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So, What Is Media Literacy

Media literacy "provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and participate with messages in a variety of forms—from print to video to the internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a republic or democracy. Since the invention of the penny press, films, radio and television, media has and always will be the ability to apply critical thinking skills to the messages, signs, and symbols transmitted through mass media. The benefits of media literacy suggest it is valuable for people of all ages to learn to be critical media consumers. This is not to say that all media is impartial and non-bias when in fact many media outlets choose sides and often depict urban communities and citizens in a negative light. There are four core values we will examine throughout this course; Cognitive: the information that is being conveyed. Emotional: the underlying feelings that are being expressed. Aesthetic: the overall precision and artistry of the message. Moral: the values being conveyed through the message. In 1964 it compelled Malcolm X to stand before a crowd in New York City’s Audubon Ballroom, where he would be assassinated less than one year later and make it plain as only, he could: “This is the press, an irresponsible press,” he said. “It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. If you aren’t careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” Implicit bias impacts the way black communities are treated across practically all sectors of life in America, from courtrooms to doctors’ offices. The media is no different, whether it be the use of pejorative terms like ‘thug’ and ‘animal’ to describe protesters in Ferguson and Baltimore, or the widespread overreporting of crime stories involving black suspects in New York City. Television newsrooms are nearly 80 percent white, according to the Radio and Television News Directors Association, while radio newsrooms are 92 percent white. The percentage of minority journalists has remained between 12 and 14 percent for more than a decade. In this course we will tackle bias in media and plan a strategy to write a narrative that will impact our tribe as a whole.

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