Media Tells the Story, the Audience Parses the Meaning
Well before going to see a doctor, we seek a basic understanding of the doctor’s background – their higher education, specialty training, etc. We seek to understand the basics of the doctors background in order to determine their influences and, in turn, their motivation for their choices in treating you. But how much do you know about the director of the last movie you saw? Or the product placement terms they agreed to in order to finance the film? Or of the special lighting, shadowing, and airbrushing that went into making the cover model look flawless in the last magazine you read? The ability to understand the motivations behind media creation, along with being able to discern the motivations for their choices in influencing you, are the basis of media literacy.
Discussing the media’s role as a major purveyor of culture and its significant educational impact, Alex Singer speaks from personal experience as a director of one of the most popular, cultural influencing television series of all time, STAR TREK. How much is the public responsible for understanding how the media works before watching a TV program, going to a film or picking up a magazine?
The benefits of being media literate are applicable to all areas of life and work. For example, politicians use the media to distribute very tightly crafted messages designed to reveal a laser sharp message intended to move an audience emotionally. Businesses put millions of dollars into advertising that harnesses the power of the brain to absorb information, bypass natural resistance to input, and buy goods. This isn’t a criticism of those actions, but a further confirmation of how important it is to know more about the power of communication that comes to us electronically or on film, as individual consumers.
For Mr. Singer. it became overwhelmingly clear that young people who learn to apply critical thinking skills to what they see, hear, and read in the media, become better leaders throughout their lives.