Archive for the 'Media Literacy' Category

Don’t get fooled again

Not-A-Target-Market-1

The Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania has created a great classroom Internet news tool, FactcheckED. It has very practical advice for helping students detect fraud in political advertising and propaganda. Another good source for researching PR and spin is the site, PR Watch.
FactcheED provides this simple and awesome checklist for detecting bias…

FactCheckED.org:

A Process for Avoiding Deception

1. Keep an open mind. Most of us have biases, and we can easily fool ourselves if we don’t make a conscious effort to keep our minds open to new information. Psychologists have shown over and over again that humans naturally tend to accept any information that supports what they already believe, even if the information isn’t very reliable. And humans also naturally tend to reject information that conflicts with those beliefs, even if the information is solid. These predilections are powerful. Unless we make an active effort to listen to all sides we can become trapped into believing something that isn’t so, and won’t even know it.

2. Ask the right questions. Don’t accept claims at face value; test them by asking a few questions. Who is speaking, and where are they getting their information? How can I validate what they’re saying? What facts would prove this claim wrong? Does the evidence presented really back up what’s being said? If an ad says a product is “better,” for instance, what does that mean? Better than what?

3. Cross-check. Don’t rely on one source or one study, but look to see what others say. When two or three reliable sources independently report the same facts or conclusions, you can be more confident of them. But when two independent sources contradict each other, you know you need to dig more deeply to discover who’s right.

4. Consider the source. Not all sources are equal. As any CSI viewer knows, sometimes physical evidence is a better source than an eyewitness, whose memory can play tricks. And an eyewitness is more credible than somebody telling a story they heard from somebody else. By the same token, an Internet website that offers primary source material is more trustworthy than one that publishes information gained second- or third-hand. For example, official vote totals posted by a county clerk or state election board are more authoritative than election returns reported by a political blog or even a newspaper, which can be out of date or mistaken.

5. Weigh the evidence. Know the difference between random anecdotes and real scientific data from controlled studies. Know how to avoid common errors of reasoning, such as assuming that one thing causes another simply because the two happen one after the other. Does a rooster’s crowing cause the sun to rise? Only a rooster would think so.

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Deconstruction is fun

Kool
Click here to how this ad is deconstructed

Ever wanted to deconstruct an ad but don’t know how? The New Mexico Media Literacy Project has some sample ads with decontructions and instructions to give you a sense of the how to do it. Click here to see the gallery. You can also download my free media literacy handouts here.

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APA: media sexualize girls

Dolls-As-Women

The American Psychology Association has issued a report from its task force on the sexualization of girls. I found it to be balanced and was impressed that even though media contribute negatively to the objectification and sexualization of girls, the study also identified other ambient and environmental factors. Furthermore, it recommends (see quote below) media literacy and DIY media as effective approaches to dealing with the problem.

You can download the report pdf here.

There’s also a great page for media literacy resources dealing with sexuality and girls.

Also, you can check out my own media literacy resource that deals generally with the subject of sexuality, body image and youth of color.

Executive Summary:

Because the media are important sources of sexualizing images, the development and implementation of schoolbased media literacy training programs could be key in combating the influence of sexualization.There is an urgent need to teach critical skills in viewing and consuming media, focusing specifically on the sexualization of women and girls. Other school-based approaches include increased access to athletic and other extracurricular programs for girls and the development and presentation of comprehensive sexuality education programs.

Strategies for parents and other caregivers include learning about the impact of sexualization on girls and coviewing media with their children in order to influence the way in which media messages are interpreted. Action by parents and families has been effective in confronting sources of sexualized images of girls. Organized religious and other ethical instruction can offer girls important practical and psychological alternatives to the values conveyed by popular culture.

Girls and girls’ groups can also work toward change. Alternative media such as “zines” (Web-based magazines), “blogs” (Web logs), and feminist magazines, books, and Web sites encourage girls to become activists who speak out and develop their own alternatives. Girl empowerment groups also support girls in a variety of ways and provide important counterexamples to sexualization.

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