uamg 1004 intro to mass comm lecture 2: media literacy benjamin loh
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UAMG 1004Intro to Mass Comm
Lecture 2: Media literacy
CHECKLIST Should be able to:
Explain the significance of the move from oral culture / transmission to written culture
Explain the importance of the Gutenberg printing revolution
Appreciate the importance of developing literacy in various areas (E.g., media literacy)
MMilestones in History of ilestones in History of Human CommunicationHuman Communication
Source: Dominick, 2002
TRANSITION IN SOCIETY Hunter-gatherer Community living Oral transmission
of ideas & knowledge (e.g., how to, history) Important till today
among some African tribes, Aboriginal people, etc.
Agriculture (and later on: expanding political, economic and military power)
Need for records Writing became
Writing on different surfaces Cuneiform (clay tablets - e.g.,
Sumerians): not portable! Parchment (treated sheep / goat skin
– e.g., Greeks): costly but long-lasting Papyrus (Egyptians) Paper (chinese)
SOCIAL IMPLICATIONS OF WRITTEN LANGUAGE
Literate vs. the illiterate Knowledge ‘power’ Encouraged birth and growth of
ancient empires Pool of knowledge builds up
Note: with writing, not all were taught selective & more
Dark Ages Fall of Rome in C6 Books took long time & expensive
because hand-copied (manuscripts) E.g., monks or scribes copied bible
Most of those books back then were in Latin
By 1150, trade routes opened Universities - Europe
1450s Gutenberg revolution – movable printing press Spread opposing ideas (e.g., Martin
Stepped up scientific publication printing revolution spreads throughout Europe, universities set up
PRINT REVOLUTION Spread throughout Europe Education & universities flourished More & more books appeared in the
vernacular (languages which are common to the people, instead of Latin) science, philosophy, religion knowledge more widely available
So, the print revolution enabled mass communication
Increased education Population growth Migration Improved transport system (e.g.,
railroads) Industrial revolution more workers,
consumers & demand (consumerism) Technology development
MEDIA LITERACY Within North America, media literacy is
seen to consist of a series of communication competencies, including the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE and COMMUNICATE information in a variety of forms including print and non-print messages.
Set of skills that need to be developed so that we are able to understand, appreciate and critically analyse & evaluate media content.
Why important? Media is a business, therefore…
Basically, go beyond what is on the surface.
Questions to ask when consuming: Who is this message intended for? Who wants to reach this audience, and why? From whose perspective is this story told? Whose voices are heard, and whose are
absent? What strategies does this message use to get
my attention and make me feel included?http://www.media-awareness.ca/english/teachers/
Source – who? credible? reliable? Presentation – fact or opinion? bias?
lies? hype? anything deliberately left out / downplayed?
Underlying political / social messages – why? What?
Who produces the media / message & for what purpose? Who ‘profits’? Who ‘loses’? And who decides? (social, political and economic analysis)
Key points about media (Baran)
Media is not neutral (takes sides) – contains messages that could be positive, negative, biased, stereotypes, etc.
Media uses persuasion – words, pictures, etc. Sometimes appeals are made to emotion
(instead of reason / logic / etc.) – e.g., ads Production techniques are deliberately done
– e.g., emotional impact by using camera angles, lighting, SFX, music, etc.
Genre – categories within each media. Each genre usually has certain style /
defining characteristics – e.g., hiphop, documentary, horror, etc.
Genres can be marketed / promoted Why need to know?
Production techniques & conventions Example – use of camera angles,
lighting, location on page, size of headlines, etc. can shape our perception High angle shot: camera above eye-level,
looking down on the subject implies weakness, inferiority, etc.
Books – hardcover / paperback, dustjacket, illustrations, size, spacing between words, index, etc.
Newspapers – colour photos, graphics, headlines today; organised intodifferent sections easier for reader to find the pages, sets up expectations on what stories are likely in those sections
Radio - many radio talk show include call-ins for listeners to share opinion
Recorded music- < 5 minutes a song; different genres
Film - Film & TV use editing, camera angles, lighting, movement and sound.
TV – smaller production budgets compared to movies
o use of laugh tracks in TV sitcom o In sitcom, actors come and go as if on
stage. The camera is usually stationary, although multiple camera angles are used.
o Scrolling news across the bottom of the screen giving news updates.
Only the news anchor or field reporter allowed to look directly into cam implies authoritativeness & objectivity of journalist, besides helping the viewer recognize the difference between the subject and the reporter.
Subtext Messages Subtext: the message beneath the message;
the underlying, or implicit / subtle, message that is being conveyed by media content.
E.g., TV sitcom Friends shows the lives of a group of friends.
The subtext may be that friends should be of the same race.
Note: Don’t assume that all TV producers, book
authors, etc have a hidden agenda.
The creators of content may not be aware that they are propagating subtext messages. They feel they are simply telling an interesting or amusing story or writing about what they are familiar with.