Discussion#1.docx - Which came first, the medium or the...

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Which came first, the medium or the message?Media literacy is described in our reading assignments as competency in assessing messagescarried by mass media. Our readings suggest that the media literate person understands not onlyhow much the media intrude into our lives but also how their messages can affect our thinkingand behaviors. In other words, media literacy is not information literacy; that’s the ability to find,read and use information. It’s not technological literacy either; that’s the ability to use acomputer. So, whatdoesit take toknowand toassessmedia content?First, you have tobe awarethat you’re encountering the mass mediaeverywhere. The paper placemats at Friendly’s that have advertising aroundtheir edges? Mass media. The 8-1/2"-by-11” LCD screens in the elevator thathave news headlines on them? Mass media. That muzak in the doctor’soffice? Mass media. The ads spray-painted on sidewalks downtown? Massmedia. The mugs with Star Trek-The Next Generation emblazoned acrossthem – or even just the logo of a local business? Mass media. The little dogicon on your Internet search page? Mass media. Do you see what I’m drivingat? The mass media are ubiquitous. If you’re media literate, you understandthis and are aware of the media’s presence in your life consciously andsubconsciously. Media literacy requires distinguishing between the media\umand the message.Second, you have to understandwhythe media are ubiquitous. This is verysimple: all mass media do one thing, even the Internet. Theysell eyes andears.Literally. They are designed to connect people to products. You can seethis in theevolution of U.S. mass media. For example, the hardware fortelevisions existedbeforeprogramming; to develop the programming thatwould sell television sets, manufacturers turned to product sponsors for thedollars to jump start program development. Media literacy meansunderstandingmedia economicsand how those forces shape the content ofthe media, whether it’s the entertainment media or the news. And inunderstandingmedia economics,

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Term
Summer
Professor
Donna, Lloyd-Jones

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