Doesn’t being literate mean you’re media literate? Well, the answer is no… Being media literate is so much more than reading and comprehending content. It is distinguishing between true news and “fake news”, understanding credible sources of information, and understanding different perspectives of a story and learning to expand your own perspective. If we take the information we get from media as it is we are at the disposal of the messenger it came from. It is up to us to take a step further and go beyond the face front of the media in order to be truly intelligent in this age of media we live in.
In order to be media literate, we must have 5 different knowledge structures. A knowledge structure is not just knowing information, it is an organized structure of significant information on a given topic.
The first area of knowledge structure is media effects – this is all about knowing the effects of media on people, on society, on the world and so on.
The second is media content – this ranges from what goes into creating media to the various genres of it to the process of how it is set up and formed.
The third area is media industries – this consists of the business and corporations that create media, those who own the media, how it is written, who determines the content and how, as well as how the media industry functions.
The fourth is of the real world – this means we need to go out into the real world and experience things in order to have real knowledge of them versus just reading or watching videos on them.
The fifth and last knowledge structure area needed is self – it seems as though everyone must already have this one down, however, this is about much more than “knowing yourself”. It is an active pursuit of understanding how you work and think and the perspective that it gives you. This knowledge structure may be the most difficult one to master. It also may be the most important.
NinaMaria is a senior double majoring in Communication and Electronic Media and minoring in Marketing. She is serving her first year on the EMU PRSSA E-Board as Vice President of External Relations. She hopes to find a career in Media that combines her interest in broadcasting and her passion for people. She also hopes to work in a big city one day. Contact NinaMaria through her email firstname.lastname@example.org.