Voices of Media Literacy: International Pioneers Speak : James Potter Interview Transcript

DATE OF INTERVIEW: Tuesday, April 26, 2011
If you read a book every two minutes and never slept for a year then you’d be able to get through almost all the books published in the United States this year. And that’s just books; you wouldn’t be able to watch TV, surf the Internet or text friends.  We cannot possibly keep up with all media, so media literacy cannot be concerned with helping people keep up. Instead media literacy has to be more concerned with helping people use the media well to satisfy their own personal needs. We need to help people understand how to amplify the great many benefits of the media while avoiding the risks.
W. James Potter has been a professor in the Department of Communication at the University of California, Santa Barbara since 2001.  His research focuses primarily on media literacy and media violence, and he is the author of the class textbook, Media Literacy.  He began his career as a journalist and is former editor of the Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media.
Selected Questions:
What attracted you to media education?
What do you see as fitting the label “media literacy?”
How did the publication of your textbook, Media Literacy, come about?
What were some milestones that you’ve noted along the way, Jim, for yourself and for the field in general?
Were there surprises along the way that you hadn’t anticipated?
There are people who say that media literacy is not a field, it’s a movement, and other people say it’s a movement, not a field. What is your take, Jim?
Do you feel that the media literacy field has been moving along in a direction that you think is beneficial?
What do you feel is your most important priority to be working on right now?
For complete text of interview go to PDF.