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Posts Tagged ‘media literacy’

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Anything being sold here on Family Reunion?

In the ongoing series sharing references and resources to the economically-oriented aspects of media literacy education, here are some recent pieces of interest to share related to advertising and media.  Product placement is a core element of investigation for media literacy coursework, and here is a recent highly interactive article by Sophie Haigney titled How Products Became the New TV Stars.  And for those interested in knowing who is vying to be the current “King of Product Placement” in Hollywood, here is an article by Brian Steinberg for Variety.

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Screen Shot 2022-07-25 at 10.16.24 AMIn an earlier post, I discussed ways in which student work can document history (often unconsciously) and some projects may become messages that resonate as testimonials to their time, place, and people.  

In addition, there have been many examples in these pages of how PSAs are strong vehicles for video production tasks in school communities.  With the onset of a global pandemic, our schools have had to confront some of the most distinct challenges faced by educators in a multitude of ways, and here is one example of a series of PSAs made to share with students as they returned to school at the height of the pandemic, before any vaccines were available.  Undoubtedly, this piece and others created during these months and years provide particular testimonials of these contexts in a unique time and place for American public schools.

Screen Shot 2022-07-26 at 9.50.28 AMPostscript: In early 2022, as schools began to shift to ceasing mask restrictions and shifting to fully in-person classroom instruction, the advanced video production class I teach quickly created (two-day turnaround time, in response to a central administration request) a PSA that could be used in all schools.  Here is the video that a team of four of my students produced.

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In earlier posts, there has been exploration of such phenomena as the use and misuse of the terms “fake news” and “trolls,” along with the many impacts of covert disinformation campaigns, contemporary propaganda, and other phenomena of distorting or negating truth-telling through media manipulation and dissemination of outright falsehoods.  A major media event has just occurred in which a video was surreptitiously altered through digital editing and shared in an attempt to make it seem as if Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi was “stumbling over and slurring her words” in a recent interview.  This doctored video was spread through social media, including by President Trump and figures connected to him.  Here is an article in the New York Times that includes video reporting of the story, and another from the Washington Post.

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In an earlier post, mediateacher.net highlighted the New York Times teaching resource “Film Club.” There are many great shorts that they post along with discussion points and lesson plans, such as the recent post, Animated Life: Seeing the Invisible

For Media Literacy or Social Studies teachers, here is another exceptional new series of short videos that can be used as resources for debate of current events and  contemporary intersections of media, politics, and propaganda: Operation Infektion. These docs explore the longstanding practices of disinformation campaigns by Soviet and Russian secret services (such as the KGB) that have evolved over several decades and whose impacts appear to be quite substantial in America and many countries.  Below are links to the video series and an article by director and writer Adam Ellick.

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Across countless societies throughout history, teachers have regularly occupied highly scrutinized positions relative to their impact on young people and the expectations of their roles in terms of what they can and cannot say to their students.

Among the issues that define our relation to each other, language is undoubtedly one of the most important.  It is vital that words are used appropriately and precisely.  The study of cultures and societies often can revolve around the use and impact of words to describe human behavior and social currents.

Fake = Fabricated, Intentionally Fictitious

Fake = Fabricated, Intentionally Fictitious

During the past year, a notable phenomenon has arisen that has some history in print journalism but has taken on new meanings and uses in the age of the Internet and digital social media: “fake news.”  The basic definition of this practice as it quickly evolved in recent times is that stories and articles would be fabricated and posted through fictional, anonymous, or proxy web entities.  The content is completely fictional in nature.  Made up.  Quite often based on the talking points, trending topics, and attack ads of the moment.  By now, this has been a highly documented practice, sometimes from blighted enclaves in Macedonia or from “Cameron Harris, a new college graduate with a fervent interest in Maryland Republican politics and a need for cash,” as reported by actual journalist Scott Shane.

To be literate means to understand vehicles of communication – linguistic, visual, mathematical, and much more.  When methods of communication are twisted and used to distort or blind to the truth or the search for truth, this is quite serious and potentially extremely damaging.  As history has shown us, it can, indeed, be fatal.  When one’s leaders twist, misuse, or distort words, and particularly those that describe vital topics of the day, this can also be lethal to societies and to democracy.

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A Free Press Classic by Sam Fuller

As Thomas Jefferson said, “The basis of our governments being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter. But I should mean that every man should receive those papers and be capable of reading them.”

Language, words, and visual communication are very important, and so is our ability to interpret the various messages that are on the pages and various sized screens in front of us.  This is at the heart of what we call media literacy.  Teachers must continue to strive to enable our students to scrutinize the statements of those who represent us, of those with whom we engage in discussion and debate, and of those who research and report the stories that depict, interpret, and impact the world that we inhabit.

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