Why is Media Literacy Important?

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Media literacy is defined as the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create media in a variety of forms. This has become a pressing issue in our society.

With the vast amounts of information we have access to, on social media and many different news platforms, it can be difficult for the reader to discern the truth. Some steps to become more media literate include:
1. Learn to think critically: People decide whether the messages make sense to them depending on the information that is or isn’t included.Then they can make up their own minds about the information based on knowledge they already have.

2. Become a smart consumer of products and information: Media literacy helps people learn how to determine whether something is credible. It also helps them determine the intent of the information.

Jason North, who took the Mass Media class last semester, said, “You shouldn’t go out there being afraid of everything but still understand that people will still try to take advantage of you. Don’t be afraid of the media, but still take everything with a grain of salt.”

3. Recognize point of view: Identifying an author’s point of view helps people understand different perspectives. It also helps put information in the context of what they already know.

4. Create media responsibly: Recognizing your own point of view, saying what you want to say how you want to say it, and understanding that your messages have an impact is key to effective communication.

5. Identify the role of media in our culture: The media is always telling us something, shaping our understanding of the world, and even compelling us to act or think in certain ways.

6. Understand the author’s goal: When people understand what type of influence something has, they can make informed choices.

Autumn Jensen said, “ Media portrays the perfect life and no one has the perfect life and the urge to attain it can cause mental health problems because they aren’t seeing the results so we need to recognize that those pictures that they’re seeing are the best parts of someones life. Be honest with yourself. Do you want to live your own life or do you want to live someone else’s life?”

Kellie Harrison is from Yakima, Washington and is currently a freshmen at Snow College where she is majoring in English. After her two years at Snow College, she plans to transfer to Central Washington University. At Central, she wants to receive her master's degree in English and minor in photography and/or music. Kellie's career goal is to eventually work for National Geographic and travel the world taking pictures and writing articles. She has a love for photography, music, and writing.

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