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How media literacy is defined: A review
Unformatted Document Text:  9 ministry of education, mentioned the ability to understand the mass media products are a result of professional and personal choices and not a neutral reflection of reality (221; Considine 10 ; Greenaway, 1997). None of these authors provided a rationale for their decision to include their definition of ‘situations’ in their conceptualization of media literacy. Others, in their definition of media literacy, focused on an awareness of the nature of the representations of reality in the media. Some authors, such as Hobbs (1997) merely noted that one of the principles of media literacy is that people understand that messages are representations of social reality (Masterman, 1997, 1998; Swinkels, 1992). Others focus on the extent to which this representation is accurate. Tufte (1992), for instance, noted that media education should teach students that television constructs reality, i.e., that what is shown on television may seem reality, but that it depicts a selective and transformed part of reality (182). (Bouwman, 1989; Brown, 1991 11 ; Lloyd-Kolkin et al., 1980 12 ; Vooijs & Van der Voort, 1990). The only author referred to in the previous paragraph who provided a reason for his decision to include their definition of ‘situations’ in their conceptualization of media literacy was Masterman (1997). He claimed that without this first principle, media education would be impossible, for if the media were to be perceived as ‘windows’ on reality, to study them would be completely pointless. Information In regard to media literacy, this element refers to the representation of people, places, events and situations by the media, and can be divided into an awareness of different aspects of this representation. First of all, this element refers to an awareness that a media message is a construction, and of the way in which the representation is created; i.e., the codes and conventions used in a media message. Secondly, ‘information’ refers an awareness of the manner of representation; i.e., the position of a mediated message on the continuum between neutral and biased. And finally, this element refers to the notion that people should be aware of the fact that there are multiple sources of information. Most definitions of media literacy encompass the notion of ‘information’, however, not all focus on all the aspects as described above, choosing to focus on only one or a few of these aspects. Thus I have created the following categorization which can be used to classify the numerous definitions: 1) knowledge about technical conventions; 2) knowledge about dramatic and /or narrative conventions, such as genre; 3) knowledge about actual message content such as bias; 4) knowledge that all media messages are constructions; 5) knowledge about news; 6) knowledge about advertising; and 7) awareness of the quality of the information presented through the media. First of all, numerous definitions of media literacy mentioned an awareness of the technical conventions used in the media. This includes knowledge about the use of, for instance, techniques such as sound, camera point of view, lighting techniques, framing, special effects and props. Hobbs (1997; 1998a; 1998b), for instance, claimed that people should be able to consider the techniques used to construct a mediated message. Quin and MacMahon (1997) provided an even more detailed description of the techniques that people should understand: lighting techniques, airbrushing, soft focus, frame position, actor’s pose, and claimed that students should also learn to understand how a specific audience will be targeted using specific techniques (317). Numerous authors included the knowledge of 10 Considine referred to the program developed by the Minnesota department of education. 11 The reference to Brown (1991) is only concerned with his discussion of the program created by the Far West Laboratory for Education Research and Development. 12 Besides referring to the media education program they developed themselves, Lloyd-Kolkin et al. also referred to the 1976 American Pediatrics Association Conference.

Authors: Rosenbaum, Judith.
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9
ministry of education, mentioned the ability to understand the mass media products are a
result of professional and personal choices and not a neutral reflection of reality (221;
Considine
10
; Greenaway, 1997). None of these authors provided a rationale for their decision
to include their definition of ‘situations’ in their conceptualization of media literacy.
Others, in their definition of media literacy, focused on an awareness of the nature of
the representations of reality in the media. Some authors, such as Hobbs (1997) merely noted
that one of the principles of media literacy is that people understand that messages are
representations of social reality (Masterman, 1997, 1998; Swinkels, 1992). Others focus on
the extent to which this representation is accurate. Tufte (1992), for instance, noted that media
education should teach students that television constructs reality, i.e., that what is shown on
television may seem reality, but that it depicts a selective and transformed part of reality
(182). (Bouwman, 1989; Brown, 1991
11
; Lloyd-Kolkin et al., 1980
12
; Vooijs & Van der
Voort, 1990).
The only author referred to in the previous paragraph who provided a reason for his
decision to include their definition of ‘situations’ in their conceptualization of media literacy
was Masterman (1997). He claimed that without this first principle, media education would be
impossible, for if the media were to be perceived as ‘windows’ on reality, to study them
would be completely pointless.

Information
In regard to media literacy, this element refers to the representation of people, places, events
and situations by the media, and can be divided into an awareness of different aspects of this
representation. First of all, this element refers to an awareness that a media message is a
construction, and of the way in which the representation is created; i.e., the codes and
conventions used in a media message. Secondly, ‘information’ refers an awareness of the
manner of representation; i.e., the position of a mediated message on the continuum between
neutral and biased. And finally, this element refers to the notion that people should be aware
of the fact that there are multiple sources of information.
Most definitions of media literacy encompass the notion of ‘information’, however,
not all focus on all the aspects as described above, choosing to focus on only one or a few of
these aspects. Thus I have created the following categorization which can be used to classify
the numerous definitions: 1) knowledge about technical conventions; 2) knowledge about
dramatic and /or narrative conventions, such as genre; 3) knowledge about actual message
content such as bias; 4) knowledge that all media messages are constructions; 5) knowledge
about news; 6) knowledge about advertising; and 7) awareness of the quality of the
information presented through the media.
First of all, numerous definitions of media literacy mentioned an awareness of the
technical conventions used in the media. This includes knowledge about the use of, for
instance, techniques such as sound, camera point of view, lighting techniques, framing,
special effects and props. Hobbs (1997; 1998a; 1998b), for instance, claimed that people
should be able to consider the techniques used to construct a mediated message. Quin and
MacMahon (1997) provided an even more detailed description of the techniques that people
should understand: lighting techniques, airbrushing, soft focus, frame position, actor’s pose,
and claimed that students should also learn to understand how a specific audience will be
targeted using specific techniques (317). Numerous authors included the knowledge of
10
Considine referred to the program developed by the Minnesota department of education.
11
The reference to Brown (1991) is only concerned with his discussion of the program created by the Far West
Laboratory for Education Research and Development.
12
Besides referring to the media education program they developed themselves, Lloyd-Kolkin et al. also referred
to the 1976 American Pediatrics Association Conference.


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