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How media literacy is defined: A review
Unformatted Document Text:  17 Again another group of authors take a more normative approach; they claim that media literacy includes the ability to watch less television and to select programs of a higher quality (Brown, 1991 44 ; Vooijs & Van der Voort, 1989). None of the authors or projects described in the previous paragraph provided a rationale behind their decision to include this aspect of ‘action strategies’ in their conceptualization of media literacy. Only Hobbs (1998a) provided a general reason for the importance of media literacy, which has been discussed in previous paragraphs. Objectification This aspect refers to the process whereby recurring actions and situations are turned into routine activities. It relates to the creation of habitual behavior patterns, which can include media use. In regard to media literacy it suggests that people should be aware of their patterns of media use, and how this routine use came about. The descriptions of media literacy, which included the notion of objectification, can be divided into two categories: 1) those definitions that specifically focus on the awareness of one’s viewing habits, i.e., the amount of time one spends with the media, and 2) those definitions that comment on the more general ability to evaluate one’s media use. First, Hobbs (1998a) noted that media literacy entailed rendering people more sensitive regarding the extent and magnitude of their exposure to the media (Branston, 1992; Desmond, 1997; Desimoni, 1992; Vooijs & Van der Voort, 1989). The only author who explains the importance of rendering people aware of their viewing habits, is Branston (1992). He explained that the focus on audiences, which he propagates in his article, is so important because it is a much-needed shift away from the assumption held by many media education programs that merely deconstructing texts is enough to understand the effect that such texts have on their audiences. Once again, Hobbs (1998a) only presented a general reason for the importance of media literacy as a whole, which has been discussed before. The second category included those definitions which were less specific; the majority of the authors in this category refer to the ability to evaluate, and thus their definitions are also conceptualized as a part of the element ‘interaction situation’. For instance, in his description of the aspects that should make up a media education project, Brown alleged that people should be aware of how they use the media. Several of the media education projects Brown described concurred with this description; these curricula focused, among other things, on teaching students to become more aware of their own viewing habits (Brown, 1991 45 ; Hobbs & Frost, 1998; Piette & Giroux, 1997 46 ; Masterman, 1997; Singer, Zuckerman & Singer, 1980). None of the authors described in the previous paragraph provided a reason for their inclusion of this element in their conceptualization of media literacy. Only the Idaho state department of education claimed that media literacy as a whole would augment people’s basic comprehension skills as well as their ability to critically appraise the media (Brown, 1991). 44 The author referred only to the media education program developed by the Southwest Educational Development Lab. 45 Brown referred to the Singer research team, the Idaho state department of education, the Far West Laboratory for Education, Research and Development, the WNET/Thirteen program developed in New York and the program developed by the Boston University School of Public Communication. 46 Piette and Giroux referred only to the programs developed by the Boston University School of Public Communication, and the WNET/Thirteen program developed in New York.

Authors: Rosenbaum, Judith.
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17
Again another group of authors take a more normative approach; they claim that media
literacy includes the ability to watch less television and to select programs of a higher quality
(Brown, 1991
44
; Vooijs & Van der Voort, 1989).
None of the authors or projects described in the previous paragraph provided a
rationale behind their decision to include this aspect of ‘action strategies’ in their
conceptualization of media literacy. Only Hobbs (1998a) provided a general reason for the
importance of media literacy, which has been discussed in previous paragraphs.

Objectification
This aspect refers to the process whereby recurring actions and situations are turned into
routine activities. It relates to the creation of habitual behavior patterns, which can include
media use. In regard to media literacy it suggests that people should be aware of their patterns
of media use, and how this routine use came about. The descriptions of media literacy, which
included the notion of objectification, can be divided into two categories: 1) those definitions
that specifically focus on the awareness of one’s viewing habits, i.e., the amount of time one
spends with the media, and 2) those definitions that comment on the more general ability to
evaluate one’s media use.
First, Hobbs (1998a) noted that media literacy entailed rendering people more
sensitive regarding the extent and magnitude of their exposure to the media (Branston, 1992;
Desmond, 1997; Desimoni, 1992; Vooijs & Van der Voort, 1989).
The only author who explains the importance of rendering people aware of their
viewing habits, is Branston (1992). He explained that the focus on audiences, which he
propagates in his article, is so important because it is a much-needed shift away from the
assumption held by many media education programs that merely deconstructing texts is
enough to understand the effect that such texts have on their audiences. Once again, Hobbs
(1998a) only presented a general reason for the importance of media literacy as a whole,
which has been discussed before.
The second category included those definitions which were less specific; the majority
of the authors in this category refer to the ability to evaluate, and thus their definitions are also
conceptualized as a part of the element ‘interaction situation’. For instance, in his description
of the aspects that should make up a media education project, Brown alleged that people
should be aware of how they use the media. Several of the media education projects Brown
described concurred with this description; these curricula focused, among other things, on
teaching students to become more aware of their own viewing habits (Brown, 1991
45
; Hobbs
& Frost, 1998; Piette & Giroux, 1997
46
; Masterman, 1997; Singer, Zuckerman & Singer,
1980).
None of the authors described in the previous paragraph provided a reason for their
inclusion of this element in their conceptualization of media literacy. Only the Idaho state
department of education claimed that media literacy as a whole would augment people’s basic
comprehension skills as well as their ability to critically appraise the media (Brown, 1991).
44
The author referred only to the media education program developed by the Southwest Educational
Development Lab.
45
Brown referred to the Singer research team, the Idaho state department of education, the Far West Laboratory
for Education, Research and Development, the WNET/Thirteen program developed in New York and the
program developed by the Boston University School of Public Communication.
46
Piette and Giroux referred only to the programs developed by the Boston University School of Public
Communication, and the WNET/Thirteen program developed in New York.


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