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The tobacco industry and media literacy: an unlikely, yet frequent pairing

Posted by: | October 23, 2012 | No Comment |

By: Jessica Farley

We are unable to escape them. They pop up on television, in magazines, and on billboards during the morning commute. They are everywhere. No, I am not talking about the Kardashians. I’m talking about anti-smoking PSA’s.

Educators of media literacy have found a way introduce campaigns against the tobacco industry into the classroom as well, now. In an effort to both teach media literacy and provide a solid health compass for youth, media literacy educators are using tobacco advertisements as means to demonstrate the art of deconstruction.

First spearheaded by the Clinton Administration in the late nineties, the use of tobacco advertising in media literacy education has become a staple. “The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) held a series of conferences in 1996 and 1997 which brought greater awareness of media literacy education as a promising practice in health and substance abuse prevention education.”  (Wikipedia.com/wiki/media_literacy)

Today, educators continue to use both tobacco and alcohol advertisements in the instruction of media literacy. Some of the advertisements and PSA’s used include the “Live Above the Influence” campaign, “Think. Don’t Smoke,” and “Quit Now.” In addition, educators use actual advertisements promoting these products, in an effort to provide an understanding of both ends of the media spectrum.

It is important as educators to make the most of your resources. By utilizing the tobacco industry, media literacy educators are doing just that.

under: Comm 455
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