Skip to main content
The following timeline, produced by Frank Baker, was organized at the request of Webster University media professor Art Silverblatt. An earlier version appears in the “Praeger Handbook of Media Literacy” (Greenwood, 2013). I am responsible for the content. Anyone who would like to make corrections, suggestions, additions or deletions should send correspondence to me:
A Media Literacy Timeline
Significant Developments (includes events, publications, conferences and more)
The history of media education cannot be told without correlating it with the rise and development of the mass media themselves (cameras, radio, television, film, the Internet). Presented here is a media literacy timeline, with a special note about events, publications, legislation, conferences and proceedings.
Exact date unknown: camera obscura principle and device invented (source)
1833: modern day Zoetrope (a device that produces the illusion of motion from a rapid succession of static pictures) invented by British mathematician William George Horner (Source)
1877: the Praxinoscope, an early animation device, was invented in France in 1877 by Charles-Émile Reynaud. (source)
1888: One of the first patented motion-picture film cameras was designed by Louis Le Prince (Source)
1891: Thomas Edison creates/patents the kineotographic camera: The first motion picture camera patented in the United States (Source)
1900: The first known public exhibition of projected sound films took place in Paris (Source)
1905: Variety begins covering entertainment industries such as vaudeville, films, television, radio, music, and theater (Source)

The Moving Picture World, a weekly movie industry periodical published during the silent film era, becomes the official organ of the Moving Picture Exhibitors’ Association. ceased publication in 1927 (Source)
The Motion Picture Story Magazine begins publication, later (1914) shortened to Motion Picture Magazine, continued publication until 1951 (source)
1912: First Radio Act of 1912: US law that mandated that all radio stations in the United States be licensed by the federal government (Source)
1913: Kodakery, “A Magazine For Amateur Photographers“, was published from September, 1913 through 1932, at the price of 5¢ per copy. All purchasers of a Kodak or Brownie cameras received a free one year subscription (Source; 1920 issue)
The Motion Picture News (magazine) first published, ceased publication in 1930 (Source)

The Cinegoer Magazine first published;

Photoplay Magazine, first published (until 1960)


“Motion Picture Education” authored by Ernest A. Dench. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing Company
1918: The Art of Photoplay Making: another of the early books on teaching film education (Source: Scenes of Instruction)
  • The Society for Visual Education, Inc. (SVE) was established as a for-profit educational publisher dedicated to the use of new technologies in teaching. In 1919, the technology was the 35mm motion picture. Source
  • “The Relative Value of Motion Pictures As An Educational Agency” published in Teacher’s College Record
1921: SVE publishes first issue of its journal “Visual Education” Source
  • Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America in charge of administering the Hayes Code film censorship system
“The Film: Its Use in Popular Education” is published; available online

1923: Radio Station WEAF in New York accepts the first “radio ad.” (Source)
41TlKcW9xVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg (244×346)
Pictorial Beauty on the Screen:
early film book that examined issues of visual design
(Source: Scenes of Instruction)
1924: Journalism Education Association founded.
1925: Association of College University Broadcasting Stations (ACUBS) is founded, later (1934) changing its name to the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB)
1926: Federal Radio Commission established (lasted until 1934) Source
  • Electronic television was first successfully demonstrated in San Francisco by Philo Taylor Farnsworth (Source)
  • The Jazz Singer becomes the first feature film originally presented as a talkie (Source)
  • Close Up: described as literary magazine of film, first published (until 1933) (Source)
    • All About Television: first magazine devoted to television (Source)
1928: “Motion Pictures in History Teaching” study is published (Yale University Press)
1929-1932: Payne Fund Studies, early research into effect of movies on children’s behavior (details here)
  • Academy Awards given for the first time
  • Frank Freeman authors, Motion Pictures in the Classroom; An Experiment to Measure the Value of Motion Pictures as Supplementary Aids in Regular Classroom Instruction (published by: Houghton Mifflin) Source
  • British Institute of Adult Education formed: encouraged use of film in education and in life (source)
First issue of Sound Waves, early film magazine, published
1930: Motion Picture Production Code created: spelled out what was acceptable and unacceptable content for motion pictures
1930: Advertising Age magazine and Hollywood Reporter newspaper begin publication (Source)
  • The National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) creates a Committee on Photoplay Appreciation; it made recommendations about film use in English classes and generated study guides for teachers. (Source)
  • Bertolt Brecht pens “Radio as an Apparatus of Communication”
  • Sight & Sound (film magazine) published for the first time by British Film Institute (BFI)
  • “Culture and Environment” published (authors FR Leavis and Denys Thompson address the role/impact of film in education) (source)
  • British Film Institute (BFI) founded (Source) as a result of a recommendation in a report on Film and National Life (source)
  •  Ohio State University professor Edgar Dale authored “Motion Pictures And Youth: How To Appreciate Motion Pictures: A Manual of Motion Picture Criticism Prepared for High School Students” a book for use in secondary school film appreciation courses
Example of NCTE Cmte on Photoplay Appreciation’s study guide to film “Little Women” 1933
Communication Act passed; FCC replaces the FRC and regulates radio (Source)
Scholastic publishes “How to Judge Motion Pictures: A pamphlet for high school students”
“Photoplay Appreciation in American High Schools,” written by William Lewin, published by NCTE/D. Appleton-Century (review)
  • American Association of University Women, (AAUW) based in Madison WI, begins a monthly newsletter, Better Broadcasts News
  • National Film Society of Canada launched (Source)
  • “How to Judge Motion Pictures,” authored by Sarah McLean Mullen (source: The Moral of The Story Was Great: Frank Capra and Film Education in the 1930s)
  • “The Content of Motion Pictures,” authored by Edgar Dale, published by The McMillan Company
First published in 1935 and revised many times.
Image source
NCTE distributes the monthly journal Photoplay Studies: A Magazine Devoted to Photoplay Appreciation, featuring writings by NCTE members and included classroom study guides to popular films.
Published by National Education Assn.(NEA) Department of Secondary Teachers(Source: A Moment in NCTE History, delivered at the 2009 NCTE Board of Directors Meeting, by Leila Christenbury, Council Historian, NCTE Annual Fall Convention, Philadelphia PA)
1936: Pope Piux XI issues encyclical on Motion Pictures, warning about the impact of film on youth
Photojournalism LIFE magazine first published; ceased as a weekly in 1972, printing occasional issues, and making a comeback from 1978-2000; published in some Sunday newspapers 2004-2007.
  • Institute for Propaganda Analysis founded
  • NCTE Advocates for Using TV in instruction – “In the late 1930s, NCTE President Holland D. Roberts (1937) noted that English teachers who did not use this new medium in their teaching ‘will be swept into the dust bin of the past,’ and by the mid-1940s, NCTE was noting that mass media were ‘one of the three basic functions of English teaching.'” (Source: March 6. 2012 NCTE Email newsletter to members)\
  • “Motion Pictures in Education: A Summary of the Literature: Source Book for Teachers and Administrators,” by Edgar Dale, Fannie W. Dunn, Charles F. Hoban, and Etta Schneider (Source)
  • “Talking Pictures: How They Are Made, How to Appreciate Them”, Barrett C. Kiesling
  • Film and School: A Handbook in Moving-Picture Evaluation, by Richard Lewis/Helen Rand, published by NCTE’s Committee on Standards for Motion Pictures and Newspaper
  • Visualizing The Curriculum is published, authored by Charles Hoban and others – Source
  • “Teaching with motion pictures: a handbook of administrative practice,” Issue 2.
    Co-authored by Edgar Dale and Louis Ramseyer, published by The American Council on Education
“How to Appreciate Motion Pictures,” authored by Edgar Dale, published by MacMillan Company
  • the first televised baseball game between Princeton and Columbia universities is broadcast (May 17) Source
  • National Film Board of Canada founded (Source)
1940: “Behind The Mike” premieres: designed to bring the listener behind the scenes of radio broadcasting (Source)
Good Listening newsletter debuts in Madison WI- monthly list of programs and news of radio, TV (Source: National Telemedia Council)
1944: NCTE publishes Skill In Listening pamphlet aimed at appreciating drama via radio (Source: Radio- A Means, Not An End, Lennox Grey, The English Journal, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Mar., 1951), pp. 144-149)
1947: US House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), began an investigation into the Hollywood Motion Picture Industry. (Source)
1948: CBS Evening News (with Douglas Edwards) becomes first regularly scheduled network TV news program
  • Fairness Doctrine enacted by the Federal Communications Commission (Source)
  • Emmy Awards given for the first time (Source)
  • NBC launches Camel News Caravan (with John Cameron Swayze)
  • National Association for Better Radio and Television, an advocacy group organized (Source)
  • British Society for Education in Film and Television (SEFT) founded; publishers of Screen Education (Source: International Progress in Screen Education Stuart Selby The English Journal, Vol. 52, No. 6 (Sep., 1963), pp. 428)
  • Red Channels, pamphlet is published.. listing the names of 151 writers, directors and performers who were said to be members of subversive organisations (Source)
  • See It Now with Edward R. Murrow premieres on CBS TV network
  • Congress holds its first hearing on the effect of television on children (Source)
  • The National Association of Educational Broadcasters conducts four (violence) monitor studies of TV programs in New York City, New Haven, Los Angeles, and Chicago during the years 1951–53. (Source)
The Mechanical Bride” Marshall McLuhan’s book about advertising is published
  • The Today Show premieres on NBC TV network
  • National Association of Radio and Television Broadcasters adopts a code to regulate broadcast content. (Source)
  • First publication of SCREEN an academic journal of film and television studies based at the John Logie Baird Centre at the University of Glasgow and published by Oxford University Press (source)
ACBB begins Look-Listen Project: an opinion poll “to educate us television consumers to understand and to recognize quality in programming” (Source: pg 12, Telemedium, The Journal of Media Literacy, Vol. 53, Number 1, Summer 2006)
TV Guide magazine first published, cover features Lucille Ball’s son Desi
American Council for Better Broadcasts (ACBB) formed in Madison WI, published “Better Broadcasts, Better World” newsletter
Standards of Photoplay Appreciation, published
  • National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) establishes The Committee for the Study of Television, Radio and Film
  • ACBB holds its first annual conference in Columbus OH
  • “English Language Arts–Films for Classroom Use” handbook distributed nationwide
  • Wisconsin Senator Joe McCarthy challenged by CBS’ Edward R Murrow on “See It Now” broadcast
1954-55: the United States Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee to Investigate Juvenile Delinquency held a series of hearings on the impact of television programs on juvenile crime. (Source)
1955: the phrase “media literacy” is first used in a column in an issue of the ACBB’s regular newsletter (issue No. 8, page 4, January 1, 1955)
1956: NAEB merges with the Association of Education by Radio-Television (forerunner to PBS)
Vance Packard authors “The Hidden Persuaders” pioneering and prescient work revealing how advertisers use psychological methods to tap into our unconscious desires in order to “persuade” us to buy the products they are selling.” (Source: product description)
  • CBS broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow, chides broadcasters in famous speech to the convention of Radio TV News Directors, declaring: “This instrument (television) can teach, it can illuminate; yes, and it can even inspire. But it can do so only to the extent that humans are determined to use it to those ends. Otherwise it is merely wires and lights in a box.”
  • Adman Leo Bogart authors The Age of Television
  • Television and the Child – An Empirical Study Of The Effect of Television On The Young
    A study by The Nuffield Foundation / Oxford University Press 1958
The Midwest Program on Airborne Television Instruction (MPATI) experiment used “planes equipped to transmit broadcast signals sent ‘classroom television’ to member schools that were equipped to receive the transmission.” (source)
  • John Kennedy and Richard Nixon meet in the first of 3 “live” televised presidential debates
  • Marshall McLuhan produces “Understanding New Media” a curriculum for high school students, but it proves too advanced for use in schools; He wrote the curriculum material for the National Association of Educational Broadcasters (NAEB) under a contract with the Office of Education, US Department of Health, Education and Welfare (Source; Quoted/Source)
Cover of: The impact of educational television by National Educational Television and Radio Center.
“The Impact of Educational Television” written by researcher Wilbur Schramm
  • FCC Commissioner Newton Minow labels television “a vast wasteland”
  • UNESCO publishes “Teaching About The Film” (available here)
  • NCTE publishes first Studies In The Mass Media journal
    (1961-1964) (Source: A Moment in NCTE History, delivered at the 2009 NCTE Board of Directors Meeting, by Leila Christenbury, Council Historian, NCTE Annual Fall Convention, Philadelphia PA) Archived Univ of Illinois
  • NCTE publishes “Television and the Teaching of English,” written by Neil Postman and the Committee on the Study of Television
  • “Television in the Lives of Our Children” edited by Wilbur Schramm published
  • Walter Cronkite becomes anchor of CBS Evening News (title held until 1981)
  • International Meeting on Film and Television Teaching held at Leangkollen, Oslo, Norway; lays the framework for “critical viewing skills” education. (see also Theory & Practice of Screen Education, paper)
Historian Daniel Boorstin writes The Image: A Guide to Pseudo-events in America
  • Understanding Media: The Extensions of Man by Marshall McLuhan is published
  • John Culkin becomes one of the first to advocate for media literacy education in American schools
  • UNESCO publishes “Screen Education: Teaching A Critical Approach to Cinema and Television”
    (available here)
  • US Senate committee holds hearing on television programming and youth
1965: NCTE publishes book “The Motion Picture and The Teaching Of English”
  • Broadcast historian Erik Barnouw publishes first (A Tower of Babel) of three books about American broadcasting history. (A Golden Web, 1968; The Image Empire, 1970)
  • Learning by Television, an assessment of the state of instructional and educational TV, published by The Fund for the Advancement of Education
  • The Canadian Association for Screen Education (CASE) formed (source)
  • Talking About The Cinema: Film studies for young people” published by British Film Institute, Education Dept.
  • The Medium is the Massage: An Inventory of Effects by Marshall McLuhan is published
  • Public TV Act passes Congress
  • Researcher George Gerbner starts Cultural Indicators Research Project
  • Action for Children’s Television (ACT) formed by Peggy Charren/Judy Chaflen/Evelyn Sarson/Lillian Ambrosino to improve the quality of children’s TV (disbanded in 1992) (Source; Source; Source)
  • Joe McGinniss’ “The Selling of the President” is published
  • Iowa educators begin to use Media Now, an innovative media literacy/awareness curriculum (Source)
  • Wilbur Schramm authors “Learning from Television What The Research Says” published by National Assn of Educational Broadcasters
  • Mister Rogers Neighborhood premieres on PBS
  • “Sesame Street” educational TV series starts on educational TV stations
  • The Center for Understanding Media founded in NYC, by executive director John Culkin
  • NEA National Education Association) passed a resolution recommending critical viewing curricula to counteract the presumed ill effects of media violence (Source)
  • Phrase “visual literacy” first coined by John Debes (Source)
  • First visual literacy conference held Rochester NY
  • Accuracy in Media (AIM) founded
  • CASE (Canadian Association for Screen Education) sponsored the first large gathering of media teachers in 1969 at Toronto’s York University (Source)
  • FCC Commissioner Nicholas Johnson authors “How To Talk Back To Your Television Set”
  • NCTE passes Resolution on Media Literacy
  • Films Deliver: Teaching Creatively with Film” authored by. Anthony Schillaci and John M. Culkin, Editors
  • PBS (Public Broadcasting Service) is started (successor to NET: National Educational Television)
  • “Proceedings of the First National Conference on Visual Literacy” published (Source)
  • ACT petitions FCC to ban advertising from children’s programming
  • First National Symposium on Children and Television held, sponsored by ACT, Kennedy Memorial Hospital for Children and the Boston University School of Public Communications (Source)
  • Final TV commercial for cigarettes is broadcast
  • “Exploring Television An Inquiry/Discovery Program” is published by Loyola University Press
  • Glencoe Press publishes book “The Celluloid Literature”
  • “The Uses of Film in the Teaching of English: Report,” issued by Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. English Study Committee
  • Second national symposium on children and television / held at the Palmer House Hotel, Chicago, Illinois (Source)
  • McDougal-Littel publishes “Coping with The Mass Media”
  • National Association of Media Educators, forms in Washington DC
  • US Surgeon General forms Advisory Committee on Television and Violence; issues report: Television and growing up: The impact of televised violence (available here)
  • NCTE & Committee on Film publish “The Compleat Guide to Film Study” consists of essays designed to help teachers approach film
  • NCTE passes resolution “On Preparing Students With skill for Evaluating Media” urging members to teach “television and radio evaluation” in K-12; it also urges colleges and universities to prepare teachers to help students develop evaluation skills (Source: pg 27, Telemedium, July/August 2006)
  • “Who Is Talking To Our Children?” Third National Symposium on Children and Television, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut (Source)
ways011 premiere of BBC visual literacy TV series “Ways of Seeing” hosted by John Berger
  • John Berger’s book “Ways of Seeing” first published in the US, companion to the BBC TV series of the same name
  • The Center for Understanding Media, in collaboration with the American Library Association, publishes book “Films Kids Like”
  • McDougal-Littel publishes “Coping with Television”
  • Association for Childhood Education International publishes Children Are Centers for Understanding Media”
  • National Association of Broadcasters adopts a revised code limiting commercial time in children’s programming to twelve minutes per hour.
  • FCC issues Children’s TV Report and Policy Statement (first guidelines on programming practice recommendations)
  • “The Language of Advertising Claims,” by Jeffrey Schrank, is published in the March issue of “Media and Methods” magazine
  • TV Action Book (by Jeffrey Schrank) published by McDougal-Littel
  • Media Action Research Center (MARC) is created; history of the group can be found here; MARC undertook extensive curricular projects, beginning with “Television Awareness Training” in 1977. (Source)
  • Father John Culkin authors “From Film Studies to Media Studies” in “Media & Methods” periodical
“Children and Television Lessons from Sesame Street” published
  • Ford Foundation report recognizes the need for mass media education in America’s schools: “there was an important need for widened and improved instruction about the mass media in the public schools” (Source: The ABC’s of TV Literacy, by Robert Abelman, from Television & Children, Winter 1983, Volume 6/Number 1)
  • “The report of a Television and Children conference funded by the Ford, Markle, and National Science Foundations recommended several courses of study as part of a curriculum. Among the subjects were analysis of media appeals, interpretation of non-verbal cues, review of the broadcasting industry’s history and structure, the economic aspect of television, analysis of program formats, analysis of values within television content, standards for criticism of content, and production skills.” (Source: Media Literacy and the Policymaking Process: A Framework for Understanding Influences on Potential Educational Policy Outputs, retrieved August 8, 2010 source)
  • NCTE passes Resolution on Teaching Media Literacy
  • Children’s TV & The Arts: Fifth National Symposium on Children & Television, held in Atlanta, GA (Source)
  • National Education Association publishes booklet “What Research Says to the Teacher: Visual Literacy “
Understanding mass media
Understanding Mass Media textbook published by the National Textbook Company (NTC)
  • “New season: The positive use of commercial television with children” written by Rosemary Lee Potter, is published
  • The Children’s Media Workshop opens, by John Schaefer (director, co-founder), in New York City (Source)
  • Marie Winn’s book “The Plug-in Drug” is published
  • “Television Awareness Training” curriculum created and distributed by the Media Action Research Center; considered “the first comprehensive course about television published in the US” (Source)
  • Television & Children begins publication by the National Council for Children and Television
    (published regularly until 1990)
first issue of Media & Values, edited by Elizabeth Thoman, is published by the Center for Media & Values, based in Los Angeles CA
  • US Office of Education and the Library of Congress co-sponsor “Television, The Book and the Classroom” conference (Source) the result of which was the decision to fund four “seed” projects for elementary and secondary teachers to teach students critical viewing skills. The four organizations who received seed funds were:
    1. Southwest Educational Development Laboratory
    2. WNET 13, New York City
    3. Far West Laboratory for Educational Research and Development
    4. Boston University (Source: Media Literacy and the Policymaking Process: A Framework for Understanding Influences on Potential Educational Policy Outputs, retrieved August 8, 2010 source)
  • Wisconsin Senator William Proxmire quashes critical viewing TV curricula by awarding it a “Golden Fleece” (for wasteful federal spending) (see pages 3-4)
  • The Media: How to Talk Back conference held at Ryerson Polytechnical Institute , precursor to formation of AML (Canada) (Source)
  • The Association for Media Literacy (AML) founded in Toronto–was the first comprehensive organization for media literacy teachers in Canada. (Source)
“Doing The Media: A Portfolio of Activities, Ideas, and Resources” published by The Center for Understanding Media
Television, The Book, and the Classroom Library of Congress publishes “Television, The Book and The Classroom” the proceedings of a 1978 seminar co-sponsored by the Library of Congress and the U.S. Office of Education. (Source)
  • NCTE establishes “Commission on Media”
  • “How to Treat TV with TLC, The ACT Guide to Children’s Television” is published
  • “The Cinematic Eye” television series about film, broadcast by PBS

    “The New Literacy The Language of Film and Television” published by NCTE

    “Learning from Television: What The Research Says,” published by the National Association of Educational Broadcasters,
    “The Animation Book: A Complete Guide to Filmmaking from Flip Books to Sound Cartoons” written by Kit Laybourne, is published
  • “Teaching About Television” by Len Masterman published
  • Television Literacy, published by the Boston University School of Public Communication (Source)
  • “Inside Television: A Guide to Critical Viewing” is published by WGBH (Boston) and the Far West Laboratory for Education Research And Development (Source)
  • “Critical Television Viewing: A Language Skills Work-a-Text” is produced by WNET/Thirteen (New York) and published by Cambridge The Basic Skills Company (Source)
  • “Training Manual for Teaching Critical Viewing Skills,” produced by Southwest Educational Development Laboratory (Source)
  • UNESCO Convenes “New Directions in Media Education,” International Media Literacy Conference in Toulouse, France (report)
  • Broadcaster Ted Turner launches Cable News Network, aka CNN
  • “3,2,1, Contact” educational science series premieres on PBS
“Growing Up on Television: The TV Effect – A Report to Parents” is published
  • “The Way We See It: A Project to Develop Analytical Televiewing Skills,” curriculum published (Source)
  • Music Television (aka MTV) premieres
  • Children from Australia, and two sites in the US are inter-connected via satellite: “Kids-4” sponsored by American Council of Better Broadcasts as part of their 28th annual conference (Source: National Telemedia Council)
“Teaching television: how to use TV to your child’s advantage” published by Dorothy Singer, Jerome Singer and Diana Zuckerman  Based on their work at the Yale Family Television Research and Consultation Center, the book provides a wealth of concrete information and activities, most of which were originally used in a school-based instructional program. After a brief but comprehensive review of the effects of TV viewing, and a question-and-answer chapter addressing parents’ concerns, nine chapters provide “”lesson plans”” on virtually every aspect of television. (Source)
  • UN Grunwald Declaration on Media Education emanated from International Symposium on Media Education at Grunwald, Germany
  • “We must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds.” (UNESCO, 1982)
  • US Surgeon General issues report on TV & Violence (10 year anniversary of the original report)
  • The Media Mirror: A Study Guide on Christian Values on Television, published by the US Catholic Conference (Source)
  • American Council for Better Broadcasts becomes The National Telemedia Council
  • “Ogilvy on Advertising” published by adman David Ogilvy
  • “Changing Channels, Living (Sensibly) With Television” co-authored by Peggy Charren (ACT) and Martin W. Sandler
  • Final episode of the CBS sitcom M*A*S*H becomes the most watched TV program in American History: 105.97 million viewers, a record held for 27 years (Source)
  • FCC lifts its children’s policy guidelines and allows TV stations to air as many commercials in a given time period as they thought necessary. (Source)
  • NCTE’s Committee on Television Literacy publishes pamphlet Helping Children Use Television Wisely: A Guide for Parents, which advocated a “positive relationship with television” and offered eleven guidelines for television watching (Source: A Moment in NCTE History, delivered at the 2009 NCTE Board of Directors Meeting, by Leila Christenbury, Council Historian, NCTE Annual Fall Convention, Philadelphia PA)
  • Jesuit Communication Project (JCP) started in Canada by Father John Pungente Source
“Mind And Media: The Effects of Television, Video Games, and Computers” is published
Double Exposure: Composing Through Writing and 
Film . Upper Montclair, NJ: Boynton/Cook
“Using Television In The Curriculum” by Rosemary Lee Potter, published by Phi Delta Kappa Educational Foundation
1985: Neil Postman writes “Amusing Ourselves to Death”
UK media educator Len Masterman’s book Teaching The Media is published
TV And Schooling, Published by the British Film Institute Dept. in association with University of London Institute of Education
“The Spot: The Rise of Political Advertising on Television” is published by MIT
Understanding Mass Media, early textbook, authored by Jeffrey Schrank
Natl Textbook Co; 3rd edition (October 1985)
  • Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) founded in New York City
  • The Second International Television Studies Conference held in London
  • Television & The Classroom published, written by Don Kaplan
written by Don Kaplan, book with activities, lessons, worksheets on “helping students understand the ways the media affects them”, 1986, The Instructor Publications, Inc.
  • Report on Film Study in American Schools. Prepared by the NCTE Committee on Film Study.
  • The Ontario Ministry of Education released guidelines for Media Literacy in English Language Arts, making Ontario the first North American educational setting to mandate Media Literacy in its curriculum. (Source)
  • Strategies for Media Literacy, formed by Kathleen Tyner in San Francisco, published newsletters (Source)
Learning The Media An Introduction to Media Teaching
co-authors, Manuel Alvarado, Robin Gutch, Tana Woolen
published by MacMillan
  • PBS broadcasts multi-part series called Television, hosted by newsman Edwin Newman
  • BFI opens the Museum of the Moving Image in London (Source)
  • Media literacy symposium coordinated by Jean-Pierre Golay, director of the Centre d’Initiation aux Communications de Masse (CIC), Lausanne, Switzerland (source)
Mass Media & Popular Culture, Canadian textbook, authored by Barry Duncan, published by Harcourt, Brace, Jovanovich, Canada
National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) report “Toward Civilization” recommends “learning the vocabularies of the arts, including the media arts, is an essential tool for understanding, and perhaps one day communicating, in the medium of television.”
The Assembly on Media Arts is formed: part of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) it actively published a newsletter called “Media Matters” for more than 10 years. The newsletter included news about media literacy projects, book and film reviews, interviews with experts, and lesson plans. Source
“Television and its audience: international research perspectives” published by BFI: a selection of papers from the Second International Television Studies Conference, held in London, 1986
  • “Bill Moyers: The Public Mind” series airs on PBS, includes programs entitled “Consuming Images” and “Illusions of News”
  • Strategies for Media Literacy founded in San Francisco by Kathleen Tyner; begins publishing quarterly newsletter (Source)
  • Trent Think Tank meeting at the University of Trent examined future of media education in Canada (Source)
book cover AML submits to the Ontario Ministry of Education The Media Literacy Resource Guide, Intermediate and Senior Divisions
Center for Media & Values becomes The Center for Media Literacy
  • First North American Media Education Conference, held in Guelph, Ontario, sponsored by the Association for Media Literacy with the help of the Jesuit Communication Project
  • “Meet The Media” media education book published in Canada, co-authored by Jack Livesley, Barrie McMahon, John Pungente, Robyn Quin
  • Children’s Television Act enacted by Congress
  • Media researcher George Gerbner launches the Cultural Environmental Movement
  • NCTE publishes Visual Media for English Teachers: An Annotated Bibliography
Bright Ideas Media Education, elementary book with activities published by Scholastic UK
Cable in the Classroom Magazine | October 2006 | New Strategies in the Media Center
Cable In The Classroom magazine launched; one of its major focus is media literacy education, ceased publication in August 2009
HBO airs “Buy Me That” the first of three media/advertising literacy awareness programs, aimed at young people, co-produced with Consumers Reports Television
  • Canadian Association for Media Education (CAME) formed in Vancouver (Source)
  • “Literacy In The Television Age: The Myth of the TV Effect” (first ed) by Susan B. Neuman is published

Summer 1955 issue
BFI’s Monthly Film Bulletin and the quarterly Sight and Sound, were merged to become the monthly Sight and Sound (source)
Media & You An Elementary Media Literacy Curriculum text published; includes lesson plans and activities
Television and the American Child by George Comstock and Hae J. Paik published
Center for Media Education (CME) founded; aim to continue work of Action for Children’s Television (Source: pg 706, Handbook of Children and The Media, Sage)
  • NCTE’s Commission On Media along with the Assembly of Media Arts organized the first NCTE Conference on Media Education (June 26-28) at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School of Communication in Philadelphia.(Source: communication with William Costanzo; also pg 38, Dictionary of Media Literacy, by Art Silverblatt; William Costanzo, Steven Goodman, Ben Fuller and Joan Lynch conference coordinators).
  • National Alliance for Media Education (NAME) formed in Austin TX; purpose “to connect and foster media literacy initiatives, to bring together leaders in media arts education and industry, and to support teaching of media in schools, media arts facilities and community centers.” (Source)
  • Aspen Institute Leadership Forum on Media Literacy convenes and issues a report on media literacy including this succinct definition: “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and communicate”
  • Second North American Media Education Conference, held in Guelph, Ontario
  • “How to Watch TV News,” co-authored by Neil Postman, published
  • Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations (CAMEO) is formed (Source)
  • CNN debuts “Reliable Sources” (Source)
“Visual Messages: Integrating Images into Instruction,” co-authored by David Considine/Gail Haley, published by Teacher Ideas Press
The Freedom Forum Media Studies Center begins publication of quarterly, “Media Studies Journal” ceases publication in 2001
NCTE publishes text “Reading The Movies Twelve Great Films on Video And How To Teach Them”
1993: Harvard University hosts first US Media Literacy Teaching Institute
New Mexico Media Literacy Project formed (Source)
  • “Screening Images: Ideas for Media Education” book by Chris M. Worsnop published
  • Tuning in to Media: Literacy for the Information Age” documentary hosted by Renee Hobbs and features other media educators
  • “Visual Literacy In The Digital Age” a compendium of essays is published by the International Visual Literacy Association (IVLA)
  • “Taking Charge of Your TV” initiative started by Cable in the Classroom, the National Cable Television Association (now the National Cable & Telecommunications Association) and National PTA
  • March 18  Symposium on Media Literacy Education, sponsored by National Telemedia Council (Source)
  • July 10-15 “Institute on Media Literacy and Education” sponsored by New York University (Source)
“Creating Critical Viewers” media literacy curriculum initiative started by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (NATAS); rolled out at NATAS regional member sites
  • PBS airs multi-part series “American Cinema” (series and companion materials used in many college/universities film studies courses) Source
  • Congressional hearing on Television Violence, (video) includes testimony by Elizabeth Thoman, Center for Media Literacy Source
  • NPR begins broadcast of “On The Media” weekly series (Source)
  • Media Virus: Hidden Agendas in Popular Culture book written by Douglas Rushkoff
  • First annual Taos (NM) Talking Pictures Festival Media Literacy Conference; co-produced by The Downs Media Education Center.
Appalachian State University (Boone NC) hosts national media literacy conference, in collaboration with the National Telemedia Council; Source
Carnegie Council on Adolescent Development report “Great Transitions: Preparing Adolescents for a New Century” calls for media literacy instruction in American schools (Chapter 7)
Time Warner Cable and The Learning Channel co-produce education curriculum: “Know TV- Changing What, Why, and How You Watch” (Winner of the Golden Cable ACE Award for Public Interest Programming)
  • US Telecommunications Act signed into law
  • NCTE/IRA Standards for English Language Arts recommends visual literacy: “Teaching students how to interpret and create visual texts….is another essential component of the ELA curriculum.”
  • NCTE passes Resolution on Viewing and Visually Representing as Forms of Literacy:
    “Viewing and visually representing (defined in the NCTE/IRA Standards for the English Language Arts) are a part of our growing consciousness of how people gather and share information. Teachers and students need to expand their appreciation of the power of print and nonprint texts. Teachers should guide students in constructing meaning through creating and viewing nonprint texts.”
  • 2nd National Media Literacy Conference held in Los Angeles, hosted by the Center for Media Literacy
  • 2nd Annual Media Literacy Conference held at Albuquerque Academy, New Mexico Media Literacy Project
  • Harvard University hosts first annual Media & American Democracy Institute for social studies educators
  • PBS broadcasts teleconference and documentary both entitled “Media Literacy: The New Basic”
  • The National Communication Association (NCA) develops standards for media literacy in K-12 education: “Competent Communicators: K-12 Speaking, Listening, and Media Literacy Standards and Competencies”
  • Annenberg Public Policy Center sponsors first Conference on Children and Television (later called Children & Media)
  • New London Group coins the term “multiliteracies”
  • PBS broadcasts multi-part series “Signal to Noise: Life With Television”
  • First television content ratings system goes into effect
  • booklet “You Own More Than Your Set,” by Frank Orme published (Source)
  • Texas teaching standards for English Language Arts include media literacy as represented by “viewing/representing”
  • NCTE publishes “Reel Conversations: Reading Films With Young Adults”
  • “Scanning Television” videotape series and accompanying curriculum is released by Face-to-Face Media and Harcourt Brace Canada
  • KQED (PBS Northern California) launches online Media Education Project, one of the first PBS stations to develop media literacy material for teachers and students (Source)
Partnership for Media Education (PME) created
Media Education Foundation, released The Killing Screens, featuring George Gerbner who examined the impact and effects of film and TV violence
  • Rutgers University media professor Robert Kubey writes essay Obstacles to the Development of Media Literacy Education in the United States”
  • Renee Hobbs writes essay The Seven Great Debates in the Media Literacy Movement.”
  • “Media studies 20: a curriculum guide for the secondary level” published by Saskatchewan Education
  • Violence And The Viewer report released by BBC, Independent TV Commission and Broadcasting Standards Commission (Source)
    National Catholic Educational Assn. includes media literacy mini-conference during its annual meeting (Source)
  • 3rd bi-annual National Media Ed Conference held in Colorado Springs, CO
media criticism periodical “Brill’s Content” premieres, ceases publication 3 years later
(first issue contained an article on the importance of media literacy in schools)
Kathleen Tyner authors book “Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information”
Centers for Disease Control produces and distributes “Media Sharp: Analyzing Tobacco & Alcohol Messages”: a media literacy curriculum kit for health educators
  • “Messages & Meanings: A Guide to Understanding Media” curriculum published; sponsored by the Newspaper Association of America Foundation, the International Reading Association and the National Council for the Social Studies
  • Partnership for Media Education sponsors National Media Education Conference (NMEC) in St Paul MN
  • Mid-Continent Research For Education and Learning (McRel) adds two new strands to its national Language Arts standards:
  • #9: Uses viewing skills and strategies to understand and interpret visual media.
    #10: Understands the characteristics and components of the media.
    (source: correspondence w/ McRel dated July 8, 2010)
  • US first graduate program in media literacy established at Appalachian State University, Boone NC
  • Op-ed “Has Media Education Found A Curricula Foothold?” published in Education Week; provides status of media literacy in K-12 state teaching standards
  • Sex on TV: A Biennial Report first released by the Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Media Education Seminar hosted by Department for Culture, Media and Sports (Source)
  • Making Movies Matter, issued by BFI, advocates for film education in schools (Source)
  • CAME sponsored its first provincial conference (Source)
  • Rutgers University hosts “Setting Research Directions For Media Literacy and Health Education” conference
  • “Handbook of Children and the Media” summarizes research known to date, co-written by Yale University researchers Jerome and Dorothy Singer
  • US Department of Education and National Endowment for the Arts distribute almost one million dollars in grants to projects in 8 states to “help young people better understand and interpret the artistic content of electronic media images -including those that contain violence”
  • The Media Ecology Association holds its first annual convention at Fordham University, New York, NY
  • White paper, A New Future for Communications, issued in the UK, advocates for media literacy education (Source)
  • Moving Images In The Classroom: A Teaching Guide, released by BFI (Source)
  • Task Force on Advertising & Children, formed by the American Academy of Pediatrics (Source)
“Summit 2000: Children, Youth and the Media: Beyond the Millennium” conference held in Toronto Ontario, brings together media educators, media producers and more from around the worldComprised of fifty-three countries and fifteen hundred participants, Summit 2000 was the largest Media Literacy conference held anywhere in the world (Source)
South-western Educational Publishing, in collaboration with CNN, produces
“Media Matters: Critical Thinking in The Information Age” curriculum
Alliance For A Media Literate America (formerly Partnership for Media Education) defines media literacy as:
(empowering) “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.”
“Assignment: Media Literacy” curriculum created by Renee Hobbs for Maryland State Department of Education in partnership with Discovery Communications
Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) formed
“Children, Adolescents & The Media” a series of essays on youth, media and research is published
  • NCTE issues position statement on Composing with Nonprint”
  • The National Board of Professional Teaching Standards (Adolescent and Young Adult, English Language Arts standards) recognized the importance of media and visual literacy when it declared: ” Accomplished teachers know that students must become critical and reflective consumers and producers of visual communication because media literacy has become an integral part of being literate in contemporary society. Teachers understand how words, images, graphics, and sounds work together in ways that are both subtle and profound. They understand that students need to learn the power of visual communication, from the uses typefaces and white
    space on a written report to the uses of graphics and video in multimedia productions.”
    (Source: pg15, Adolescence and Young Adult English Language Arts standards of the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.)
  • NMEC bi-annual media literacy conference held in Baltimore. MD
  • University of Connecticut hosts first annual Northeast Media Literacy Conference
  • Sex on TV 3: TV Sex is Getting Safer released by Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Media Literacy: Key Facts released by Kaiser Family Foundation
  • website launched, sponsored by Annenberg Public Policy Center
  • FTC holds workshop: Marketing Violent Entertainment to Children
National Telemedia Council celebrates 50th anniversary with “International Media Literacy Forum,” a five-site international video conference, and publication of book: “Visions/Revisions: Moving Forward With Media Education” (photo by Frank Baker)
  • KFF Issues Brief: The Effects of Electronic Media on Children Ages Zero to Six: A History of Research
  • First “Leaders in Learning” awards given by National Cable TV Association and National PTA; media literacy is one of the award categories
  • Tonight Show host Johnny Carson dies
  • CBS axes newspeople after Memogate investigation release
  • PBS/DoEd two day sponsor seminar: “A Child’s Life: Literacy, Learning And the Media” in Baltimore
  • “Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds” survey released by Kaiser Family Foundation
  • “Sex on TV 4” study released by Kaiser Family Foundation
  • AMLA’s bi-annual media literacy conference convenes in San Francisco, CA
  • Phrase “new literacies” began to become popular and was defined as “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.” (SOURCE: New Media Consortium’s definition of New Literacies)
  • College Board’s Standards for College Success (in English Language Arts/Media Literacy standards) recognizes media literacy education:
    “To be successful in college and in the workplace and to participate effectively in a global society, students are expected to understand the nature of media; to interpret, analyze, and evaluate the media messages they encounter daily; and to create media that express a point of view and influence others. These skills are relevant to all subject areas, where students may be asked to evaluate media coverage of research, trends, and issues.”
    (Source: pg 171, College Board’s Standards for College Success: English Language Arts: Media Literacy Standards)
  • The Teen Media Juggling Act: The Implications of Media Multitasking Among American Youth” report issued by Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME) holds conference in Burlington, VT
  • NCTE publishes “Reading The Reel World: Teaching Documentaries and Other Nonfiction Texts”
NCTE publishes text “Lesson Plans for Creating Media-Rich Classrooms”
  • First issue of The Journal of Media Literacy published online by NAMLE
  • K-12 Horizon Report, declares the number one critical challenge for schools in the 21st century is: “a growing need for formal instruction in key new skills, including information literacy, visual literacy, and technological literacy.”
  • MIT and Home, Inc. co-host “2009 Media Literacy Conference: 21st Century Skills” in Boston
  • NAMLE holds bi-annual media literacy conference in Detroit, MI
  • “Generation M2: Media in the Lives of 8- to 18-Year-Olds” study released by the Kaiser Family Foundation
  • Super Bowl game (February 7: Indianapolis vs. New Orleans) becomes the most watched TV program in American history: 106.5 million viewers according to Nielsen Media (source)
  • Annual Super Bowl game attracts 111 million viewers becoming most watched TV program in American history, surpassing the 2010 game audience
  • K-12 Horizon Report says number one critical challenge is: “digital media literacy continues its rise in importance as a key skill in every discipline and profession”
  • NAMLE sponsors bi-annual media literacy conference in Philadelphia PA


Share This Page: