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How media literacy is defined: A review
Unformatted Document Text:  11 Buckingham et al., 1990; Buckingham & Sefton-Green, 1997 16 ; Considine, 1997; Davies, 1997 16 ; Davison, 1992; Desmond, 1997; Dorr, Browne Graves & Pehlps, 1980; Greenaway, 1997; Hobbs, 1997, 1998a, 1998d; Hobbs & Frost, 1998; Lemish & Lemish, 1997; Lloyd-Kolkin, et al., 1980; Masterman, 1997; McClure, 1997; Meyrowitz, 1998; Piette & Giroux, 1997 17 ; Quin & MacMahon, 1997; Singer, Zuckerman & Singer, 1980; Swinkels, 1992; Thoman, 1999; Van Driel & Klinkenberg, 1989). Of all the authors who noted that understanding non-technical conventions should be one of the elements of media literacy, only a few explained why media literacy should include knowledge of both technical and non-technical conventions. All of these rationales have already been described in the previous paragraph (e.g., Aufderheide, 1997; Masterman, 1997; Quin & McMahon, 1997), most of whom argued that knowing about the different codes and conventions used in media messages can increase people’s understanding and appreciation of these messages, which will further empower them as autonomous individuals (Buckingham, 1998; Hobbs, 1998a, 1998b; Thoman, 1999). Third, the element ‘information’ also included knowledge about the actual message content. This refers to issues such as an awareness of the values present in a media message, awareness of the bias present in any message, awareness of the level of realism in a message and of the use of persuasive arguments. Several authors referred to this aspect when describing media literacy. For instance, Brown (1991) described a conference organized by the USOE in 1978, which described media literacy as the ability to distinguish fact from fiction, the ability to recognize differing points of view, the ability to understand the style and content of different genres (59). In his literature overview, Brown also sketched the media education goals set by the Idaho State Department of Education. One of these goals was to teach students, 1) how to identify the conflict values that are embedded in entertainment programming content and, 2) how to consider reasonable alternatives to the problem solutions presented in television programs (Brown, 1991 18 ). The definitions of media literacy as presented by various other authors resemble either all or a few of the definitions presented above (Alvardo & Boyd-Barrett, 1992; Bazalgette, 1997; Brown, 2001; Buckingham, 1990 19 ; Buckingham, 1998; Buckingham et al., 1990; Buckingham & Sefton-Green, 1997 19 ; Considine, 1997; Criticos, 1997; Davies, 1997 19 ; Desimoni, 1992; Desmond, 1997; Greenaway, 1997; Hobbs, 1997; 1998a; 1998b; Hobbs & Frost, 1998; Lloyd-Kolkin et al., 1980; Masterman, 1998; Piette & Giroux, 1997 20 ; Singer, Zuckerman & Singer, 1980; Swinkels, 1992; Thoman, 1999; Van Driel & Klinkenberg, 1989; Vooijs and Van der Voort, 1989). Once again, only a few authors delineate reasons for their inclusion of this aspect in their description of media literacy. In regard to the ability to recognize the different values embedded in a media message, Thoman (1999) added that people must know how to ‘read’ all kinds of media messages to discover the points of view embedded in them. Only then will people be able to assess whether to accept or reject these messages (51). As was the case with the previous aspects of ‘information’, various authors who noted that people had to be able to critically evaluate the content of a message, only provided a general reason for the need for media literacy. Various authors pointed out that media education would teach people how to become active and critical citizens, which would benefit democracy (Criticos, 1997; Hobbs, 1998a; Masterman, 1998). Other authors based their arguments for the importance of media 17 In this case the authors referred only to the media education project developed by the Swiss canton of Fribourg. 18 See also the research program developed by the Singer research team. 19 The author referred to the principles of media education as developed by the BFI. 20 These authors referred to the media education program developed by the Boston University School of Public Communication, and the media education program entitled “Selling pictures”, developed by the BFI.

Authors: Rosenbaum, Judith.
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background image
11
Buckingham et al., 1990; Buckingham & Sefton-Green, 1997
16
; Considine, 1997; Davies,
1997
16
; Davison, 1992; Desmond, 1997; Dorr, Browne Graves & Pehlps, 1980; Greenaway,
1997; Hobbs, 1997, 1998a, 1998d; Hobbs & Frost, 1998; Lemish & Lemish, 1997; Lloyd-
Kolkin, et al., 1980; Masterman, 1997; McClure, 1997; Meyrowitz, 1998; Piette & Giroux,
1997
17
; Quin & MacMahon, 1997; Singer, Zuckerman & Singer, 1980; Swinkels, 1992;
Thoman, 1999; Van Driel & Klinkenberg, 1989).
Of all the authors who noted that understanding non-technical conventions should be
one of the elements of media literacy, only a few explained why media literacy should include
knowledge of both technical and non-technical conventions. All of these rationales have
already been described in the previous paragraph (e.g., Aufderheide, 1997; Masterman, 1997;
Quin & McMahon, 1997), most of whom argued that knowing about the different codes and
conventions used in media messages can increase people’s understanding and appreciation of
these messages, which will further empower them as autonomous individuals (Buckingham,
1998; Hobbs, 1998a, 1998b; Thoman, 1999).
Third, the element ‘information’ also included knowledge about the actual message
content. This refers to issues such as an awareness of the values present in a media message,
awareness of the bias present in any message, awareness of the level of realism in a message
and of the use of persuasive arguments. Several authors referred to this aspect when
describing media literacy. For instance, Brown (1991) described a conference organized by
the USOE in 1978, which described media literacy as the ability to distinguish fact from
fiction, the ability to recognize differing points of view, the ability to understand the style and
content of different genres (59). In his literature overview, Brown also sketched the media
education goals set by the Idaho State Department of Education. One of these goals was to
teach students, 1) how to identify the conflict values that are embedded in entertainment
programming content and, 2) how to consider reasonable alternatives to the problem solutions
presented in television programs (Brown, 1991
18
). The definitions of media literacy as
presented by various other authors resemble either all or a few of the definitions presented
above (Alvardo & Boyd-Barrett, 1992; Bazalgette, 1997; Brown, 2001; Buckingham, 1990
19
;
Buckingham, 1998; Buckingham et al., 1990; Buckingham & Sefton-Green, 1997
19
;
Considine, 1997; Criticos, 1997; Davies, 1997
19
; Desimoni, 1992; Desmond, 1997;
Greenaway, 1997; Hobbs, 1997; 1998a; 1998b; Hobbs & Frost, 1998; Lloyd-Kolkin et al.,
1980; Masterman, 1998; Piette & Giroux, 1997
20
; Singer, Zuckerman & Singer, 1980;
Swinkels, 1992; Thoman, 1999; Van Driel & Klinkenberg, 1989; Vooijs and Van der Voort,
1989).
Once again, only a few authors delineate reasons for their inclusion of this aspect in
their description of media literacy. In regard to the ability to recognize the different values
embedded in a media message, Thoman (1999) added that people must know how to ‘read’ all
kinds of media messages to discover the points of view embedded in them. Only then will
people be able to assess whether to accept or reject these messages (51). As was the case with
the previous aspects of ‘information’, various authors who noted that people had to be able to
critically evaluate the content of a message, only provided a general reason for the need for
media literacy. Various authors pointed out that media education would teach people how to
become active and critical citizens, which would benefit democracy (Criticos, 1997; Hobbs,
1998a; Masterman, 1998). Other authors based their arguments for the importance of media
17
In this case the authors referred only to the media education project developed by the Swiss canton of
Fribourg.
18
See also the research program developed by the Singer research team.
19
The author referred to the principles of media education as developed by the BFI.
20
These authors referred to the media education program developed by the Boston University School of Public
Communication, and the media education program entitled “Selling pictures”, developed by the BFI.


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