What is Media Literacy?
"Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of communication. In its simplest terms, media literacy builds upon traditional literacy and offers new forms of reading and writing. Media literacy empowers people to be critical thinkers and makers, effective communicators and active citizens" (NAMLE).
Why do we need to be media literate?
Over the last century, media (defined here as all electronic or digital means and print or artistic visuals used to transmit messages) has evolved exponentially, particularly with the advent of the Internet and computer technology. As students, citizens, workers, and consumers, it is important for all of us to developp skillsets to be able to both understand various types of media and find the best ways to communicate using it. These widespread, rapid changes in media production and technology affect us all on a multi-sensory level, especially in the ways we consume, interpret, and analyze it.
With that in mind, media literacy is interdisciplinary, and often involves more than just one subject or genre. For exmaple, on a basic level, film and television media require a certain level of critical media literacy to be able to understand what's happening in a particlar movie or show. Beyond that, interpreting, analyzing, and communicating that information requires an even more critical eye, so to speak, and may result in projects like a video essay, a research paper, or even something as unique as a 'zine.
As students of Film & Screen studies, developing these skills is an important aspect of your education. Having the capability to consume media critically, as well as communicate your well-founded and researched analyses of that media successfully, is fundamental to your career in film, television, and screen production.
Organizations, Institutes, Research Groups and More:
US Center for Media Literacy. US based website with resources and archive of articles and lessons for teaching media literacy.
CodeSw!tch (NPR). Podcast series challenging the notion of a post-racial society through the lenses of human experiences at the cross-section of race, ethnicity, and culture.
Counterspin. FAIR's weekly radio show by Janine Jackson provides a critical analysis of news stories and mainstream media.
Mediacy: voiceED Radio Canada. Neil Andersen and Carol Arcus (Association for Media Literacy) analyze culture and current events from a media literacy perspective.
On the Media (WNYC Studios). Weekly investigative podcast with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield discussing how the media influences our world views.