|MEDIA LITERACY DEFINITIONS & QUOTES
"Media study does not replace text. It broadens and deepens our understanding of texts." Philip M. Anderson, "Visual & Verbal Thinking" in Media Literacy, A Reader
"We need a lot more critical thinking and media criticism taught in schools at a very early age." John Stauber author of "The Best War Ever" (from Sept.2006 interview)
"The more I grasp the pervasive influence of media on our children, the more I worry
about the media literacy gap in our nation’s educational curriculum. We need a sustained K-12 media literacy program—something to teach kids not only how to use the media but how the media uses them. Kids need to know how particular messages get crafted and why, what devices are used to hold their attention and what ideas are left out. In a culture where media is pervasive and invasive, kids need to think critically about what they see, hear and read. No child’s education can be complete without this."FCC Commissioner Michael Copps (prepared remarks at June 2006 event)
“the set of abilities and skills where aural, visual, and digital literacy overlap.
These include the ability to understand the power of images and sounds, to
recognize and use that power, to manipulate and transform digital media, to
distribute them pervasively, and to easily adapt them to new forms.”
2005, New Media Consortium's definition of New Literacies
"Media literacy empowers people to be both critical thinkers and creative producers
of an increasingly wide range of messages using image, language, and sound. It is
the skillful application of literacy skills to media and technology messages. As
communication technologies transform society, they impact our understanding
of ourselves, our communities, and our diverse cultures, making media literacy
an essential life skill for the 21st century."
(The Alliance for A Media Literate America, 2000)
"Media literacy is concerned with helping students develop an informed and critical understanding of the nature of mass media, the techniques used by them, and the impact of these techniques. More specifically, it is education that aims to increase the students' understanding and enjoyment of how the-media work, how they produce meaning, how they are organized, and how they construct reality.
Media literacy also aims to provide students with the ability to create media products. "
( Media Literacy Resource Guide, Ministry of Education Ontario, 1997)
“It would be a breach of our duties as teachers for us to ignore the rhetorical power of visual forms of media in combination with text and sound…the critical media literacy we need to teach must include evaluation of these media, lest our students fail to see, understand, and learn to harness the persuasive power of visual media.”
(NCTE Resolution on Visual Literacy)
"Media literacy refers to
composing, comprehending, interpreting, analyzing, and appreciating the
texts of...both print and nonprint. The use of media presupposes an expanded
definition of 'text'...print media texts include books, magazines, and
newspapers. Nonprint media include photography, recordings,
"Media literacy is concerned with
helping students develop an informal and critical understanding of the
nature of mass media, the techniques used by them, and the impact of these
techniques. More specifically, it is education that aims to increase
the students' understanding and enjoyment of how the media work, how
they produce meaning, how they are organized, and how they construct
reality. Media literacy also aims to provide students with the ability
to create media products."
"Media literacy refers to composing, comprehending, interpreting, analyzing, and appreciating the language and texts of...both print and nonprint. The use of media presupposes an expanded definition of 'text'...print media texts include books, magazines, and newspapers. Nonprint media include photography, recordings, radio, film, television, videotape, video games, computers, the performing arts, and virtual reality...constantly interact...(and) all (are) to be experienced, appreciated, and analyzed and created by students."
(SOURCE: NCTE, Commission on Media, Carole Cox, 1994, p.13)
"No matter what the source, information is only powerful if students know what to
do with it. As students are inundated with media messages, the challenge is not to amass
more information, but to access, organize, and evaluate useful information from a variety
of print and electronic sources."
"While media campaigns and other prevention strategies are essential ingredients
for reducing substance abuse among adolescents, it is simply not possible for any federal
agency, state organization, or private sector group to reach all young Americans with
compelling and frequent messages about the dangers of drugs. So, instead, we must help
give our young people the essential critical viewing skills to assess those messages--both
direct and indirect-- that glamorize drug-taking behavior, so that youth can see through
the glitz and glamour to the underlying social ills of substance abuse, and to prepare
their own prevention messages for peers, parents, and opinion leaders. We are learning
that media literacy can provide this vision and skill in a powerful way..."
"I firmly believe that more media literacy instruction can be very useful in our efforts to promote tolerance and combat violence. With the increased exposure of young people to an incredibly broad array of messages from an equally broad array of media messengers, itıs all the more important that we teach our young people how to make sense of what theyıre seeing, hearing, and feeling. We need to teach them how to separate fact from fiction and fantasy. Only if we provide appropriate guidance can we expect our young people to understand that not everything on the screen has a place on the street corner or in the classroom." US Attorney General Janet Reno, in interview with Cable In The Classrooms Al Race, 1999
"Film and television, newspapers, books and radio together have an influence over individuals that was unimagined a hundred years ago. This power confers great responsibility on all who work in the media...[as well as] each of us who, as individuals, listen and read and watch....it is not the case that we have no power over what we take from the media." "When the media focuses too closely on the negative aspects of human nature, there is a danger that we become persuaded that violence and agression are its principle characteristics...good news is not remarked on precisely because there is so much of it." Dalai Lama (Tenzin Gyatso's) 1999 book Ancient Wisdom, Modern World": Ethics For A New Millennium" p.210-212
" Media literacy courses can give young people the power to recognize the difference between entertainment, television that is just bad and the information they need to make good decisions."
What they need is "a clear awareness of how the media influences, shapes and defines their lives." Richard Riley, US Secretary of Education, December 13, 1995
"Media education can and has revolutionized the way we think about public health.
The shift to a focus on the environment rather than the traditional focus on the host or
agent has come about largely because of media education. We've begun to see all kinds of
problems that used to be seen as individual choices or flaws -- from violence to substance
abuse to eating disorders -- as partly the result of the environment in which people make
their choices. And the most important aspect of our environment, of course, is the
"Its important that parents and citizens really lobby for media literacy to
be taught in schools, starting with kindergarten. Were doing our students a real
disservice if we dont teach them to become critical consumers of the media."
"It is no longer enough simply to read and write. Students must also become
literate in the understanding of visual images. Our children must learn how to spot a
stereotype, isolate a social cliche, and distinguish facts from propaganda, analysis from
banter, and important news from coverage."
"We must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and
Media literacy is a basic tool for citizenship in an Information Society.
Patricia Aufderheide, Associate Professor of Communication, American University, writes about the necessity of becoming media literate in a report of The National Leadership Conference on Media Literacy: "Media literacy, the movement to expand notions of literacy to include the powerful post-print media that dominate our informational landscape, helps people understand, produce, and negotiate meanings in a culture made up of powerful images, words, and sounds....
A media-literate person - and everyone should have the opportunity to become one - can decode, evaluate, analyze, and produce both print and electronic media. The fundamental objective of media literacy is critical autonomy in relationship to all media. Emphases in media literacy training vary widely, including informed citizenship, aesthetic appreciation and expression, social advocacy, self-esteem, and consumer competence" (Aufderheide, l993).
"The development of curricula in media and visual literacy will not only sharpen
people's ability to decipher their world, but it will also contribute to a broadening of
the public sphere. Literacy is never just about reading; it is also about writing. Just as
early campaigns for universal print literacy were concerned with democratizing the tools
of public expression--the written word--upcoming struggles for media literacy must strive
to empower people with contemporary implements of public discourse: video, graphic arts,
photography, interactive digital media. More customary mainstays of public
expression--expository writing and public speaking--must be resuscitated as well.
If, as Aristotle said, "The unexamined life is not worth living," so, in
today's life, "the unexamined culture is not worth living in."