Starting Point: Life Before Television?


This article originally appeared in Issue# 40-41

Even those of us who remember it have forgotten how much the pictures on the small screen have molded and changed our world.

If the impact of TV on our culture is incalculable, it is not to be ignored or taken for granted. So for our issue #40 — celebrating our 10th Anniversary — we decided to put together a special double issue to closely examine the one medium that, in only 40 years, has revolutionized so much of our lives.

Incorporating a variety of perspectives — from Elayne Rapping's fresh look at television genres to George Gerbner's cultural critique and Les Brown's economic analysis — our writers help you recognize that the influence of the magic box goes far beyond prime-time ratings or viewer statistics. I hope you'll find this issue as provocative to read as it was to prepare.

And if you're a regular reader, you've already noted the subtle but dramatic changes in the appearance of Media&Values. Many thanks to volunteer design consultant Ginny Livingston who worked with art interns Warren Nung and Karen Theusen to create a cover format and a clean graphic restyling throughout the magazine.

But there's more! Our transformation doesn't stop with this anniversary issue. As noted on the back cover, we are planning to expand Media&Values into a national media organization. The back cover, inside and out, suggests ways you can help. Thanks for the first ten years. Together, we'll make it to twenty.

Author Bio: 

Elizabeth Thoman, a pioneering leader in the U.S. media literacy field, founded Media&Values magazine in 1977 and the Center for Media Literacy in 1989. She is a graduate of the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and continues her leadership through this website, consulting, speaking and as a founding board member of the Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA).