Audience choice of TV station and media literacy among viewers
- In the beginning, literacy was a word that described having knowledge of printed material (reading and writing letters or symbols.) However, these days, communication is flowing to and around us in a variety of forms besides print (e.g., radio, television, film, video games, photography, digital data, etc.) Media are such a crucial part of our contemporary society that most of us will spend more time interacting with media than doing just about anything else (even eating, sleeping or having conversations with other human beings.) When you stop to reflect upon the media and consider their influence on, for example, the incredible change our society is experiencing (major shifts in our politics, economic systems and cultural practices on a global scale) you become more aware of the deep interdependent relationship we have with media. A relationship that demands some serious attention and reflection because the resultant stakes are so high.
- Recognizing that media are everywhere and presenting information about practically all subjects, it is no wonder that educators from various disciplines (media and otherwise) have sounded alarms and called for media literacy as a necessary skill set for the public to have. The hope is that media literacy will empower the public, support the individual and positively effect the progress of culture and society. Media literacy’s goal is to make the public active participants in the process of mass communication and the creation of meaning instead of pawns of the powerful mass communicators. But what exactly is meant by media literacy? What kinds of skills need to be learned? In order to better understand media and become media literate, you must have a basic knowledge of mass communication because media are in the business of mass communicating
- Media literacy has been define several different ways because media and mass Communication have been studied from a variety of approaches. Interestingly, these approaches, too, can trace their roots back to the basic communication model. For example, in the past, some media researchers concentrated on the source component of the mass communication process. They proceeded with the idea that media effects are direct and audiences were passive or non-participatory. Other scholars have approached the content of media messages as a “text” worthy of evaluation regardless of the intent of the media producer (source) or the interpretation of the audience (receiver). Still a third group was more interested in media audiences (receivers) and their interpretations of messages. However, some scholars have focused on the overall process of mass communication by analyzing the sum of all the parts while considering how they influence one another. To highlight a just a few approaches: Historians, for example, are concerned with the historical contexts or where and when media is created and consumed to illuminate when and how cultural meaning occurs. Cultural studies researchers are concerned with how media participate in the creation and maintenance of culture and political structures that, for example, might advantage some groups while disadvantaging others. While, gender scholars view media as an intricate part of the overall production of cultural meaning by its presentation of specific gender identities and politically motivated power structures as “appropriate or normal” or as “the way things are or should be. Regardless of which context is used to view media literacy or which component of the mass communication process is highlighted, the consensus seems to be that it is important for people to become more media literate in order to improve media content and consequently the culture and the future. But how is media literacy achieved?
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