wanted to provide a broader, more affirming story about our students, their passion for social justice, and the numerous ways in which they channel that passion into active citizenship.

Results:
Since UCM published the story on December 8, 2014, it has received 2,440 views, 2,288 of which are unique. Approximately 540 views came from the university's home page, which featured the story from December 8–18, 2014. Readers' average time on page during this period was 3 minutes, 30 seconds, more than 1 minute longer than the site-wide time-on-page average for news content.

Students involved in the demonstration were pleased to see the story and shared it on social media.