Most folks remember Robert Reich as the diminutive Secretary of Labor in the Clinton administration. Reich did not curl up and blow away after his tenure with Clinton. He moved on to the University of California in Berkeley as the Chancellor’s Professor of Public Policy. He is also Senior Fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies.
If that were all he did there would be no reason to be writing about him now. However, Reich also runs a little group called Inequality Media. Reich and his group produce short, highly informative videos that focus on some aspect of public life in America today and usually offers solutions.
From the Inequality Media website on their vision and purpose:
Our ultimate vision is a United States where active participation by informed citizens restores the balance of power in our Democracy and creates an economy where gains are widely shared.
To inform and engage the public about inequality and imbalance of power.
WHAT WE DO
We are a nonpartisan digital media company with a mission. We produce compelling original video, share our content through social and traditional media to raise awareness about the issues, and partner with leading organizations to provide an avenue through which viewers can engage, mobilize, and take action.
Our videos are far from a dry college economics lecture—they contain entertaining and easy to understand graphics, photos, and animations. We explain the underlying economics, give the facts, and tie the issue back to the imbalance of power and widening inequality in America. Our formula takes moments in the news cycle and explains them in a way that ties in the larger story of a movement and desire for change. We believe in the power of narrative, and in the power of an informed and engaged public to bring about social change that will create a more level economy and more stable democracy.
Video topics have included universal basic income, the student debt crisis, free trade, the racial wealth gap, gerrymandering, infrastructure, corporate inversions, border adjustment tax, Medicare for all, and the role of the media in a democracy, among many others.
Inequality Media is a registered California 501(c)(3) nonprofit organized for educational purposes. Our associated organization— Inequality Media Civic Action—is a registered California 501(c)(4) social welfare organization.
Inequality Media’s videos have been viewed over 440 million times. With nearly 4.5 million social media followers from every state in the U.S., we have an average weekly reach of over 14 million and an average weekly engagement of over 1 million. Our engagement often rivals or bests people and organizations with double, triple, oven even quadruple our number of followers, including Bernie Sanders and Upworthy. We have partnered with over 50 leading organizations to produce and distribute videos. Our videos are distributed by MoveOn, Upworthy, Huffington Post, Salon, Newsweek, Alternet, Addicting Info, and Nation of Change, among others, and have been cited by our partners as instrumental to education, outreach, and engagement efforts.
Former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich and Emmy-award-winning filmmaker Jacob Kornbluth began their collaboration making short videos in 2009. The two then collaborated to create the feature documentary Inequality for All, which was released in 2013 and won the U.S. Documentary Special Jury Award for Achievement in Filmmaking at the Sundance Film Festival. Building off this momentum, Reich and Kornbluth founded Inequality Media in 2014 to continue the conversation about inequality with viewers.
Two realities motivate the work of Inequality Media:
1. The defining story of our economic times is widening inequality. In recent years, widening inequality of income and wealth has gained unprecedented public awareness, yet studies show that most Americans do not comprehend the depth of the problem or its devastating impacts. At this critical point, there is great need to give context to the economic moment and for the public to understand the bigger picture––how widening inequality undermines our economy and threatens our democracy, why this widening gap affects us all, and what we can do about it.
2. The importance of storytelling to policy change has been largely overlooked. All too often organizations and policy makers rely on data and facts to make their case, forgetting about the critical importance of storytelling to connect to and persuade audiences. This is especially true of economic policy, where policy leaders remain dumbfounded as to “why low-income Americans continue to vote against their economic interest. We need to take a new tactic. We need to engage both the head and the heart by telling stories that move and inspire, even as they inform and educate. Corporate America and the conservative movement have long understood and utilized the power of good storytelling to gain supporters, it is time progressives took notice and took action.
The videos come out weekly. They are definitely worth the investment of a few minutes – usually 3 to 5 minutes – for a perspective of current issues from the perspective that illustrates the inequality in this country.
Today we have posted two of his most recent efforts.