Get Media Savvy

What motivated this message?

What information might be missing

Whose perspective am I getting?

Who Profits?

These 4 tools will help you
think more critically
about any type of media you see.

What motivated this message?

Every media message is constructed by a human making conscious and unconscious choices. A glass of water is a fact, but a description will differ coming from a scientist, parent or poet. A journalist’s job is to confirm that the liquid really is water, then provide the public with as much information as possible about the facts.

What was the purpose behind the message? Is it professional journalism? Or entertainment? A scientific report? An advertisement? Figuring that out first will make you #mediasavvy.

What information might be missing?

Information you receive differs depending on the method by which you receive it. Radio and podcasts favor sound; Twitter favors brevity; Instagram and television favor appearance. During one of the first-ever televised U.S. presidential debates in 1960, many viewers thought John F. Kennedy won. But many listening on the radio believed Richard Nixon won. Why? Because radio listeners weren’t affected by visual information.

Be #mediasavvy by pausing to ask yourself how you might be influenced by the method of communication. What type of information was omitted?

Whose perspective am I getting?

The same message can have vastly different meanings to different people. American textbooks describe the Founding Fathers as freedom fighters seeking religious and economic emancipation from a king. Ask a Native American about those same people and they will describe them not as emancipators but invaders.

Recognizing whose perspective you are getting— and that there are other perspectives you might be missing—means you’re #mediasavvy.

Who profits?

Most media companies today are businesses, and use dramatic footage and words just to attract audiences. They also fill endless hours with talk shows, which are less costly than real journalism. Because professional journalism, editorials, commercials and entertainment are all mixed on our screens, it is nearly impossible to quickly identify what’s news and what's entertainment.

Before you start thinking about the content you're watching, consider the economic model behind your information source and why it's being delivered to you. Be willing to pay for quality journalism. Be #mediasavvy.

MORE #MEDIASAVVY TOOLS

To survive information overload, invest more time in becoming media savvy, or what educators call “media literacy.” The resources below will help you learn more. (Note: we do not have financial relationships with any of these non-profit organizations):

Checkology

Anyone can join this online classroom and master the core skills and concepts of news literacy.

Common Sense Media

Are you a parent? This is the best resource around for independent reviews, age ratings, & other information for families to promote safe use of media and technology for children.

Center for Media Literacy

Are you serious about getting media savvy? This 30-year-old org is the place to go. Educators and parents can download the CML MediaLit Kit™ FOR FREE, which has directions for successfully introducing media literacy in classrooms and community groups from preK to college, and more advanced options for educators.

Media Literacy Now

Being media savvy is a 21st century survival skill Want to help get media literacy into our kids’ classrooms?

News Literacy Project

Are you news-illiterate? The News Literacy Project helps educators and journalists equip students in middle school and high school with the tools they need to discern fact from fiction in the digital age.