Media Literacy Concepts

Media 2

For this cartoon, the puzzle pieces represent the construction of media and reality. The puzzle pieces are constructing a computer monitor  while puzzle pieces are also constructing the entire picture plain. This cartoon expresses the notion of hyper-reality, what is real and what are sophisticated simulations.

8 Key Concepts of Media Literacy  Pugente Reading: “Canada’s Key Concepts of Media Literacy”—

  1. All media are constructions. This is arguably the most important concept. The media do not simply reflect external reality. Rather, they present carefully crafted constructions that reflect many decisions and are the result of many determining factors. Media Literacy works towards deconstructing these constructions (i.e., to taking them apart to show how they are made).
  • We have to learn to take apart these constructions to see how they were put together
  • By using production techniques, camera angles, editing, sounds, the show can be made to present a certain view that may not be the entire truth. Critical viewer must be aware
  • ***re-present
  • You think you are witnessing reality, but it can only give you a slice of reality
  • layers built upon layers (imaging, narrators, sound etc.)
  1. The media construct reality. The media are responsible for the majority of the observations and experiences from which we build up our personal understandings of the world and how it works. Much of our view of reality is based on media messages that have been pre-constructed and have attitudes, interpretations, and conclusions already built in. Thus the media, to a great extent, give us our sense of reality.
  • Certain representation of reality, much of it comes from tv, radio, the media rather than ourselves give us our sense of reality
  • The New York Times reported “So much information is discerned through it, so much experience formed by it, that television has become as real as anything outside of itself.”
  1. Audiences negotiate meaning in media. If the media provides us with much of the material upon which we build our picture of reality, each of us finds or “negotiates” meaning according to individual factors: personal needs and anxieties, the pleasures or troubles of the day, racial and sexual attitudes, family and cultural background, moral standpoint, and so forth.
  • Awareness of how we interact w/ media texts (TV shows, movies, radio, programs)
  • Each of us bring something unique to the media—ourselves (our experiences, cultural background, etc.)
  • All of these individual factors will affect our interpretation
  • Different people will experience the same television show media production in different ways
  • M: meaning, product of thought, m: message that people see,
  1. Media messages have commercial implications. Media literacy aims to encourage awareness of how the media are influenced by commercial considerations, and how they impinge on content, technique, and distribution.” Most media production is a business, and so must make a profit. Questions of ownership and control are central: a relatively small number of individuals control what we watch, read and hear in the media.
  • The economic basis of television has a very real effect on content
    • CNN: 70s, revolutionary because they were going to be the first 24 hour news station, condition of license, public owns the airwaves, must apply for the right to use the frequency to broadcast their content, in exchange the gov’t would not charge them, they would hold them accountable for the news. CNN providing in depth coverage and stories, last 5 years, not informing the public anymore, had taking heads talking about the same 4 stories because it is cheaper. Whole day of just talking about same stories
  • Networks look for audiences to be delivered to sponsors. Program content makes viewers targets for advertisers and organizes them into marketable groups.
    • Audience as a commodity
  • The question to ask is how much of their own personality is shaped by such commercial forces?
  1. Media messages contain ideological and value messages. All media products are advertising in some sense proclaiming values and ways of life. The mainstream media convey, explicitly or implicitly, ideological messages about such issues as the nature of the good life and the virtue of consumerism, the role of women, the acceptance of authority, and unquestioning patriotism.
  • All media products proclaim values and ways of life. That way of life and those values are usually those of the established social structure
  • While the media may not be directly responsible for creating values and attitudes, they legitimize and reinforce them
  • The critical viewer tries to uncover these ideological messages and values systems by looking for such issues as what groups are represented, what groups are left out
  • The ideologies, values and attitudes portrayed on television are those of the people who decide what to put on television.
  1. Media messages contain social and political implications. The media have great influence in politics and in forming social change. Television can greatly influence the election of a national leader on the basis of image. The media involve us in concerns such as civil rights issues, famines in Africa, and the AIDS epidemic. They give us an intimate sense of national issues and global concerns so that we have become McLuhan’s Global Village.
  • The media also involve us in concerns such as civil rights and social issues, sitcoms bring gay characters out of the closet and make them socially acceptable
  • Political parties use television because this is where the voters are. No campaign rally can attract the number of voters that will see a candidate on the evening news…the biggest single cost in political campaigning is for television ads
  1. Form and content are closely related in media messages. As Marshall McLuhan noted, each medium has its own grammar and codifies reality in its own particular way. Different media will report the same event, but create different impressions and messages.
  • Each medium has its own grammar and bias, thus, different media (channels) reporting the same event will create different impressions and different messages
  • Television works best with images. Evening news will show fires, riots, earthquakes
  • A newspaper or magazine cannot show live pictures but they can give you a more detailed background on why a fire started or what were the issues that caused the riot
  • The [TV, Newspaper, or radio] will present, more or less, the same subjects but there will be a great difference in how they present them
  1. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form. Just as we notice the pleasing rhythms of certain pieces of poetry or prose, so we ought to be able to enjoy the pleasing forms and effects of the different media.
  • Media education is not only about understanding media texts and their implications for our culture and society, but also about how to enjoy and produce them
  • Our enjoyment of media can be enhanced by an awareness of how pleasing forms or effects are crated. Television is at its best with live events. There is an extra thrill and pleasure in watching a sporting event live on television that cannot be got from reading about it or watching a replay after it’s over. Television offers a real sense of sharing and participation in its coverage of world events (ex. Olympics)
    • Imagined communities

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