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Center for Media Literacy’s Five Core Concepts

Posted by: | November 16, 2010 | No Comment |

According to the Center for Media Literacy, there are five core concepts that must be understood in order to be media literate. These concepts are:

1.  All media messages are constructed.

That is simple enough to understand. The messages were not born, they did not grow. Someone had an idea and created a message that would best convey that idea.

2. Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.

All the images, music, even the color scheme in the message are meant to evoke a certain mood and emotion from the view. The same images when viewed with romantic music will seem ominous when viewed with music that seems more threatening.

3. Different people experience the same media message differently.

People from different cultures may view the creative language and come away with an entirely different message than the one intended by the person who created the message. For example, sexual images that are intended to entice may be offensive to certain groups of people.

4. Media have embedded values and points of view.

Different media tell the same story differently. Pictures are not much good on radio. Television does not get instant feedback from its audience. The internet is capable of integrating everything from radio and television while getting instant feedback, but how does that change the story?

5. Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

Advertising in any form is constructed with one purpose in mind. To get you to spend your money on the product it is selling. Political campaigns are constructed to get you to vote for the candidate they are endorsing. Public service announcements are constructed to alert you to a problem that may be relevant to you and to help you find a solution.

It seems like a lot of work, but asking questions and recognizing the goals of the people who are constructing the messages we are receiving all day, is important. People who do not ask questions are running the risk of being manipulated. Everyone needs to be smarter than that.

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