World Bridger Media: Sustainable Media
Sample World Bridger Workshops and Talks

Note: The following categories are not exclusive; many projects could be cross-listed. For instance, all of these can be youth talks, but there is only one workshop listed specifically in the youth category. In addition, even though all of these presentations have been offered, they are here to inspire new suggestions. Finally, they can all be customized for specific audiences or conferences.


Medios y Remedios - Latino Culture and Media Literacy:
How Niche Marketing Targets Latinos, and Understanding Spanish Language Media

In the United States there are nearly 30 million Spanish speakers. Latinos represent the fastest growing ethnicity in North America, and largest population in the hemisphere. Consequently, corporations view this group as a gold mine and are actively designing and marketing products for this group. This multimedia talk examines how marketers and advertising incorporates cultural motifs and icons, and shows what kinds of products are being marketed to the Latino population. In addition, this talk reviews how Spanish language media is targeting immigrant communities, and reveals both the similarities and differences of media produced for Latinos. Finally, this talk focuses on how harmful products like tobacco and alcohol are targeted to Latinos.

This presentation is appropriate for all age groups, urban and rural concerned about Latino issues. Students, teachers, professionals, community activists and senior citizens interested in understanding the role corporations have in defining Latino issues will enjoy this engaging talk.

Merchants of Culture: Decoding Culturally Specific Marketing

This workshop and/or training focuses on strategies for developing media literacy strategies for Latinos, Native Americans, Asians and African Americans. It compares traditional media literacy approaches with the specific needs of cultures outside the dominant society, working specifically with media targeting diverse audiences. It examines "narrow casting" and the dubious benefits of greater cultural representation in commercial media, especially advertising. We closely examine the techniques and codes used by marketers to shape new markets and exploit niche demographics. Participants engage in hands-on training on how to deconstruct advertisements.

In discussing Latino-oriented media literacy, the difference between Spanish and English language media is examined, and also niche marketing targeted at Latinos. Tobacco is also investigated from a multicultural perspective; discussing the potential conflict standard media literacy strategies can have with Native American culture.

On the Border: Culturally Specific Media Literacy

This workshop focuses on strategies for developing media literacy curriculum for Latinos and Native Americans. It compares traditional media literacy approaches with the specific needs of cultures outside the dominant society, using media literacy as a model for prevention and service learning. In discussing Latino-oriented media literacy, the difference between Spanish and English language media is examined, and also niche marketing targeting Latinos. Tobacco is also investigated from a multicultural perspective, discussing the potential conflict standard media literacy strategies can have with Native American culture.


Digital Video Production

As a prevention strategy, it is increasingly clear that an effective and engaging tool for youth is to combine media literacy with digital video production. Moreover, one of the issues concerning mass media dominance is a lack of dialog, the ability to “talk back” to a one-way channel of communication. One of the most successful ways to remedy this is to begin producing your own community-based messages through digital video production.

With the lowered cost of technology it is now possible to learn and operate professional video editing systems.

We now offer three to five day production packages that provides intensive media literacy and digital video production training. Participants will learn how to incorporate media literacy informed messages and critiques into a public service announcement, written, produced, shot and edited on-site by students. The workshop results in a finished video piece.

Digital video workshops teach basic skills in the following:

  • Media literacy geared towards health issues such as alcohol, tobacco, and violence prevention, or healthy sexuality, relationships and physical wellness.
  • An understanding of the language of moving images and digital media storytelling.
  • Digital video camera technique.
  • Sound and audio technique.
  • PSA writing skills
  • Shooting, editing and digital video production.

Mass Media as Source Material
Adobe Premiere, FinalCut Pro and the Art of Found Footage Montage

Working with Intel-based PCs or Macs, students learn the basics of the non-linear digital editing system by cutting up and re-assembling TV ads into creative montages. Students are exposed to a brief overview of artist-created works of found footage and then apply the fine art of collage to produce original works. Source footage of TV commercials will be provided.

Zines and DIY Media:
From the American Revolution to the Internet

Do-it-yourself (DIY) media production goes back to Thomas Payne and Benjamin Franklin. Learn the history of DIY print media from the American Revolution to modern times. Workshop participants will get an overview of the history of zines (self-published magazines), and examine the important contribution the punk movement made to the zine revolution and its influence on art, culture and social movements of the late 2oth Century. Students will also learn the rudiments of print publishing and zine-making with photocopiers, producing a mini-zine during the workshop.


Drugs and Addiction

Few doubt that our culture is one that promotes craving and compulsion. But few realize that the central tool that promotes addiction, television, is itself highly addictive. This presentation examines patterns of addiction in the media, from pharmaceutical ads to fast food and alcohol commercials. This talk is ideal for conferences or projects seeking alternative approaches to drug education.

Media Literacy for AIDS Prevention

This workshop serves as an overview of the principles of media literacy as a prevention tool for risky behavior. Topics include basic media deconstruction, health issues reflected in advertising (alcohol, tobacco, drugs, music), specific examples of risky behaviors depicted in media, and strategies for using media in partnership with community organizations to develop strategies for AIDS prevention.

Media and Addiction: Using Media Literacy as a Prevention Strategy for Drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco

Since an early age, young people are exposed to media messages that tell them that buying a product can magically transform them. The best example of this is the prevailing image of sugary breakfast cereals marketed by magical creatures. It's no wonder that by the time children become young adults, they are already exposed to hundreds of thousands of ads promoting addictive substances. When closely scrutinized, one finds that there is little difference between cereal and alcohol ads. Each teaches young people that consuming physically harmful substances can transform them. This talk examines how a strategy of media deconstruction effectively educates young people about how addiction is promoted in the media. Educators and councilors are learning that telling kids not to drink and smoke is little effective, but teaching them how they are manipulated by large corporations enables them to see the issue differently. Included with the talk is a short video by teens that designed an underage drinking prevention program through media literacy.

This presentation is appropriate for teens, educators and councilors working with teens, parents and incarcerated youth. This talk can also be customized for specific themes, such as "Tobacco Use and Native Americans."


Dream Ecology: Shock and Awe in the Information Age

Examining how mass media has functioned as a force of mental and spiritual colonization, this multimedia presentation explores methods media use to distort belief systems, and how various subcultures and artists have designed creative forms of resistance to the pop-culture-information-military-complex. Various art movements will be explored, along with culture jamming, punk and hip hop.

Mapping Identity in a Media Saturated World:
A Media Deconstruction/Reconstruction Project

This seminar takes the essential concepts of media literacy and expands them to enable students to not only learn how the media functions, but to create their own media. Weekly two-hour classes feature video, light reading, discussion, collage making and zine production. This program can be altered for Native American students, with the insertion of Imagining Indians by Hopi filmmaker Victor Masayesva Jr. Many of the videos used in this workshop have screened at Taos Talking Pictures.

Media Deconstruction for Fun and Nonprofit

This hands-on workshop is for anyone who's wanted to learn the fine art of media deconstruction. This workshop is designed for teachers, community activists, artists and concerned citizens interested in decoding media. Learn the practical tools for media literacy (how to read corporate messages critically). Then, using media literacy tools, we explore the ecology of our personal dreams in the context of the corporate dream we call advertising, utilizing identity mapping to help us create a personal vision for a sustainable future. "If you can’t imagine your future, you are sure to live in somebody else’s.

Media Ecology: Consumerism, Deconstruction and Practical Tools

Focusing on the environmental impact of media and consumerism, this hands-on workshop is for anyone wanting to learn the fine art of media deconstruction as it relates to the environment. This workshop is designed for teachers, community activists, artists and concerned citizens interested in decoding media and understanding how media messages contribute to environmental degradation. Learn the practical tools for media literacy (how to read corporate messages critically).  Among many topics, we’ll look at car ads, food and nutrition.

Mental Ecology: How to Read Media and Understand its Effects

We are exposed to an average of 3,000 ads a day. By the time we are six years old we will have spent as much time in front of a television as we will spend earning a degree in college. Ninety-nine per cent of North American household have a TV, 95% watch at least one hour a day. The average home has a TV on eight hours a day. We are in an environment media activist and scholar Sut Jhally likens to the "fish not knowing the sea."  In our current milieu, watching TV is what we do. Yet, very few of us have the tools to critically evaluate what we are exposed to. In order to get "the fish to think about the water," this talk reviews the current media saturated environment, using a multimedia presentation of commercials, TV and film clips to evaluate its effects and provide remedies. This talk is not meant to bash media, but rather to examine how media affects our belief systems, especially in a post-9/11 environment.

Hypercity Vlog: Imaginary Cities and Utopian Practices in Multimedia

The goal is to expose youth to various media practices from pre-technological oral cultures to the present digital media environment through a group project that enables students to report from a Utopian future hypercity using a video Web log (Vlog). The objective is to use a media ecology approach to help students understand how communication tools both shape and reflect cultural practices. A scaffold approach to media ecology embodies within it both deconstruction and production media skills.

Though we see Utopian visions everyday in advertising, in the "real" world Utopia remains an illusive goal.  Yet many on-line artists and community networks are creating and promoting new technology as a path to a Utopian society. Is this true?  To answer this question it is necessary to excavate how past communication technologies influence Utopian concepts. By learning about various modes of communication (text, oral, time, space, networked) and how they influence our perception of the world (and future), students will explore various media practices that will be combined in a final project, documenting a Utopian future through available communications technology.

Nature and Media

Our biological environment is threatened by innumerable human habits and practices, most of which are promoted daily in the mass media. This workshop explores auto ads, news coverage, digital representations of nature in weather reports, and examines consumerism as a general ideology. This information is critical to understanding how people's beliefs concerning ecology are deeply influenced by media. Activists, organizers, teachers, students and anyone committed to environmental issues are recommended for this project.

The Press Isn't Psychic: Grassroots Marketing for Arts Organizations

No one in the media intentionally ignores communities, but because of bias and pressure from organizations that know how to work media, grassroots organizations and artists often lose out to slicker PR. This workshop assists organizations and individuals to develop strategies so that media will know about their activities and have a clearer understanding of their work. Participants learn hands-on skills and techniques for gaining coverage and exposure, from properly formatting press releases to media kits, from understanding the fine art of outreach to defining goals and markets for broader publicity.

Propaganda, News and War

Propaganda systems are complex processes that involve many layers of activities, including public relations, disinformation, spin, linguistic framing, popular culture, and social structuring. This workshop/presentation draws on the many tools at our disposal for deciphering propaganda, including deconstruction techniques, and applies practical skills for examining current events.

War and Aesthetics

Throughout history humans have been fascinated with war. With the advent of mass media, however, war has become a major form of entertainment spectacle, both real and fictional. This presentation examines how popular culture, news and media management cohere into a propaganda environment that inadvertently glorifies destruction, technology and modern warfare. In addition, military advertising strategies are examined through basic deconstruction techniques.


Youth and Media: How Corporations Target Youth and Resistance Strategies

This workshop is a hand-on approach to decoding media messages targeting youth. Participants will learn practical techniques for breaking down media messages, gaining a clear understanding of persuasion techniques, power structures and the differences between text and subtext. This session also introduces the history of DIY art and media, with en eye on youth produced media from around the country. We also explore different avenues for youth activists to explore media access and do-it-yourself media production.