In March 2008, the US Department of Education’s Office of Educational Technology convened an information session on media literacy that was open to all department employees. Kimberly Brodie, Special Assistant in the Office of Educational Technology, led the discussion. Tessa Jolls of the Consortium was an invited speaker, as well as Doug Levin of Cable in the Classroom, the U.S. cable industry’s education foundation.
In this issue of Connections, we examine the ways in which stereotypes and prejudice surface in media, and discuss ways in which media literate citizens can become agents for positive social change. We explore dehumanizing representations of the Other. In our second article, we investigate the connections between use of stereotypes in television news and the social capital of communities.
In our research section, we reveal how reality television producers mine the emotions, bodies and identities of cast members for spectacle and profit. In our second article, we excavate the values and beliefs embedded in reality television with a close examination of American talent and makeover shows. We also discuss lifestyle television as a laboratory for the development of democratic citizenship skills. The University of Rhode Island held a symposium on the Historical Roots of Media Literacy Education, and the Elizabeth Thoman Media Literacy Archive was unveiled.
In our first article, two prominent rhetoricians explain the differences between propaganda and persuasive discourse that stimulates engaged citizenship. Next, we review the premise of Edward Herman and Noam Chomsky's landmark Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media, and, with some assistance from media literacy scholar Renee Hobbs, we discuss responses to forms of propaganda which are more pervasive and indirect.
The widespread availability of new media has generally encouraged the view that anyone can practice citizen journalism with relative ease. But without learning the digital citizenship skills which media literacy training provides, citizen journalists may be as likely to engage in self-censorship as they are to incur legal liability for the content they publish. Also introduces Center for News Literacy.
In our research section, we review current research and trends in professional development for K-12 educators, and discuss the opportunities which recently developed models of professional development present for dissemination of media literacy concepts and pedagogy.
We discuss the four effects of media violence, and review recent media effects research, as well as research supporting media literacy as an educational intervention. In our second article, we apply theories of audience response to violent media to the American action film. And we examine the possibility that media producers may be shaping audience views of what constitutes realistic media violence. Also Conducting a Close Analysis of a media text teaches fundamental skills for media literacy.
We discuss how different theories of moral development can be applied to questions about ethical use of media. In our second article, we trace the connections between the ethics of media use and the role that media literacy plays in reclaiming our power as citizens.
We review the Supreme Court case which struck down the 2005 California law banning sale of violent video games to minors, and explain why media literacy education could have fulfilled the intentions of the law. In our second article, we follow the progress of media literacy initiatives in the European Union, as well as problems that need to be resolved. An in-depth look at media violence was recently published by SAGE, and the Media Literacy Research Symposium brought together media literacy advocates from around the world.
The principle of media construction and other key media literacy concepts make it possible for students and adults alike to critically examine environmental news at a time when the stakes of environmental policy decisions could not be higher.