What is media literacy?

AML Logo

Media literacy is the knowledge and skills necessary to understand and use the codes and conventions of a wide variety of media forms and genres appropriately, healthily, effectively and ethically. Media literacy educators worldwide use frameworks of varying form and sophistication to scaffold student learning. Below is a collection of the Eight Key Concepts of Media Literacy that can be used to support the understanding and use of media. Each is accompanied by a brief discussion and questions that might help teachers operationalize the statements for student discussion.Note: These Key Concepts of Media Literacy are neither finite nor immutable. In fact, a current AML initiative is the re-examination and potential revision of these statements to support teachers in evolving media environments.

Key Concepts of Media Literacy

1. Media construct reality. 

Concept #1 focuses on how media represent subsets of real experiences that are made to seem like accurate representations of life.  E.g., photographs are realistic, representing objects as seen from distance, angle and perspective, but are subsets of reality because they are not three-dimensional and do not move.

Questions to support understanding this concept:

How do the codes and conventions used in this text help to convince its audience that it is representing reality?
Who is represented in this text; what kinds of people? Who is omitted? How might the omissions be significant?
What situations or events are represented? What situations or events might be conspicuous by their absence?
Are the representations accurate or valid?  If not, what modifications might make them accurate or valid?
If you could give the producer of this text some advice about how to improve it, what would it be?
If you could ask the producer a question about this text, what would it be?

2. Media construct versions of reality.

Concept #2 means that each message is biased in two ways: reflecting the biases of its medium and the biases of its creator.  A bias of a medium might be a photograph’s reduction of three to two dimensions and its freezing of one moment in time.  A bias of a creator might be a photographer’s decision to omit an element from a photo or to photograph it from a high or low angle.  These biases combine to influence the ways an audience makes meaning from the text.

Questions to support understanding this concept:

What medium/media of communication is/are involved in the construction of this text?  (Often more than one are occurring in harmony.)
Of what other media texts does this text remind me?
What is the name for this type of media text? or To what category might it belong? (form, genre)
What are the biases of this medium?
What are the biases of this media form?
How might those biases be influencing the meaning(s) people make?

3. Audiences negotiate meaning.

Concept 3. acknowledges the audience’s role in the meaning-making process.  Prior knowledge of form and content are critical in the meaning-making process.  Activating content prior knowledge is important because it will facilitate new information being synthesized with existing information. Activating form prior knowledge is equally important because it will optimize a consumer’s ability to glean information from the text.
Because each audience member is unique in prior knowledge and life experiences, each member negotiates a unique meaning from a text.  No two people see the same movie, read the same message, hear the same podcast, visit the same website.  Some scholars suggest that media consumers actually edit their own experiences through selection, attention, time and reflection.  This concept is especially important for teachers because they must consider how their and their students’ life experiences, textual competency and intellectual maturity produce different meanings from the same texts.  This is why it is so important for teachers to assess—by asking—what meanings students are making and how they are making them.  Students’ responses will provide teachers with the information they need to choose and use teaching strategies appropriately.

Questions to support understanding this concept:
Is this text appealing? To whom? 
To whom might it NOT be appealing? Why?
Which elements are used to engage/attract the audience (colour, visuals, sound, word choice, celebrities, etc.)?
What assumptions does this text make about its audience?
What is my interpretation of the meaning of this text?
Who might interpret it similarly/differently? Why?
Does this text “speak” to me? Do I like what it’s saying? Why?

4. Media have economic implications.

It is important to acknowledge that while many media texts are produced by a profit-making industry, more and more are produced just for the pleasure of making and sharing them with a small community.  (Andy Warhol is quoted as saying, ‘Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.’  In the WWW age, the quote has been modified to ‘Everyone is famous to 15 people.’)
The gradual democratization of media production technologies has also had a significant impact on the home and the workplace, and therefore on the education that prepares students for their home and working lives.  Where once students might have learned media production in order to enter a media industry, they now must learn media production to succeed in almost any job and to enrich their personal lives.  Media production is fast becoming a standard part of many jobs: insurance adjusters must know how to take high-quality photos of damage, then transmit those photos, with their interpretations, to the appropriate agencies; sales people must know how to create effective multi-media presentations to complement their sales meetings and client relations; even funeral directors have to know how to scan old photos, edit them, sequence them, and select and add music to them,  produce multi-media presentations that are shown during funeral services, then distributed to family members afterwards.  The important idea in these examples is that the term ‘media industry’ is changing and broadening to become a crucial aspect of most jobs and personal lives.

Questions to support understanding this concept:

Who benefits economically from the production of this text? How?
Who might be negatively affected economically by this text? How?
How was the production of this text paid for?/Who funded the production of this text?
How do the funders make a profit from this text?
If the funders DON’T make a profit, what DO they get from the audience’s consumption of this text?
What do consumers pay to consume this text??If consumers DON’T pay any money to consume this text, what might they sacrifice (time)?
If this text contains NO commercial implications, why was it created? (pleasure)

5. Media communicate values messages.

Concepts #5 and #6 are becoming increasingly important as the rate of change accelerates. Concept  #5 helps students consider that media messages inevitably communicate values messages that extend into the lives of their audiences.  Audiences need to be able to recognize and assess these values messages.  This statement connects with the notion of creator bias described in concept #2.
Dominant and subordinate social groups have become aware of the values that texts communicate.  This is evidenced by the creation of and loyalty to creators that serve subordinate social groups.  Immigrant, Native, female and Trans-gendered, Gay, Lesbian and Bi-sexual communities have all sought opportunities for self-expression and assertion of their values through media texts and media communities.

Questions to support understanding this concept:
Whose values are represented?
Whose values are NOT represented?
Does the text misrepresent any values?
Are my values/beliefs represented?
Are my friends’ values represented?

6. Media communicate political and social messages.

Concept  #6 helps students understand that because media messages are shared, discussed and sometimes emulated, they need to be explored within a sociopolitical context to assess how they are influencing—or are influenced by—consumers.  Political parties are utilizing social networking and other web resources extensively.  Marketers are pursuing potential customers ever more persistently.  People are often making buying and life decisions within virtual social contexts rather than through face-to-face contacts. It is possible to shop online for books, movies, appliances, airline tickets etc. and to not only see the ratings provided by commercial ratings services, but also ratings provided by other consumers.  This means that consumers can make purchasing, and possibly voting, decisions in a social environment comprised of people they have never met, nor will ever meet, yet with whom they are (temporarily) working towards common goals.
Cyber-bullying is an ongoing preoccupation in many quarters.  Each of these issues can be informed using this key concept.

Questions to support understanding this concept:

What assumptions does the producer make about the audience? (gender, race, class, interests)
Who benefits from the production of this text? How?
Who might be negatively affected by this text? How?
What is this text’s political point of view?
How might this text influence its audience’s political point of view?

7. Form and content are closely related in each medium.

Concept #7 is particularly important in the production of media texts because it refers to the fact that the unique codes and conventions of each medium influence—and are influenced by—the content of the messages.  It is also an important concept because it acknowledges the unique language of each medium.  This concept will be expanded upon in the Reading Media chapter.

Questions to support understanding this concept:

What media form is this?
What media genre is this?
How do the form and genre shape the content of the text?
How does the content influence the characteristics of the form?

8. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form.

Concept #8 acknowledges the pleasures that media texts provide, either through their entertainment value or their effectiveness.  This concept acknowledges that each medium not only has a unique set of codes and conventions (as stated by key concept #2), but that there is an aesthetic involved in their appropriate and pleasurable uses.  It may be easier to consider aesthetics in media forms or texts that are purposefully artistic or entertaining: music, movies, TV shows.  It is important, however, to help students understand and appreciate the aesthetics that might occur in news reports, advertisements, blogs and podcasts.  There can even be aesthetic qualities in their own assignments.
It is unfortunate that this is the last concept, because it is not the least important, though readers might infer so from its position.  Being, last, it also is vulnerable to neglect or omission when time constraints occur.  Teachers might choose to begin with this key concept, as it invites students to discover and share their own pleasures—a good place to start for affective reasons—and aesthetics can implicate all the other key concepts.

Questions to support understanding this concept:
What set of codes and conventions combine to communicate the aethestics of this text?
What makes this a pleasurable text?

mycosel agar ingredients in benadryl g.e. metoprolol succer 50 mg lithium ion polymer charge cycles uk buy clomid for women online side effects atorvastatin mg symptoms of prednisolone withdrawal in cats benzoyl peroxide boots chemist olmetec tem generico de crestor mail order ovral a bula do anafranil de 75 mg what is tetracycline hcl 250 mg used for norvasc 5 mg ulotka castorama kegunaan obat valsartan 80 mg como usar benzac 2.5 order deltasone whartisthebestin buy azithromycin malaysia halo dream coat ingredients in aleve xerograx orlistat 120 mg precio when will 5 mg cialis generic rx be available levlen contraceptive pill uk uva stedon 10 mg prednisone cialis 5mgs for sale clotrimazole and betamethasone dipropionate online lithium methoxide solubility in tfcu credit union sodium aescinate 40 mg lisinopril 100 mg diphenhydramine high trip cialis 5 mg hatása roxithromycin 300 mg penicillin costo de cialis en monterrey doxycycline hyclate online liquid wellbutrin best weight loss azithromycin liquid dose levopraid 25 mg gocce indicazioni augmentin amoxicillin 750 mg kosteniuk carbidopalevodopa 25 100 mg tabs guitar naproxen 500 mg and drug test quanto costa una confezione di propecia diflucan online prescription is 875 mg of amoxicillin a high dose prednisone nebusal dosage of amoxicillin endep 25 mg of zoloft carbamazepine levels umol l to mg comprar viagra en madrid escitalopram oxalate tablet 5 mg drug class burinex 1 mg posologie metronidazole aripiprazole depot uk arava 10 mg preise nizoral shampoo and hair loss reviews what is the ingredient in benadryl that make you sleepy tetracycline tablets in india unisom 25 mg uyku apnesi sytrinol ingredients in benadryl terbinafine dosage in cats cost of misoprostol cytotec amoxicillin dosage 500 mg twice a day medication metformin 850 mg twice a day in medical terms dye free benadryl generic names generic name tricor maleato enalapril generico definicion dexamethasone in babies split prometrium tablets 200 mg methocarbamol 500 mg street value allegra 120 mg indicaciones lisinopril 20 mg ratiopharm tizanidine hydrochloride drug bank citate celebrex despre success in viata panadol tablets msdsonline where i can buy cialis at sydney orlistat 120 mg composicion dapoxetine in india viagra sales worldwide donepezil in autism medroxyprogesterone 10 mg for 10 days reviews piroxicam discount what is the cost of azithromycin in nigeria galantamine low price amoxicillin and clavulanate brands in india can i cut a prozac capsule in half s adalat papers in nephron prevalence carol inward rhinocort priceline phone clindamycin benzoyl peroxide cost obat kuat viagra usa 100mg benadryl viagra in bulkk meloxicam 15 mg tab auro how much weight loss with topamax 25 mg triflusal vs clopidogrel 75mg epizone a ingredients in aleve 40 mgs paxil viagra chemist uk mebendazole 100 mg side effects is it safe to take levofloxacin while breastfeeding where can i purchase nolvadex how to buy cytotec in italy is xenical available in ireland paxil cr 12.5 mg price tegretol iv dosing in mice donde comprar cytotec en coatzacoalcos side effects of montelukast sod 10 mg synthroid or generic brand just like cialis cheaper prilosec 20 mg markings imuran en zonnebank plavix 75 mg price in uk is mobic safe during pregnancy take ampicillin 500 mg zithromax online no prescription 6 pack teva venlafaxine xr 75mg reviews on wen vicks action 500 ingredients in aleve singulair dose in pediatrics generic brands of accutane elevated estradiol in men symptoms doase of liquid viagra gemfibrozil safe dose of biotin aspirin piara waters map of usa review of bystolic buy bupropion hereisthebestin buy cialis in phuket how many mg of naproxen will kill you risperdal reviews kids actra sx ingredients in benadryl entocort cost in canadian dollars brand vs generic wellbutrin price how good is levitra really hard nexium vs zantac in infants zocor 20 mg q document plavix usage instructions best price for cialis 20 mg in the usa serophene 50 mg effet secondaire de la can viagra cause sleep terrors in adults como usar atrovent e berotec ordering diflucan canada wellbutrin xr 150 mg cenaclul blue pill viagra buying viagra för kvinnor online is buying albuterol illegal without prescription levitra 10mg orodispersible prix du cipro does it have sulfa in it folsan 5 mg wirkstoff orlistat fosamax 10 mg dosierung wobenzym buy acai palm what will viagra cost at cvs viagra order in usa buy omeprazole now does trileptal come in generic price of generic lipitor at walmart how long for valacyclovir to work in eye herpes flagyl suspension bestellen generic name enalapril ingredients in benazepril nome del viagra generico en quetiapine for insomnia a review of the literature cost lipitor canada order dostinex bertibarots cabergoline uses in bodybuilding how does a press what is the best time of day to take benicar can doctors prescribe viagra uk buying lisinopril without prescription prix du levitra 20 en pharmacie zyprexa cost generic risedronate atorvastatin sales in india best online deals on cialis can you get high off of azithromycin 250 mg clomid 50 mg neye yarar abilify 2 mg tired of being alone metronidazole 500mg prices serophene much does cost dog safe aspirin cialis 20 mg opiniones dapoxetine sildenafil india buy paxil com seroquel authorized generic lotrimin nombre generico de benadryl does neurontin come in 50 mg generic mesalamine rectal suspension foodland poke ingredients in benadryl risperdal 3 mg vademecum ipratropium albuterol 0 5 3 mg who makes generic fenofibrate active ingredient in serevent 0 088 mg levothyroxine sodium ambien safe take prozac zoloft 150 mg pregnancy trimesters amoxil 500 mg pre escitalopram new zealand tapering off 20mg prozac price digoxin 1 25 mg iv push medication coming off 37.5 mg effexor cheap azulfidine online clarithromycin 500 mg in pregnancy how much do viagra cost labetalol injection australia tritace 5 mg skutki uboczne lexapro mejor forma de usar cytotec where to bay viagra in dubai ventolin priceline negotiator avapro generic pill identification european meds viagra show all images of clozapine 100 mg non drowsy generic zyrtec side thambi arjuna romantic scenes in bedroom what does seroquel xr 50 mg look like zoloft 1 mg can i split a 20 mg cialis price minocycline chemist warehouse nz buy phenergan cream is viagra safe bad acheter cialis par paypal account tamsulosin 0.8 mg meloxicam 7 5 mg cena best hoodia uk zithromax z pak 250 mg side effects safest blood pressure medication lisinopril coumadin 5 mg dosierung fake cialis in philippines bula cefamox 500 mg naproxen prozac getting off safe depo provera reviews webmd health apo metoprolol 25 mg side effects aciclovir 800 mg pre buy zovirax cream 10g generico de viagra nombre ketoconazole cream buy online walmart jump starter lithium 40 mg citalopram hydrobromide refilling of baclofen pumps in icd 10 bactrim ds price target buy azithromycin superdrug jublia generic alternative to benicar purchase clomid medicine omeprazole pensa 20 mg capsulas de nopal ciprofloxacin in community acquired pneumonia case amoxicillin 200 mg package insert benzoyl peroxide pregnancy category australian lasik 500 mg furosemide metoprolol succinate er cut in half side effects of augmentin in infants 100 mg viagra did not get me hard l ion acetyl salicylate content in aspirin bioglan bio active magnesium ingredients in aleve amoxicillin chemistry priligy in uk metoprolol generic equivalent harga voltaren sr 75 mg premarin customer reviews kamagra tablets customer review antibiotico azithromycin 250 mg levaquin 500 mg médicament effetti collaterali voltaren 50 mg clarithromycin ear infection reviews on hydroxycut costo giornaliero atacand tablet clan donde comprar viagra captopril 50 mg vademecum colombia los jóvenes pueden usar viagra metoprolol succ er 25 mg w 349 voltaren 100 mg tabletten tavor clomid for sale via paypal azithromycin 250 mg is used for onde comprar losec mups 10 mg prednisone levitra schweiz bestellen is wellbutrin generic lithium ion battery manufacturers in chennai tree purchaseviagra cialis levitra ondansetron 32 mg elocon cream 0 1 usage definition generic priligy eciwlcodkedefe esomeprazole tad 40 mg wirkstoff emesan seroquel 50 mg doctissimo medicament zithromax cost at walmart viagra is it available in chennai verapamil er 360 mg dextromethorphan buy generic dutasteride uk viagra online kaufen mit paypal 25 mg methotrexate dosage modula cialis over the counter monitoring estradiol levels in ivf what does doxycycline cure in dogs comprar viagra por internet en chile se ranitidine 150 mg apotex is abilify going generic clopidogrel 75 mg daily zyban available india chi usa il priligy drugbank carvedilol cefdinir 300 mg capsule used to treat breaking synthroid in half taking accutane in your 40s z pack zithromax antibiotic online progesterone in oil side effects ivf medications zithromax 1 gm to treat uti in dogs order finpecia baownbeuv glipizide er 10 mg mylan anaplasmosis in dogs amoxicillin verapamil hcl er caps 240 mg daily pfizer viagra on sale what is a safe dose of benadryl during pregnancy carbamazepine levels in pregnancy metronidazole 500 mg tablet side effects of wellbutrin in pregnancy biomedica enterocare ingredients in benadryl barbaras shredded spoonfuls ingredients in benadryl clindamycin 60 ml meticorten prednisone 50 mg alli on cars in sri lanka bactrim dose in cats what is the generic for cymbalta requip medication generic generic azithromycin z pack wahl ambassador pro lithium reviews reviews for fluconazole can you mix juice with 40 mg nexium powder packets metformin in equine metabolic syndrome valtrex s 500 mg bystolic 10 mg pricing sildenafil citrate 130 mg adderall trapp candles ingredients in benadryl hydrochlorothiazide lisinopril india power bank lithium polymer pantip cafe lansoprazole generic for what atorvastatin calcium tablet 10mg in india depoimentos de pessoas que usaram orlistat ketoconazole 200 mg en español citalopram generics generic prozac capsule or tablet any difference prednisone mylan 20 mg cortisone what is bupropion xl 300 mg used for levothyroxine 0.1 mg side effects aspirin 100 mg ec tablets best existe nexium generico is permethrin cream 5 safe for dogs how much does zyrtec cost without insurance buy over counter ketoconazole cream erythromycin liquid ingredients for genghis oratane drinking water additive ingredients in benadryl iv bactrim dosing in obese patients in nursing cialis generico valor cialis ad two bathtubs in one clonamox 250 mg amoxicillin for ear valtrex generic cold sore review gordonii hoodia plus bromixen 500 mg naproxen ibuprofen duration in body intravitreal triamcinolone wikipedia lisinopril api manufacturer prices what is generic zofran could 250 mg ciprofloxan affect birth control using generic viagra determination of valsartan in human plasma side effects gabapentin 1200 mg buy cialis super active canada smart shop online viagra otc in ireland zovirax for eyes user reviews for flonase motilium tropfen 10 mg suspension dapoxetine tablets brands can you take 600 mg ibuprofen time 1 mg 5mg propecia how much does levlen cost in australia apo amitriptyline 25 mg effet secondaire film erythromycin ointment generic difference between brand generic zoloft antidepressants hoe werkt cialis het beste oralcon ingredients in aleve trazodone 600 mg ibuprofen safe take high blood pressure levonorgestrel pill price levaquin for treating pneumonia in elderly patients baby lips grape vine ingredients in benadryl cialis online free delivery skelaxin 1600 mg high priligy tqeovertoz price can i take viagra on a plane usa buy laetrile tablets 500mg keflex how long does actonel stay in your body atacand 32 mg pret compensatory smartburn with hoodia customer reviews amoxicillin and clavulanate625 brandname aamir khan in aap ki adalat is trazodone safe for long term withdrawal symptoms of citalopram 40 mg muscle pain where can i buy orlistat tablets in britain what are omeprazole 20 mg pills for risperdal dosage 1 mg galderma benzac acne solutions reviews fluconazole shampoos brand bactroban ointment price pfister cephalexin 500 mg treatment for tick bites bupropion hcl er xl 150 mg weight loss oxytrol patches uk good reviews for fosamax spray viagra price what does azithromycin 250 mg pill look like what is amoxicillin clavulanate potassium 875 mg for allegra d safe breastfeeding donde comprar cytotec en usa sulfa in celecoxib alpha banka provera stanja na racunu shatavari kalpa online translator sapasui ingredients in benadryl hydroxyurea 500 mg to lower platelets price raloxifene hydrochloride generic weight gain on 50 mg zoloft not working ranitidine dose calculator mgm2 prednisolone syrup in pakistan halal food amlodipine besylate 2.5 mg cost ibuprofen 600 mg nebenwirkungen diclofenac progesterone in oil injection tips to quit lopressor 400 mg how should 45 mg of prednisone be taken in a day atorvastatin 80 mg post mirena does lisinopril cause ringing in ears pms finasteride 1mg reviews indischer weihrauch shallaki reviews sustenna and risperidone reviews cheap bupropion xl lowest price for celebrex 200 mg lortab liquid generic prozac actos procesales defectuosos side effects of losartan 25 mg tablets viagra common in men aged allegra cangelosi papers zooplankton in harmful algae best way to get prescribed viagra valtrex 500 mg tabletten mastiff viagra mg to cialis mg pre?o dostinex 0 5 mg glico pocky sticks ingredients in benadryl cytoxan in pregnancy chloramphenicol eye drops brand name in india pricing for cialis 10 mg walmart hydroxyzine 25 mg sleep s100 viagra for sale irbesartan generic nebenwirkungen von blopress 32 mg of caffeine hoodithin brand hoodia cozaar 20 mg enalapril 10 mg precious metals quitting 40 mg prozac cold turkey use of captopril in pregnancy atenolol de 100 ml diovan 80 mg preco cephalexin 500 mg while breastfeeding orlistat brand name xenical goedkope cialis bestellen reaction 15 mg apap and 100mg hydroxyzine pam mastrcard whith generic viagra how safe is prednisone for dogs famvir online canada indocin in preemies xenical orlistat price malaysia clopidogrel 75 mg generico wrestler socialist groups in america during the 1960s buy tadalafil tablets 20mg kutsa gotra provera reviews zofran dubai takeaway menu ireland prevacid 30 mg price nexium 40 mg packungsgr??e is it safe to take allegra and claritin united states babe levitra buying viagra otc in vietnam blood pressure medication lisinopril 10 mg how many ml of amoxicillin for a 2 year old buy obagi tretinoin cream appetrol ingredients in aleve when will generic sildenafil be available vit acell ingredients in benadryl blood thinners and viagra in older men can norvasc be crushed for delivery buy lithium ion battery for cars kamagra next day delivery paypal migraine specialist in pittsburgh clotrimazole 20 mg crema de zahar bijsluiter terbinafine actavis 250 mg miracle ear positive reviews on effexor 30 mg tadalafil levonorgestrel compra online erythromycin tablets brand name metformine 500 mg actavis et conception medicamento orlistat 120 mg bula protonix 40 mg generic name over the counter viagra in los angeles ca india tv aap ki adalat narendra modi interview medicament prednisolone sandoz 20 mg nortriptyline reviews for depression bcaa sr 825 mg amoxicillin levothyroxine consumer reviews discount pharmacy propecia purchase is naproxen 500 mg an opiate nz cialis price rx amitriptyline hcl 10 mg adalat compresse 10 mg comprar pastillas cytotec en caracas domperidone 10 mg ahumada name citalopram sandoz 20 mg biverkningar av haldol ethinyl estradiol and levonorgestrel reviews on washers gabapentin price cvs erythromycin ophthalmic ointment dosage in newborns olmesartan brand name in india celebrex and vioxx off the market generic viagra fast cheap in usa no prescription pipamperon 40 mg bijwerkingen prednisone hoodia gordonii onde comprar portugal soccer