Local eighth graders to learn about media literacy April 8
Local eighth graders to learn about media literacy April 8April 04, 2005Jaime Winne Alvarez firstname.lastname@example.org
The Diversity Committee of Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications will host 120 eighth graders from Syracuse’s T. Aaron Levy Middle School for Media Literacy Day, April 8. The Newhouse School is repeating the initial media literacy program, first held in November 2004, for an additional group of students.
Beginning at 9:30 a.m., Newhouse professors will teach sessions devoted to advertising, print (magazine and newspaper) and television. The event’s goal is to broaden student understanding of advertising, television programming and print media as constructed media meant to speak to specific groups of consumers. Professors will provide students with tools and ideas to help them look critically at the onslaught of messages and to think about what they consume with their eyes and ears.
“These are powerful forces in their lives, and we want them to digest them with a little bit of skepticism and an ample dose of criticism,” says Melissa Chessher, chair of the Diversity Committee and associate professor of magazine journalism. “For the last event, students deconstructed a music video, thought of ad placements for an MTV reality show and looked at the reliability of news from the local newspaper versus the National Enquirer. The goal of the exercises is to make them think about the motivations and intent behind the images they see and understand that most images are vehicles used to sell them things.”
As preparation, students will be surveyed by Michael Foley, a technology teacher at Levy Middle School, who will encourage them to explore ads they respond to, to document how much television they watch daily, to note their favorite television programs and magazines and to survey who reads the newspaper in their homes.
Beyond media literacy, Chessher once again wants the students to come away from the event knowing that higher education, SU in particular, is an engaging and exciting place and certainly a possibility for them to pursue in the future.
“We hope this is a starting point to build a strong connection with this school and to help promote media literacy,” Chessher says. “The one complaint the students had about the first day was that it was too short. They wanted more. That was encouraging and next year we hope to do just that.”