Media Literacy Reading Notes communications homework help

Review and reflect on the readings and film issues. Consider these questions and incorporate them in your answer

  • What are media literacy basics for digital media, social media and other Internet based resources?
  • Why do media creators represent people in the various stages, rather than always as complex fully human characters?
  • How can gender representations, become more honest? Are video games ever honest gender representations?

Article 1 :Media Literacy Reading Notes

Kamerer (2013) examines media literacy education, what it is, and why the need for it has grown within the changing digital media and social media environment.

Kamerer presents a UNESCO definition of Media Literacy

The process of assimilating and using the codes involved in the contemporary media system as well as the operative skills needed to properly use the technological systems on which these codes are based [and as] the capacity to access, analyze and evaluate the power of the images, sounds, and messages with which we are faced every day and which play an important role in contemporary culture. It includes the individual capacity to communicate using the media competently. Media literacy concerns all media. (UNESCO, Kamerer, 2013)

An applied model of media literacy, developed by high school teacher Joanne McGlynn, asks five questions when reflecting on a text, such as a film, commercial, or television show.

  • Who is sending the message and what is the author’s purpose?
  • What techniques are used to attract and hold attention?
  • What lifestyles, values, and points of view are represented in this message?
  • How might different people interpret this message differently?
  • What is omitted from this message? 

These questions help illustrate how building media literacy builds more empowered media users. After learning production skills, learning to construct meaning in a text, one also learns to deconstruct messages received through the mass media.

Media production as a way to encourage teamwork and problem solving.

Media literacy also educates about the economic base of media, and helps understanding about the economic motives behind media messages.

Kamerer examines the history of growing media culture, and development of education and theory development within and about media.

Kamerer looks at four approaches to media education developed by Kellner and Share (2007).

  1. Powerful media passive audience approach.
  2. Media arts education approach: learning to construct media messages, teaches media literacy.
  3. Media literacy movement approach: expands idea of literacy to include popular culture, but does not engage the political dimension of education and especially literacy.
  4. Critical media literacy approach: audience is viewed as active and always exploring the link between power and information.

Kamerer shares what Hobbs (2011) defined as five communications competencies, fundamental literacy practices, now part of learning across all subject areas

  • Access
  • Analyze
  • Create
  • Reflect
  • Act

Computer literacy and empirical study are two important areas of media literacy education, examined and encouraged in order to build a forward looking knowledge creation system that empowers people to sift through information, recognize, and distinguish between truth and deception.


Kamerer, David (2013) Media Literacy.
Communication Research Trends, 32(1), 4-25

Article2:Television and Social Controls Reading Notes

Television is involved intimately with social conflict and control.

Clark identifies four stages of media representation for ethnic minorities.

  • Non-Recognition/Invisibility—not represented at all in the social world.
  • Ridicule—represented as clown or villain to be dismissed.
  • Regulation/Assimilation—represented as members of society but not central to the story or narrative.
  • Respect/Humanity—represented as complex person in relationships with strengths and weaknesses.


Clark, C. (1969) Television and Social Controls: Some Observations on the Portrayals of Ethnic Minorities. Television Quarterly, 8(2), 18-22. 

Flim1:Miss Representation Film Notes

Watch Miss Representation (90 Minutes)

Time: 1:29:57 Miss Representation Video Transcript

Introduction Notes

  • The most common way to give up power is to think you do not have any.
  • Communications scholar Marshal McLuhan said the media is both the message and the messenger.
  • Girls often get the limiting message that how you look is most important, that your value depends on it, more than strength, intelligence or accomplishment.
  • Everyone’s experiences are unique but the dilemmas of gender representation are all too common.
  • We want a different world but much has to change to bring that different world.

Technology allows images altered to be inhumanly perfect and the effect can be both unconscious and harmful.

Margaret Cho discussed the pressure from TV producers who claimed that she was too fat

Image changing products and procedures produce more revenue than the GDP of 80% of the world’s countries.

Self-objectification is a problem that lowers both political efficacy and the sense that one’s voice matters. These are important factors in a healthy democracy.

There has been no gender equity change since 1979 for Women in US Congress.
Congress has fewest women representatives in 30 years.

1973 Education law, Title XI established sports funding gender equity in schools.

Dr. Condoleezza Rice says we need a psychological breakthrough in media.
Media is part of the process of gendered socialization. We learn about gender from media.

“You can’t be what you can’t see,” offers Marian Wright Edelman.

News journalism gender issues are discussed by network anchorwomen.
Only 6% of broadcast station owners are women (2011).

Symbolic annihilation is a communications term for invisibility and underrepresentation in media.

Women must write own story. This can contribute to gender based changes and improvements in media and in the crucial role media plays in shaping who we are.

Telecommunications Act of 1996 did not address gender factors of communications access.

  • Most advertisers are men in their 30s.
  • FCC obligations for public interest commitment in broadcasting have been gone since the 1980s.
  • FCC recommended government regulate media violence in 2007, but deregulation environment continues.

Media are not accountable to elected representatives or people.

Gender violence is a crucial problem, and media can demonstrate greater social responsibility.

Some strategies toward solutions include:

  • Gender and media literacy for a better world.
  • More Women in leadership who mentor aspiring young women.
  • Hold media and corporations accountable for social responsibility.
  • What we do with the power of media matters.
  • Need media literacy classes in schools, particularly regarding gender.
  • Scholars encourage media literacy particularly for healthy gender identity as an important tool to develop one’s own voice and ability to act and speak deeply from what you know and feel.

Miss Representation helps illustrate how media messages can encourage or discourage healthy gender identity.


Newsom, J. (Producer). (2011). Miss Representation. [Motion Picture]. United States: Virgil Films and Entertainment.

Article 3: Mean Girls? Reading Notes

Read Mean Girls?, available in eReserves.


Behm-Morawitz. E. & Mastro, D. E. (2008) Mean Girls? The Influence of Gender Portrayals in Teen Movies on Emerging Adults’ Gender-Based Attitudes and Beliefs. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 85(1), 131-146.

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