SU’s Newhouse School and Syracuse’s Levy Middle School to collaborate on media literacy
SU’s Newhouse School and Syracuse’s Levy Middle School to collaborate on media literacyNovember 09, 2004Amy Schmitzaemehrin@syr.edu
On Nov. 19, the Diversity Committee of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications will host 120 eighth graders from T. Aaron Levy Middle School for a Media Literacy Day. Starting at 9 a.m., six Newhouse professors will teach sessions devoted to newspaper/magazine, advertising and television. The event’s goal is to broaden student understanding of ads, television programs and newspapers and magazines as constructed mediums meant to speak to specific groups of consumers.
The event will also include a tour of the Newhouse complex and closing remarks by David Rubin, dean of the Newhouse School.
“Our goal is to spark students to think about what they consume with their eyes and their ears,” says Melissa Chessher, chair of the Diversity Committee and associate professor of magazine journalism at the Newhouse School. “These are powerful mediums in their lives, and we want them to be able to digest them with a little bit of skepticism and an ample dose of criticism.”
As preparation for the day, students will be surveyed by Michael Foley, technology teacher at Levy Middle School, who will prompt them to explore what ads they respond to, how much television they watch in a day, what shows are their favorites, what magazines they read and who reads the newspaper in their homes.
“This is a great opportunity for our students,” says Foley. “It will emphasize to students the bridges communications technology can build as well as get them excited about certain aspects of education at a perfect age.”
Beyond media literacy, Chessher wants these students to leave thinking that SU is a place that welcomes kids from the Syracuse school system.
“There are students in these classrooms who live in our neighborhood who never think about the prospect of attending this university,” Chessher says. “I want to give them the thought that SU in particular and higher education in general is an engaging, interesting, exciting place to be.”
The Newhouse School will repeat the media literacy day in the spring for the additional groups of eighth grade students at Levy Middle School.