Defining Media Literacy

Put simply, media literacy is the ability to understand and interpret the influence of messages disseminated through mass media channels.  Since this is an exercise in rigorous scholarship, let us adopt a well-documented definition.  Authors Richard Campbell, Christopher R. Martin and Bettina Fabos (2011) in their book Media Essentials (Bedford/St. Martin’s publishers) educate students in a five step process for becoming media literate.  They define media literacy as: “an understanding of the mass communication process through the development of critical-thinking tools – description, analysis, interpretation, evaluation, engagement – that enable a person to become more engaged as a citizen and more discerning as a consumer of mass media products.”

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