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Thank you
for joining us at

Knight Media Forum


We are thankful for your interest in our project, and we're eager to keep the project alive. We have compiled a deck supplements our discussion at KMS. In the deck below, we list key takeaways with some examples initial work in the Twin Cities, and provide information about what we hope to build in the future with additional support. 


Hot off the presses (literally)! LIFTxVoices' inaugural workshop highlighted Detroit's trusted messenger and beloved columnist Darren Nichols. Thank you PopUp Docs for working with us to make this possible! 

check this out too.

Our backstory

2023 Symposium Highlights


We observed a critical need for more advanced understanding of trust networks and trusted messenger roles in marginalized communities. Our future project developments will clearly center these findings and foundations. 


First and foremost, we hope to continue our research while also expanding our team so that we are able to support more communities. Given feedback from the inaugural LIFT Symposium, we hope to continue planning and hosting a public facing community-centered event that highlights research findings and has critical discussions about proposed solutions, and connects trusted messengers, creating opportunities for networking, resource sharing and restoration. Our 2023 symposium focused on trusted messengers in more traditional media making spaces but expansions would include trusted messengers across industries including: journalism and media makers; faith leaders; coaches and youth program leaders; activists; and others. In partnership with the MSU School of Journalism, the symposium include support from the Neal Shine Endowment Fund, and would included a Neal Shine honorary and lecture. Criteria for this lecture centers change agents in newsrooms. 


The LIFT x Voices programming is a public-facing data-driven storytelling project that allows researchers from the LIFT project to collaborate with media makers to visualize the data we collect for the more general public. We partner with Pop Up Docs™ – a mobile media production company that offers a framework for engaging youth and young adults in visual journalism production through apprenticeships – to help tell the stories we find in the data, from the narratives of trusted messengers to the specific concerns of Black communities. During our first workshop, ten Michigan highschool students produced a short documentary-style interview production about the named trusted messenger and Detroit Free Press columnist Darren Nichols. For future workshops, Sony will provide additional technology with state-of-the-art camera, sound and video production equipment rentals.  This program will produce both a traditional short documentary and an interactive, web-based documentary presentation of trusted messengers that impact Black communities


LIFTxClimb programs educates and supports the unique needs of trusted messengers, focusing on resilience, retention, and recovery. Previously built into the LIFT Symposium programming, we seek to expand workshops and training opportunities in standalone programs throughout the year. We have several confirmed partnerships that will help with programming.


With the Diversity Pledge Institute (DPI), we connect LIFT's research-backed trusted messenger training with DPI's DEI landscape and sustainability research to identify ways to maximize DEI investments for newsrooms and individuals. 


In collaboration with the MSU Study Abroad, we’ll offer opportunities to connect students and trusted messengers  with each other and the world in a series of programs that builds communication skills and issue-specific knowledge, while  providing mentorship and community.


Working with the Institute for Journalism and Natural Resources, the Knight Center for Environmental Journalism, and the Center of Journalism Studies, we’ll develop a speaker series dedicated to highlighting trusted messengers’ concerns about climate and environment related issues.


In between hope and despair, we see a space for change -- a change that is sustainable, reparative, and scalable.

We want to see that change to the finish line. 

So we've started dreaming and developing a suite of programs that we know will help realize the changes we hope to see. 

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