The Lack Of Media Literacy

When you think of September 11th, what comes to mind first? Is it the sound of people screaming, the individual testimonies of politicians, or the numerous images in the press and on television? No matter what you chose, they all of these, come from the media. Yet, one image in particular was fixed in the minds of many: the September 14th, 2001 TIME magazine cover with the chilling photograph of the Twin Towers on fire. September 11th is just one of many examples of how the media, images in particular are powerful tools that influence us all.

Yet, many people in today’s world do not know the correct way to use this tool. Understanding how the media affects us is vital. The media influences us physiologically, emotionally, politically, and socially. In the past, for example images were considered the truth; Yet, this notion no longer exists.

Media is a powerful tool of communication and represents specific time periods. One can learn a lot about a society of a certain time by looking at their media. The article, “Trends in Media” states that the media, is one of societies most important institutions.

Who is responsible for Media literacy? Is it our public education system, it is media corporations themselves, or are we each responsible for training ourselves? It is not just children that are vulnerable, we are all vulnerable citizens and are required to negotiate the risk of consuming certain medias like stated in Brian O’Neills’ the article “Media Literacy and Communication Rights-Ethical Individualism in the New Media Environment.” Like noted in the article, there are many ethical challenges that come from the digital world.

People become dependent on the media for their every day activities. Since people base reality on what they see, hear, and or read, the media is supposed to show the reality of events; the media can be looked at as a form on education. Yet, what if the media is not always right. What is they states false information or show a manipulated image. With our technology today, it is very easy for the media to trick us. I believe it is wrong to trick audiences who are not media literate. The consequences can be sweeping.

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One Response to The Lack Of Media Literacy

  1. zabc21 says:

    I agree that media literacy is an important topic that needs to be addressed in regards to who is responsible. First off, I think that the media industry needs to step up and enact stronger ethical and moral regulation. It should be the news companies and reporters obligation to not report stories that have been manipulated or exaggerated. I feel that for the most part this is the industry norm, but it has its flaws and people that won’t follow the norm.

    In regards to the public education system, I think this would be a good idea. My mother is a teacher, I work for the Council for the Great City Schools, and I am a product of the public education system, so I feel that I have a decent understanding of the public education system. I just do not see there being time for this type of instruction to be taught. Thanks to the No Child Left Behind Act, most teachers are forced to teach to the test, and unfortunately this is not on the test. In fact there are many things not on the test that should be encouraged in the public education system: foreign language, the arts, p.e, and even cursive writing (my mother’s school cut it out due to a lack of time). There is no doubt that the education system needs to be revamped and much more money pushed into the American education system. Maybe once that happens, media literacy can be incorporated into the agenda.

    I think the most applicable option for this type of knowledge comes from ourselves. The issue with this however is, how do you spread the message that this needs to be done? Through the media itself? Or is it inherent? I think that this is where a majority of the issue lies. You can’t spread the message of media literacy through open and public media use. (Technically you can, through things like PBS, NPR, etc, but medias similar to this all lack a wide user base). There always will be people that do practice media literacy, but this appears to be an elite few. The main issue is how to teach and spread this concept.

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