Covering Crime and Safety in 2024: The New Narrative

Covering Crime and Safety in 2024: The New Narrative

Session Type(s): Panel

Starts: Friday, Jul. 14 9:00 AM (Central)

Ends: Friday, Jul. 14 10:15 AM (Central)

Room: Salon C-3/4

Many elected officials, journalists, and even advocates are stuck in a vicious circle when it comes to talking about crime and safety: Politicians equate voters’ concerns about crime with a desire for more “tough-on-crime” policies and the media often adopts a similar refrain.

New research from Vera Action makes clear that voters know the status quo is failing to keep our communities safe, and they want a solutions-oriented approach to safety over the same old “tough on crime” rhetoric. When candidates own safety as a kitchen table issue, and deliver  a comprehensive set of solutions head-on, they win. The media plays a central role in telling the full, nuanced story of what voters want their elected officials to do when it comes to safety. Vera Action’s messaging research and polling provides a data-informed foundation for this winning narrative.

This panel will feature a discussion with media figures, advocates, and pollsters talking about why the media falls into the “tough-on-crime” tropes, what the data is telling us, and how advocates can drive a more united and effective message.

This session is sponsored by Vera Action.


Insha Rahman

Insha Rahman

Insha Rahman is Vice President for Advocacy and Partnerships at the Vera Institute of Justice and Vice President of Vera Action, Vera’s 501c4 sister organization. She leads the development of Vera and Vera Action’s advocacy priorities and campaigns across the organization, partnering with government and communities to end mass incarceration, fight for immigrants’ rights, ensure dignity behind bars, and build safe, thriving communities for all. Insha is a nationally recognized expert on criminal justice, including messaging strategies to counter backlash and disinformation about crime, as well as bail reform. She has been quoted in dozens of outlets, from The New York Times, NPR, and PBS, to local and alternative media. Insha began her legal career as a public defender at The Bronx Defenders. She graduated with a BA in Africana Studies from Vassar College and earned her J.D. from the City University of New York School of Law.

Other sessions: Winning on Public Safety: How Progressives Can Combat GOP Narratives on Crime

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Julie Millican

Julie Millican

Julie has over 15 years experience in media research and analysis and has been with Media Matters since she first joined the organization as a researcher in 2005. As vice president, she helps implement Media Matters’ strategic initiatives and is responsible for executing day-to-day mission activities in the media intelligence, research and programs departments, as well as overseeing the organization’s efforts to combat online disinformation and hold tech platforms accountable. Julie has previously held various positions within the organization including chief of staff, deputy research director, and senior researcher. She has a B.S. in sociology and a M.S. degree in clinical psychology.

Terrance Woodbury


Terrance Woodbury is a founding partner and chief executive officer of HIT Strategies.

Terrance’s research focuses on people of color and millennials who have become the driving force of rapidly evolving consumer and electoral trends in both the United States and abroad. Prior to starting HIT Strat, Terrance was the Research Director at the public opinion research firm Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies where he conducted polling and focus groups for candidates in local, state, national, and international elections and for companies like Uber and Google. Before Brilliant Corners, Terrance worked at the Brookings Institution, where he researched and studied economic and demographic trends shaping the fast-growing urban communities.

Before deciding to become a data scientist, political work consumed Terrance professional life. He worked numerous campaigns at the local, state, national, and international level, holding every position on a campaign except the candidate.  Terrance has been featured in a variety of publications and media outlets including CNN, The Hill, and Bloomberg News for his expertise on the attitudes of young, diverse voters and the best messages to mobilize them.

Other sessions: First They Came for CRT ... Why Saving Democracy Means Defending Racial Justice, Combating Political Cynicism in Black Communities, A Working People's Narrative: Building a Winning Coalition Across Race and Place

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