I had the chance to correspond with Frank Baker, a media literacy expert, about his feelings on the importance of media literacy.
Baker currently maintains the Media Literacy Clearinghouse website. He has written two books, is working on his third, and has contributed chapters to three other books. Check out his books here.
Baker, once an administrator in the Orange County Public School system, began to realize many teachers were not teaching their students the skills to be critical viewers of the media. After researching, attending conferences, and holding workshops, Baker started a newsletter to teachers about educational tools available and media literacy tips.
“Media literacy is important because it is so important that young people (really all of us) have the proper filter in place when we encounter media messages. Without it, we are media illiterate- we will succumb to the message of the politicians and advertisers,” said Baker.
According to him, the ways the media influence and affect us are innumerable. A quick glance at his site will help us get a picture of the impact of media. Baker believes the best way to teach media literacy is through analysis and production.
And what happens when we don’t understand, analyze, and think critically about the media? Ignorance, apathy, cynicism, disconnection, uninvolvement, low voter turnout, and too many more to list, said Baker.
“Because if you’re not media literate; you will believe everything the media tells you.”
For more information about Frank Baker, his works, and Media Clearinghouse, please visit: Frank Baker’s site.