Written by OTL Volunteers on November 02 2015

Welcome to Media Literacy Week! By Jessica Kwen, OTL Intern

Happy Media Literacy Week!

At Outside the Lens, we are very excited for this week because media literacy will be the subject of discussion at many schools, news outlets, and organizations across the nation. We, too, will share content throughout the week about the value of media literacy skills in the 21st century, and how we at OTL implement media literacy education in our classrooms. (Stay tuned!)

Moving along, for those of you who have never heard of the term or just need a reminder, media literacy is the ability to actively analyze, evaluate, and construct messages within communication channels such as the Internet, television, books, and music. That sounds intense and difficult to achieve, but it’s essentially about figuring out the truth and answers yourself instead of believing everything you see, hear, and read; about looking past the immediate words and images to find “the untold story” in the message. And this is very important, especially since all of us are exposed to some kind of media on a daily basis.

Image credit: Mark A. Hicks, illustrator; courtesy of clipartpanda

For example, when watching the presidential debates, you can fact check what the candidates say instead of chewing up the information served to you. Even when you are listening to your favorite singer, analyze what their lyrics mean and become aware of the social issues they may touch upon.

As the saying goes, “the pen is mightier than the sword,” but we’d like to add that people on camera and off, such as writers, producers, and video editors, are just as influential. These content creators are in positions of power because they decide what to say and how to say it (blatantly or inconspicuously).

Our role as media consumers is to become aware of this power dynamic and deconstruct the underlying meanings behind every message from the content creators. This is all part of media literacy. The hope is that by using this skill, you can empower yourself to think critically, form your own opinions, communicate effectively, and make smart decisions.

To conclude the first day of Media Literacy Week, we would like to share with you a fantastic (brief!) Ted Talk by the Media Literacy Project's Executive Director, Andrea Quijada, about creating critical thinkers through media literacy.


Outside the Lens is a proud partner of the first annual Media Literacy Week in the US, hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE).

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