My letter advocating for media literacy appeared in the Oct. 4 print edition of the Minneapolis StarTribune. I wrote it in response to a Sept. 27 op-ed by Jack Davies titled “Can Democracy Survive the Internet?”
In my professional life I’m an associate professor of Mass Communication. By the time some students get to me, my class is their first in-depth exposure to media literacy. Based on their feedback, I think they learn a lot in my classes, but I’ve often wondered about the high school grads who don’t go on to college, or the ones who do but who choose not to take a mass comm course.
Not everyone goes to college, obviously, and not everyone needs to. So that’s why media literacy in grades K-12 is more important than ever. One of my friends who used to be a teacher told me that media literacy is indeed a standard in most states. But there are SO MANY standards that there’s no way to adequately address them all at the level that’s necessary. So my argument is let’s give priority to those media literacy standards. Media literacy has always been important, but right now our democracy may be suffering because of media illiteracy.
What do you think?