Frequently asked questions

What do you mean when you say “media literacy”?


This is my favorite question. If you are not engaged in the media literacy community of scholars, the concept can be confusing. But it should not be. Here’s how I explain it:

We are immersed in media, whether we acknowledge it or not. The impact of the content we consume can be soul-crushing or it can offer limitless positive possibilities. Media literacy is the 21st century version of literacy. Reading ability and comprehension now extends to all types of media, not just print. Media literacy begins by getting curious about the media in and around your life—asking exhaustive questions about it. Think critically about the role media plays in your life. Pay attention to media’s access to your time, brain, wallet, feelings, beliefs, and behaviors. Be aware of how you are persuaded and regulate its presence in your life.




Media literacy, digital literacy, information literacy, news literacy... something-else literacy. What’s the difference?


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Media literacy is something for kids, right?


I love spending time with young people between the ages of 13 and 18. Old enough to have a sense of their own identity and opinionated enough to argue with me. Not so young that I fear scarring them for life. But it was spending time with my students that made me realize programming was necessary for the grown-ups too. Those of us in the village need to be allies in this—on the same page about the way we speak of cultivating healthy media habits with adolescents. Media literacy is for everybody. Why wouldn’t it be?




Media literacy sounds so...medicinal. Can’t you call it something else?


This question gnaws at me more than others. I’ve even had more than one person imply that “media literacy” must be a low-class/low-rent issue. In fact, it speaks to the very core of why media literacy, particularly from a critical perspective, is so essential.




Why aren’t they teaching this at my kid’s school?


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Your programs sounds great. How can I get involved?


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