Just want to make sure that I share a new web series from Starbucks called Upstanders. Fast Company wrote about it as well as lots of other media because it is inspiring journalism that demonstrates that people all across America are taking action and helping to wipe out incivility. It is a series of storytelling about people we see living their lives everyday who are doing good and making a difference.
If you have read my blog, you know that I’m keenly interested in Civility in America. At Weber Shandwick, we’ve been conducting research on this audacious topic since 2010 and I have been patiently waiting for companies or someone to do something about this coarsening of discourse. Just this weekend, I was reviewing some notes for an interview on Monday on our study and how most Americans expect incivility to worsen in the next few years. In the course of a week, Americans experience 6.2 acts of incivility on average, even more so when you are a Millennial (7.2 times per week) or GenZ (8.4 times per week). I applaud these Starbucks’ episodes that reinforce all that is good in this country. It is well worth your time to watch an episode of how people have helped wounded veterans, provided assistance to poor kids to attend college, accepted people different from themselves into neighborhoods and made room for people with disabilities. As the article says, “All of this is perhaps unexpected from a company whose primary purpose is to sell you a Venti latte…” but if you have been following the CEO of Starbucks and the recent strain of CEOs standing up to be on the right side of social issues, you will understand that companies are no longer just standing by and phoning it in. Starbucks’ CEO Howard Schultz has a consistent track record of speaking up and not standing by as incivility ravages our public squares. Schultz, along with a former Washington Post journalist and now VP at the Seattle-based company, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, produced the series to inspire and engage us all. It truly is humanity journalism of the finest kind. The series shows how people are finding solutions, not just standing by. Podcasts are coming as well.
What’s also worth noting here is that the content is actually written and produced by the CEO and SVP. It is not handed over to a team of marketers, copywriters and videographers. This handmade-series makes it even more genuine, more authentic and more engaging. And simply plain old good journalism.