Media Literacy Week is Nov. 2-6 in the U.S. and Canada. I am Tessa Jolls, president of the Center for Media Literacy in Los Angeles, and I am a long-time advocate for media education. Everyone needs the skills and the know-how to take media apart and put it together - and how to be responsible digital citizens.

The Core Concepts of Media Literacy are:

  • All media messages are constructed.
  • Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
  • Different people experience the same media message differently.
  • Media have embedded values and points of view.
  • Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Hardly anyone gets media literacy training in schools, yet this understanding is central to being excellent managers of information, wise consumers, responsible producers and active participants in today's media culture. Media literacy is education for living and learning today.




Edit: Thanks for your questions and comments! I've enjoyed talking with you.

Comments: 68 • Responses: 30  • Date: 

Empigee10 karma

When you say you want to make media literacy more important in education, what level of education are you talking about? Are you arguing for teaching this topic at the elementary or high school levels, or only at college level? For younger students, how would you suggest explaining complex topics such as the construction of media?

MedialitTessa12 karma

Media literacy applies to all levels of education because even infants become early media consumers. On one end of the spectrum, babies are in cars with the radio or with video; preschoolers are using tablets or smartphones (witness a toddler kissing an iPad as he or she "face times" with a grandparent). From preschool to high school and college, students need to learn the concepts of media literacy so that they can become learners who are prepared to deconstruct and construct media anytime, anywhere. On the other end of the spectrum, adults also need media literacy education because they did not grow up learning the concepts of media literacy and how to apply them to media messages, nor did they have the powerful technologies and social media that we now have when they were young.
Young students can definitely learn about construction -- through art projects, where they are media makers, to taking photos and learning about camera angles and lighting. There are a myriad ways to teach about construction -- and to teach about deconstruction at the same time, as a way of assessing creative work. One wonderful project that second graders did was to have a three-part assignment: to decorate a container (any shape desired) on the inside, to show how the student saw him/herself privately (on the inside); and then to decorate the container on the outside, to show how the student wished to represent him/herself publicly. Then, the students were asked to pick a picture(s) and description of themselves that they might want their parents to share on a Facebook page, so that they could learn that these "images" of themselves -- these representations -- could be shared far and wide, with many different people-- and whether they felt that this type of public representation was different in nature than the "container" representations that they previously constructed. This is a powerful way to explore issues around identity and representation for even young children -- and the possibilities are only bounded by a parent or teachers imagination in trying to teach these important lessons.

mvartan7 karma

I have never heard of "media literacy", this is a really cool concept. As a software engineer, I'm interested in: what role does technology play in media literacy? Both in its future and its affect since the rise of smart phones and clickbait culture.

MedialitTessa3 karma

An excellent question! Software is a "text" -- and as such, it operates according to the Five Core Concepts of media literacy (cited in the AMA description). Technology is central to media literacy because in order to be media literate, we must understand how technology facilitates media use and also the economic underpinnings for technology development.

So, for example, when we "google" keywords, what comes back to us and why? What is included and what is omitted? How do we know that the text is credible and accurate? How can we find out? Critical thinking takes time and reflection -- and so one of our goals in media literacy education is to teach youth and adults a "heuristic" -- the Key Questions -- as a starting place to quickly deconstruct media messages and to internalize these Key Questions so that they become an automatic process. This takes teaching and learning to apply the Key Questions and it takes practice and repetition, much like learning to tie shoes or learning to swim.

It's not instant learning but it is learning that lasts a lifetime, and it applies to all technologies and media. Media literacy is the NEW literacy -- learning to acquire content knowledge (through infinitely available content) through a set of process skills (which can be applied consistently and then expanded or contracted as needed).

aetherious3 karma

The more technically minded media literacy advocates are on board with and the like. Just as advocating for universal read/write literacy was a huge goal in the past (and still today, in may parts of the world), teaching people to be literate in code and its implications will create better 21st century citizens.

Aside from the increased accessibility, there are already companies like MomentFeed (localized mobile marketing) working on harnessing the mobile medium specifically.

As for clickbait, I find it hard to question before I click sometimes. I think that proper training can at least assist people in dismissing the more asinine clickbait soon after opening it though.

MedialitTessa5 karma

Yes, and now in Great Britain, for example, schools are teaching children to code starting at age 6. Since the media are totally dependent on software and digital formats, to be "media literate" also means that the codes and conventions -- the unique languages -- associated with code and with algorithmic thinking are part of the understanding that's needed to decode and encode. I hear you on click bait -- but though training may not be a total "cure," it at least offers some hope for reducing the pain or enhancing the joy.

miss_miss6 karma

Thank you for your work and for this AMA!

What would you say are your go-to fact check sites for shooting down bad science/info you see on social media?

MedialitTessa2 karma

I wish I could cite one site! But science is a vast topic, and fact-checking requires an array of "tools" that can help sort fact from fiction and fact from opinion. Quantitative evaluation is central to science, and so knowing how to evaluate methodology and statistics and also applying the Key Questions to the information is useful. Comparing sources of information (and applying the Key Questions) and checking out the "authorship" and credibility of the sources is useful. In the end -- no information is perfect, but we use the risk management techniques of media literacy to help decide how to decide.

TunaFace20006 karma

Hi! I think this is such an important topic. My sister is a high school teacher, and she does a whole unit in her classes on media literacy. Are there any resources you recommend that could add value to her lessons?

MedialitTessa4 karma

Yes, media literacy is essential in preparing young people -- and adults -- for life in the global village. I'm delighted to hear about this teaching occurring at the high school level, where time is at a premium and yet the skills of media literacy are so important. There are many resources available to teach media literacy -- many of them free -- and also, "texts" are infinitely available through the internet, YouTube and videos, social media, websites, games, textbooks.

However, what makes for excellent media literacy practice is to have a consistent framework to apply to deconstruction and construction of these texts -- in other words, teachers (and users) need a quick methodology for applying critical thinking to ANY text, anytime, anywhere. The Center for Media Literacy (CML) has such a framework (which is evaluated and research-based) called Questions/TIPS, and in addition to the framework, CML offers many free materials as an "onramp" to media literacy, with books and lesson plans. We have a free monthly newsletter addressing media literacy topics with an activity called MediaLit Moments, demonstrating how to apply the Core Concepts and Key Questions to a text. The Five Key Questions are a valid and easy way to connect media literacy to lessons in any subject.

edit:added link

CivilityBeDamned0 karma

My sister is a high school teacher, and she does a whole unit in her classes on media literacy.

I think my head would have exploded in high school from the irony of a paid public employee delivering a carefully contrived message from a position of authority regarding the important considerations of blindly accepting carefully contrived messages from different purported authorities.

MedialitTessa2 karma

Yes, the irony! With media literacy education, we are encouraging citizens to free their minds and express their views, through establishing habits of mind and an understanding of responsibility to themselves and their communities. I agree -- enough to make one's head explode! We see a lot of AHA! moments with media literacy education.

CivilityBeDamned5 karma

What's the difference between media literacy, and a modicum of critical thinking skills? Other human beings communicate towards you with the exact same set of criteria that you just laid out, and media is simply a larger scale version of that idea. Is there any lesson besides "don't be a gullible idiot who believes what he's told without reason" that you can offer?

I understand you can obfuscate the simplicity of the subject by pretending that different forms of media have different considerations...but do they really? I don't see anything in this discussion whose relevance wouldn't be erased by basic communication and critical thinking skills.

MedialitTessa3 karma

Certainly, teaching "media literacy" is another way of enabling people to learn to think critically -- and in fact, from an education standpoint, teachers are asked to teach critical thinking and the challenge is "how?" So understanding the 5 Core Concepts and 5 Key Questions of media literacy are a pathway to teaching critical thinking, and a pathway that teachers can wrap their minds around.

The telling aspect of media literacy is that most people -- with no training and practice on a formal level -- don't know the basic Concepts and Key Questions or how to apply them. Time after time, when we work with students (adults and children alike), they don't understand that media are representations -- not reality. People don't understand their relationship with commercial media, and the fact that they themselves are often the "product" being sold, or that social media are not "free" -- that individuals are "paying" by sharing their eyeballs, their clicks, their histories, their personal information and their content. And so the understanding of our lifelong relationship with media and how media operate is NOT generally understood -- yet it has an impact on all of us, and we are actively participating in the relationship with media.

The very idea of the constructed nature of media is a very big idea -- probably the biggest idea in the media literacy field. And I'd like to recognize Len Masterman as the big thinker who first recognized the importance of construction and representation in media.

As to the different forms of media having different considerations -- yes, they do. An advertisement, for example, is designed to sell us something, but while the ad may be selling a product, it also incorporates a worldview -- lifestyle, values and points of view that may or may not appeal to a particular audience -- to encourage affiliation and to promote the brand association with the audience.
If this were easy, there wouldn't be so much money involved, and so many cases of "success" and "failure," however one may define that.

CivilityBeDamned3 karma

The very idea of the constructed nature of media is a very big idea

I'm not sure I grasp this notion. All communication is constructed. Media is simply communication directed at a larger audience, right?

Regardless, best of luck. Critical thinking should be pushed and admired in any venue.

MedialitTessa2 karma

Thank you for the good wishes! And thanks for commenting on the idea of constructions.

There are lots of ways to tackle this idea of "All media messages are constructed." Simply put, media messages are made by someone -- which automatically implies that someone has edited the message, someone has made choices about what to include and what not to include, someone has decided who to target the message to and who not to target to, someone has framed the message and someone has a reason for sending the message in the first place. Because these choices have already been made by someone, we must recognize that the message is a representation of reality, not reality itself. So for example -- when you see a video about bears, what do you "see?" Typically people say they see bears or vegetation -- but what they are actually seeing are PICTURES of bears or vegetation. This distinction is important because with media, we are always getting second-hand information that has been chosen by someone to share. A media message may have an audience of one or an audience of millions, but regardless, it is still a construction.

And to have a bit of fun with the idea of construction -- we can look at the idea in a very large sense, in that our world is constructed, our nation is constructed, our communities our constructed, our individual identities are constructed, and even our brains are constructions, because we all "see" the world in unique ways since we are unique individuals.

gunsforthehomeless5 karma

Here is a current headline on a very popular news site:

"Pentagon boils over with frustration at Obama White House..."

It is just a link to another article. Below it is another headline / link:

"Airman accused of minor harassment faces more prison time than deserter Berghdahl!"

The two headlines are linked to the same article on another site. No further information regarding the content of the article is given on the news aggregator site.

How might receiving news in such a presentation affect people who indiscriminately consume this media?

MedialitTessa6 karma

Headlines have always been "constructed" or designed to attract attention and so this "technique" is not new (this relates to Core Concept #2, "Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules." Research has long been done to discover what headlines are most appealing, what headlines "convert" to clicks or readership and on and on. Why? Remember Core Concept #5, "Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power." (CML refers to "power" in a broad sense of influence or ideology.)

I casually "googled" the keywords "overall headline preferences" and I turned up numerous articles on how headlines affect readership, click conversion etc. Here's an example of such an article:

On how such headlines might affect the audience, Core Concept #3 says "Different people experience the same media message differently." In other words -- there are as many responses as there are people, and people's level of media literacy definitely affects their ability to discern.

MatrixDanielson5 karma

As a Media Literacy teacher myself, I often wonder how many other educators are also covering this important, timely subject. What are networks available for teachers to share best practices and projects?

MedialitTessa3 karma

We don't have specific numbers on how many teachers are incorporating media literacy into their curriculum -- but we know that it is teachers at the grassroots level, who understand how critical media literacy is, who have kept media literacy education alive through the years. The European Union (EU) requires media literacy in each of its member countries, and the British government's regulatory agency, OfCom, has a media literacy unit that provides research. Canada requires media literacy in its curriculum. Australia strongly embeds media education in its curricula, and media literacy education has advocates throughout the world. The CML provides information on organizations and journals (see link below) and the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) sponsors a conference every two years in the U.S. NAMLE also coordinated Media Literacy Week in the U.S. for the first time this year.

MatrixDanielson3 karma

Great info - Thanks. I believe momentum is really building for teaching media lit at all levels. I think the tipping point will be parents and teachers realizing that with kids spending 6-9 hours a day in front of screen (see new study in the news this week) they need help managing those influences. ML gives students those tools.

MedialitTessa2 karma

Yes, the internet and the screen time that is happening now have propelled a demand for media literacy education. Finally, parents and teachers are seeing that we are needing a fundamental shift in how we educate children to be successful in the world. Content information is infinitely available today on the internet. Previously, we had to go to school or a library or to a teacher/expert to get information. So, content was valued as scarce. In the past, adults were more available to help students "navigate" content because the adults were actually providing the content; today, adult guidance is scarce as students surf the web. Today, we are still valuing content as scarce -- when it is plentiful -- and we are still valuing adult guidance as plentiful -- when it is now scarce. And so our education system needs to adjust to the new realities, and provide media literacy education as a fundamental, so that students have an internalized "guidance system" to help them learn anywhere, anytime with the process skills they need to make meaning from information.

fredrodgers4 karma

Is there a recommended way to getting the older generations interested and progressing down the path of education towards media literacy?

Often I find that end users, be it word of mouth parroting from others or broad acceptance of 'you saw it on ___ it must be true (i.e. Dr. Oz)' nearly impossible to combat in conversations with loved ones. As we witness and take part in the continued march of consumerism, advanced forms of psychology are being employed to return the desired ROI to the corporations. I figure the only way to combat this deliberate mis-information is this concept of media literacy.

MedialitTessa7 karma

I certainly agree that media literacy is essential to combatting the notion that "if it's reported in media it must be true." The alternative is censorship and a loss of the freedom of speech, which is a value that fortunately, we hold dear in the U.S. The ultimate question is "who will censor the censors?" Which brings us back to Core Concept #1: All media messages are constructed -- they are re-presentations or representations of reality, and they must be interrogated as such.

As to the "older generations:" it is very difficult to reach older generations, which is why so much of our concentration on media literacy education is in schools. But it's not impossible! We would like to see media literacy taught THROUGH media -- advertising, programming, social media, whatever it takes. Certainly, national campaigns like tobacco cessation, environmental issues (remember the old campaign "Every litter-bit hurts") have worked to educate the public about urgent social issues. Media literacy in this day and age is every bit as important!

madeamashup3 karma

Who is the most influential thinker contributing to our understanding of media literacy and why is it Marshall McLuhan?

MedialitTessa2 karma

Although McLuhan has undoubtedly been influential in the early thinking, I believe that Len Masterman, a now-retired UK professor, has contributed most to our understanding of media literacy. Len was the first to realize that we weren't just studying media genres such as tv and radio at the time -- we were studying the representations that these genres promoted and disseminated, and that these representations were present in any media in any genre (even today). Len also was a master educator, and he provided the foundation for the pedagogy that media literacy education relies upon to this day, so that media literacy can be taught in a consistent, replicable, measurable and scalable way. His books, Teaching the Media and Teaching Television were ground-breaking and best sellers. Len's work was the impetus behind the articulation of the Core Concepts of media literacy, by Canadians including Barry Duncan and John Puengente. The story behind this early development of media literacy is told in the CML's Voices of Media Literacy project, found in first-person interviews with 20+ early media literacy pioneers.

agnesmarsala3 karma

I do a lot of social media work at my job. Do we really need to be on every platform or is it best to concentrate on just a few?

MedialitTessa3 karma

It all depends on your audience -- who are you targeting?

agnesmarsala3 karma

I work at a hospital so pretty much everyone

MedialitTessa5 karma

The emphasis on specific platforms depends on how the hospital wants to prioritize and target audiences -- certain platforms will reach certain audiences more efficiently and effectively, and that is part of the consideration on how to budget time and financial resources to utilize certain media. As part of its framework, CML also provides 5 Key Questions for Construction (or Producers):

  1. What am I authoring?
  2. Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity and technology?
  3. Is my message engaging and compelling for my target audience?
  4. Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles and points of view in my content?
  5. Have I communicated my purpose effectively?

forget_the_alamo3 karma

Are you a fan on Noam Chomsky? Either way, what do you think of his criticism of the media?

MedialitTessa3 karma

Definitely, Chomsky is someone to note on media literacy and media criticism, but I wouldn't call myself a fan -- I would call myself interested. In the Opinion section of the Wall Street Journal on Monday, Nov. 2 2015, there was a quotation from an interview with author Tom Wolfe by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Wolfe was quoted as saying: "I make a distinction between intellectuals and people of intellectual achievement...An intellectual feeds on indignation and really can't get by without it. The perfect example is Noam Chomsky. When Chomsky was merely the most exciting and most looked-to and, in many ways, the most profound linguist in this country if not the world, he was never spoken of as an American intellectual. Here was a man of intellectual achievement. He was not considered an intellectual until he denounced the war in Vietnam, which he knew nothing about. Then he became one of American's leading intellectuals. He remains one until this day, which finally has led to my definition of an intellectual: An intellectual is a person who is knowledgeable in one field but speaks out only in others."

globlobglob3 karma

I don't think its entirely fair to say chompsky is talking about things outside his area of expertise. I mean he pioneered many linguistic theories about how the words we use inform the way we see the world and reality as a whole. Wouldn't you say that heavily plays into media criticism?

MedialitTessa4 karma

Yes, I agree that Chmpsky's linguistic theories are useful for media literacy and media criticism -- in those arenas, he was well within his realm of expertise and is a person of intellectual achievement.

forget_the_alamo2 karma

Okay. Good point. Do you think that the media "manufactures consent"?

MedialitTessa3 karma

Media seek audiences and represent "reality" to audiences, but audiences have the power to consent -- or not. This is why the skills of media literacy are essential; all citizens need to be able to explore the Key Questions. These are the Key Questions for Deconstruction:

  • Who created this message?

  • What techniques are used to attract my attention?

  • How might others understand this message differently?

  • What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in -- or omitted from -- this message?

  • Why is this message being sent?

These Key Questions illuminate the Core Concepts of how media operate as a global system, and provide a systematic way of examining the media system. We can also apply the Core Concepts as we are producers of media, and CML offers Five Key Questions for Construction as well.

There is more media production as we are all journalists now; and yet at the same time there is more mass media concentration of ownership. The more citizens understand the constructed nature of media, the more empowered they are to think for themselves.

forget_the_alamo2 karma

What are some positive trends and negative trends within the Core Concepts?

MedialitTessa2 karma

Could you clarify what you mean by "trends?" We see the Core Concepts as being timeless -- they apply to digital media, social media and basically any media, whether print or video or social etc.

forget_the_alamo3 karma

Do you follow the work of Media Matters for America?

MedialitTessa2 karma

I've heard the name but I don't follow their work. When looking at media-oriented sites, CML advises people to again -- apply the Key Questions. What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in -- or omitted from -- the message? In other words, what is the framing and the bias present?

CML also advises people to be aware of what media literacy is NOT:

  • Media bashing is NOT media literacy, although media literacy sometimes involves criticizing the media.
  • Media production is NOT media literacy; although media literacy should include media production
  • Teaching WITH media is NOT media literacy; one must also teach ABOUT media; and
  • Media literacy does NOT mean "don't use media," it means "use carefully, think critically."

YUNoDrinkMas3 karma

Hello Ms. Jolls, I'm really glad you are doing this AMA. I had no idea this was a recognized week, I fully support your cause, and I have three questions.

  • I am a graduate student in psychology working on my dissertation on media portrayal of victims and perpetrators of crime (early stages of narrowing the topic). I was wondering if you have any thoughts or resources that I could delve into regarding viewer perception of crime in general as portrayed/reported by the media? I am looking at race/gender/authority of perp./type of crime/amount of knowledge of both parties by viewers as variables, as well as gathering history of my actual participants to identify correlates of stereotypes based on media viewership characteristics.

  • What do you see as the biggest factor in shaping how someone views media?

  • What is your favorite go to TV show, and why is it Friends?

I'm in the pretty early stages of my literature review so I would greatly appreciate your opinion if you wouldn't mind donating your time :). Thank you very much in advance!

MedialitTessa3 karma

Thank you -- I'm glad to hear of your work, too!

I like the direction you're going on your dissertation; there is a need for much great understanding of the impact of violent media on individuals and society. I am sure you are aware of the American Psychological Association on the 4 effects of media violence: desensitization; greater appetite for media violence; less willingness to be "the Good Samaritan," and a belief that the world is a more violent/fearful place than it really is. Most people are not aware of these effects, but they definitely impact our society, and I hope that your study illuminates these effects at work. CML did a longitudinal evaluation of its curriculum: Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media. The Beyond Blame curriculum (aimed at middle school students) taught about the 4 Effects of Media Violence and used a media literacy methodology for exploring violence in the media. Teachers reported to us (informally) that students are often so desensitized to media violence that they literally couldn't "see" violence or identify incidents of violence, and so we had to work on helping the students recognize violence and have an understanding of what violence is. In doing your work on examining viewer perception of crime as portrayed/reported by the media -- what viewers "see" or "experience" is very subjective, and this is a subject unto itself. Please keep me posted on your work!

On the biggest factor of how someone views media: a very complicated question! The life experience and lifestyles, values and points of view that a media user brings to the message undoubtedly affects how they make meaning from the message; and how the message producer frames the lifestyles, values and points of view in the message is definitely a factor in finding an audience.

And I'm chuckling as I think about my favorite TV show -- it's Outlander! Followed by The Good Wife. I guess that tells you a lot about me!!

YUNoDrinkMas2 karma

Thanks for responding so swiftly! I edited my original comment to exclude the ice cream question and include a more 'AMA-related' question, but I'm glad you caught the pre-edit version :)

I am fully aware of the 4 effects, and the final one-avaliability bias of violent crimes-is primarily what prompted this topic. Thank you so much for the link to that study, I might PM you later if I have further questions if that's alright.

I hadn't narrowed my target population with regard to age because that could be an entire study itself, but now I'm considering reducing another variable, and including multiple age groups to identify cohort effects. I'm struggling to narrow the scope of the study because of time constraints if you can't tell :)

MedialitTessa2 karma

Funny how the rapidity of being able to change text and to disseminate to a vast audience can create confusion rather than clarity!! Once you edited your original comment I went back and edited out my ice cream reply -- so now we have edits upon edits which goes to show how slippery the slope is!! :)

bulk2win2 karma

Why 'media literacy' and not practical/deductive Logic?

MedialitTessa6 karma

You are so right -- the labels we use make a difference! Media literacy is a term that is used world-wide, and also a field that has generated a body of research and knowledge during the past 50 years (and some would say more). We like the term "Media Literacy" because it is broad, and given the penetration of media in every home, everyone is a media critic in some form or fashion. Parents certainly understand how important media is in their children's lives!

Literacy has traditionally addressed reading and writing texts -- today, we are expanding the notion of texts to be visual, audio/music, choreography, story, digital, code, algorithms, formulas etc. Decoding and encoding texts of any sort involves a process for accessing, analyzing, evaluating and creating -- which is where the notion of media literacy as a heuristic comes in.

Now to get to your specific question: media literacy certainly incorporates practical/deductive logic, but it also incorporates arenas like rhetoric, semiotics, linguistics and the arts. This is why I like to say that ultimately, media literacy is about risk management -- about using the knowledge from many different disciplines to be make meaning and discern/embed media messages from the standpoint of our own best interest.

bulk2win2 karma

Thanks for the reply Tessa, I have a question regarding the core concepts of CML.

  1. All media messages are constructed.

  2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.

  3. Different people experience the same media message differently.

  4. Media have embedded values and points of view.

  5. Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Do you by any chance introduce validity and soundness in any of your lessons? How does your program treat invalid statements like: "Cassandra owns a Mercedes-Benz. Rich people own Mercedes-Benz automobiles. Therefore, Cassandra must be rich."?

How exactly would would a Student following your program parse such information?

MedialitTessa2 karma

Good one! Media literacy methodology includes a process we call "close analysis" or "deep deconstruction." Through this process, we encourage discerning fact from opinion, fact from fiction, and also we emphasize the use of textual evidence to support opinions, assumptions, inferences and observations. There would be a number of ways to get at the logical fallacy here, but one way would be to look at the message using the Key Question (based on Core Concept #4 above), "What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in -- or omitted from -- this message?" In this case, there is the omission of the idea that not only rich people may own a Mercedes-Benz (a gift?), or that not all Mercedes-Benz are expensive (a junker?), and that the idea that Cassandra must be rich is an assumption based on insufficient evidence. I might add that one of my favorite textbooks is "Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric," by Nancy Cavender and Howard Kahane -- which must be a copywriter's guide to creating ads! And a media literacy teacher's guide to challenging students!

stillragin2 karma

Marshall McLuhan was a major driving force in how I came to understand media and its shaping of my culture and perception of life. (that and art studies in general)

I'm constantly trying to spread the word to young people, especially young mothers and women, to understand what media means to them and question the media targeting their interests (and most often pocket books) without making them paranoid. To allow then to act more in control through their awareness!

Maybe in context of my circumposition: Can you give some examples of "Media have embedded values and points of view."?

MedialitTessa2 karma

Amen to Marshall McLuhan being such a strong influence! Barry Duncan, one of the founders of media literacy in Canada, was one of McLuhan's students and Barry and his fellow Canadians have made an enormous contribution to media literacy. Your approach makes sense to me -- you're using a philosophy of "empowerment through education," which is what CML encourages, also.

On examples of "Media have embedded values and points of view," it's important to associate the Key Question with this Core Concept. The Key Question is "What values, lifestyles and points of view are represented in -- or omitted from -- this message?" Every media message has an author who inevitably brings their own experience, knowledge and points of view to a message. No author can possibly represent every point of view in a single message, although authors may select certain points of view to be included in the message. Inevitably, someone or something is left out of a message. And so every message is contained in a "frame" which holds text and which resides in the bigger context which is NOT included within the frame.

For example, the pro-Anna websites advocate for eating disorders as a "lifestyle" rather than a deadly illness. The lifestyles, values and points of view are framed and easy to observe because they are so out of the mainstream. What is more subtle are the embedded values and points of view in women's magazines or beauty advertisements, for example.

Lamarwpg2 karma

How much of what CNN/Fox News puts on the air is complete and utter bullshit?

MedialitTessa2 karma

What CNN and Fox News and every other news outlet do is re-present, or represent, information -- we are always getting an edited version of what happened or didn't happen. Once audiences understand the Core Concept that "All media are constructed," they are more equipped to perceive the inevitable bias that is inherent in all media messages. There is no "objective" news -- although there are certainly ethics that can be incorporated.

informareWORK2 karma

Douglas Rushkoff is one of my favorite writers. How has his groundbreaking work on media factored into your curriculum?

MedialitTessa2 karma

Doug's work is excellent. Present Shock is a head-snapper! These perceptions about the overwhelm that people are now experiencing with media are right on -- which is why students need to be prepared with process skills that enable them to either slow down or speed up their meaning-making from media. By internalizing a methodology -- a process -- for using media, we give children powerful tools so that they are in charge of their relationship with media and so that they are empowered to make wise choices. CML's framework and curricula incorporate what we call The Empowerment Spiral (based on Paulo Freire's work) of Awareness, Analysis, Reflection and Action. By learning about this framework, students have an opportunity to explore their personal relationship with media, and also to connect their use of media to social action, if they so desire. These are skills of citizenship in a media age.

MatrixDanielson2 karma

I agree, Rushkoff is a tremendous resource. I used his "Merchants of Cool" FRONTLINE for years with my high school students. His (much) newer "Generation Like" is outstanding. Hits the nail on the head and teens recognize that right away. It is free online here: FRONTLINE also posts transcripts which is great for teachers.

MedialitTessa3 karma

Great resources! Thanks for sharing.

konese1 karma

I think media literacy has a lot to do with active participation and curation on the part of the consumers, don't you think? Are you aware the android app Moculos ( They find a very simple way to purify media consumption to what is valueable to the consumer. You should check it out: bold, direct, to the point.

MedialitTessa2 karma

Yes, media literacy encourages active participation and curation on the part of consumers, and technology is affording many more opportunities to enable people to be active. Thanks for calling my attention to this APP and sharing your opinion about it. However, I will point out that media literacy encourages skepticism and freedom of choice; it is not a directive way of telling people what to think or do, but instead, it offers a process of inquiry so that, hopefully, wise choices may be made.

poorscribbler1 karma

As a high school ELA teacher what are three core media literacy concepts I should be ensuring my students learn before they leave my course?

MedialitTessa1 karma

What's the problem with all five core concepts? Each of them contributes a different perspective and description of how media operate as a global system. To leave any out is giving an incomplete picture of the system at work.