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How to improve media literacy

Posted by: | November 10, 2010 | No Comment |

Media Literacy

According to medialit.org, there are five key questions that a viewer must keep in mind when evaluating any media.

The five key questions are:

1.  Who created this message?

If someone is watching a television advertisement, the company responsible for creating that message is evident. When watching        a movie, a viewer can see the creative team responsible, only if they take the time to read the credits. Any agenda that the creative team has must be researched outside the movie theater on the view’s own time.

2. What creative techniques are being used to attract a viewer’s attention?

What is the storyline? What music is being used? What emotions do these evoke in  the viewer? A viewer must assume that              every line of dialogue, every note of music, the placement of each item in the scene has been carefully arranged in order to cause the viewer to think, feel, or behave in a certain way.

3. How might different people understand this message differently?

Some people may love a romantic story because it reminds them of something they have or want to have. Others may hate a                  romantic story because it reminds them of something painful or unwanted. People of different genders, ages, and various cultures     do not always see things in the same way.

4. What values, lifestyles, or points of view are represented in, or omitted from, this message?

An advertiser may want to have potential customers think of their product in a certain way. By linking their product to a group of        people who seem to be having fun and seem to be close friends, the thinking is that customers will believe that they can achieve            the  same goals for themselves by buying the product.

5. Why is this message being sent?

Every media message has a goal that may or may not be apparent to the viewer. In the   case of an advertisement, the goal is                  always to get the viewer to buy the product whether the viewer needs it or not. Other media may have other goals, to get the                  viewer to vote a certain way, to change their view about an issue, or to change their behavior in some way.

There are people who believe that if they do not pay attention to the media messages, they cannot be affected by them. The opposite is true, by picking apart everything that is watched, it is possible to counteract or at least be aware of the hidden influences behind every media message.

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