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How media literacy is defined: A review
Unformatted Document Text:  5 (Alvardo & Boyd-Barrett, 1992; Brown, 1991; Buckingham, 1998; Desimoni, 1992; Hobbs, 1997, 1998a, 1998b, 1998d; Lewis & Jhally, 1998; Lloyd-Kolkin, Wheeler & Strand, 1980; Meyrowitz, 1998; Swinkels, 1992; Vooijs & Van der Voort, 1989). Although not all authors provided a reason for the inclusion of this element in their description of media literacy, a few did. Hobbs (1998b), for instance, noted that if people are aware of the nature of the media institutions, they would better understand the context of a work. She alleged that this knowledge is also essential to help students understand the nature of communicative messages in contemporary culture (see also Buckingham, 1998). Alvardo and Boyd-Barrett (1992) asserted that pupils need to learn that media texts can originate in a range of different ways, for this may influence the differences between texts (206). Additionally, they noted that students needed to know about media institutions because pupils need to understand the process through which a text is constructed and circulated in order to see where the possibilities for change lie (Lewis & Jhally, 1998). Finally, Alvardo & Boyd-Barrett alleged that the rationale for teaching about media industries is that the mass media represent major institutions and industries and therefore should be taught about (97). Second, some authors, in their description of media literacy focused merely on the economic aspect of media institutions. The media education program developed by WNET, for instance, emphasized the economic dimension of the media (Piette & Giroux, 1997; Brown, 1991 2 ). Masterman (1998) echoed this description when he claimed that for anyone living in the current commercial media environment to be considered media literate, they must be aware of the commercialization of the media. A media literate person must understand that the primary function of commercial media is the ‘packaging’ of audiences for sale to advertisers. Media literate people must, according to Masterman, also develop a critical understanding of the basic techniques and tenets of marketing (Aufderheide, 1997; Bazalgette, 1997; Dorr, Browne Graves & Phelps, 1980; Hobbs & Frost, 1998; Singer, Zuckerman & Singer, 1980; Thoman, 1999). Once again, not all of the authors in this category explicated their rationale for the inclusion of this aspect of the media in media literacy. The only reason provided, by various authors, is that people usually do not realize that the chief product sold by the media is the audience, a feat which cannot be ignored as the media become increasingly commercialized (Desimoni, 1992; Masterman, 1998; Thoman, 1999). Third, several definitions focused on the political and/or historical aspects of media institutions as a part of media literacy. Lemish & Lemish (1997), for instance, stated that media education in Israel, as formulated by the Israeli ministry of education, teaches about the historical development of the media institutions (Bazalgette, 1997), the effects of the current communication arena and aims to teach students how to analyze future developments (221). The media educators who were present at the national leadership conference on media literacy claimed that people needed to be aware of the political implications of media messages (Aufderheide, 1997; Brown, 1991 3 ). Only the media educators present at the national leadership conference on media literacy provided a rationale for their description of media literacy, they noted that people needed to be aware of this aspect of media literacy because they needed to understand how reality is constructed through the media (Aufderheide, 1997). 2 The projects Brown (1991) referred to were the media education project developed by the French ministries of Communication, Education, Youth, Sport, Leisure and Agriculture, the one developed by the Ministry of Education in Australia as well as the one developed by the Boston University School of Public Communication. Brown also claimed that the majority of British and Latin American media education programs included the economic aspects of the media in their programs. 3 In this case, Brown (1991) referred to the media education programs developed in the UK and Latin America.

Authors: Rosenbaum, Judith.
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5
(Alvardo & Boyd-Barrett, 1992; Brown, 1991; Buckingham, 1998; Desimoni, 1992; Hobbs,
1997, 1998a, 1998b, 1998d; Lewis & Jhally, 1998; Lloyd-Kolkin, Wheeler & Strand, 1980;
Meyrowitz, 1998; Swinkels, 1992; Vooijs & Van der Voort, 1989).
Although not all authors provided a reason for the inclusion of this element in their
description of media literacy, a few did. Hobbs (1998b), for instance, noted that if people are
aware of the nature of the media institutions, they would better understand the context of a
work. She alleged that this knowledge is also essential to help students understand the nature
of communicative messages in contemporary culture (see also Buckingham, 1998). Alvardo
and Boyd-Barrett (1992) asserted that pupils need to learn that media texts can originate in a
range of different ways, for this may influence the differences between texts (206).
Additionally, they noted that students needed to know about media institutions because pupils
need to understand the process through which a text is constructed and circulated in order to
see where the possibilities for change lie (Lewis & Jhally, 1998). Finally, Alvardo & Boyd-
Barrett alleged that the rationale for teaching about media industries is that the mass media
represent major institutions and industries and therefore should be taught about (97).
Second, some authors, in their description of media literacy focused merely on the
economic aspect of media institutions. The media education program developed by WNET,
for instance, emphasized the economic dimension of the media (Piette & Giroux, 1997;
Brown, 1991
2
). Masterman (1998) echoed this description when he claimed that for anyone
living in the current commercial media environment to be considered media literate, they
must be aware of the commercialization of the media. A media literate person must
understand that the primary function of commercial media is the ‘packaging’ of audiences for
sale to advertisers. Media literate people must, according to Masterman, also develop a
critical understanding of the basic techniques and tenets of marketing (Aufderheide, 1997;
Bazalgette, 1997; Dorr, Browne Graves & Phelps, 1980; Hobbs & Frost, 1998; Singer,
Zuckerman & Singer, 1980; Thoman, 1999).
Once again, not all of the authors in this category explicated their rationale for the
inclusion of this aspect of the media in media literacy. The only reason provided, by various
authors, is that people usually do not realize that the chief product sold by the media is the
audience, a feat which cannot be ignored as the media become increasingly commercialized
(Desimoni, 1992; Masterman, 1998; Thoman, 1999).
Third, several definitions focused on the political and/or historical aspects of media
institutions as a part of media literacy. Lemish & Lemish (1997), for instance, stated that
media education in Israel, as formulated by the Israeli ministry of education, teaches about the
historical development of the media institutions (Bazalgette, 1997), the effects of the current
communication arena and aims to teach students how to analyze future developments (221).
The media educators who were present at the national leadership conference on media literacy
claimed that people needed to be aware of the political implications of media messages
(Aufderheide, 1997; Brown, 1991
3
).
Only the media educators present at the national leadership conference on media
literacy provided a rationale for their description of media literacy, they noted that people
needed to be aware of this aspect of media literacy because they needed to understand how
reality is constructed through the media (Aufderheide, 1997).
2
The projects Brown (1991) referred to were the media education project developed by the French ministries of
Communication, Education, Youth, Sport, Leisure and Agriculture, the one developed by the Ministry of
Education in Australia as well as the one developed by the Boston University School of Public Communication.
Brown also claimed that the majority of British and Latin American media education programs included the
economic aspects of the media in their programs.
3
In this case, Brown (1991) referred to the media education programs developed in the UK and Latin America.


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