Media Literacy Week in the United States

Dates: 6 – 10 November 2017

Country: United States

MIL_Week_in_the_USAThere has been 3rd annual Media Literacy Week in the United States. The mission, as the organisers put it, is “to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education today.”

Media literacy is a necessary skill for anyone today, especially for younger generations, who are spending more and more time consuming the media. The Kaiser Family Foundation recently found that individuals ranging from 8 to 18 years old spend an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes consuming media. This is an hour and seventeen minutes longer a day than five years ago, a jump which the Kaiser Family Foundation puts down to more access to mobile and tablet devices. With so much time spent consuming the media it seems only logical to integrate media literacy into education. However, studies have found that Millennials in the United States actually rank very low when it comes to media literacy comparing to other countries.

This year’s Media Literacy comes at a crucial time as there seems to be a lot of unease surrounding the media. The current president of the United States, Donald Trump, does not shy away from being overly critical of the media. He often refers to the media, specifically the media organisations critical of him, as fake news.  Aside from this, actual fake news, reports based entirely on fiction, are becoming a big problem. Some argue that Facebook has been the main host of fake news reports. Over the past year countless fake news reports have been massively shared on Facebook. It causes confusion and it is becoming harder to distinguish ‘fake’ news from ‘true’ news. It is thus so important to teach people the skills to do exactly this; people need to learn how to interact with the media in a responsible way.

The topics being explored during Media Literacy Week are vast. There are events focusing on fake news, body image, self-esteem, diversity and inclusion. The array of topics being covered shows how important media literacy is. In today’s world, the media in intertwined with pretty much everything we do, meaning that a proper understanding of it is crucial. There is also an extensive list of partners taking part in Media Literacy Week, showing how many organizations see the importance in media literacy. Big media organizations such as The New York Time and AJ+, the video content producer branch of Al Jazeera, are taking part in Media Literacy Week, to name a few.

To mark Media Literacy events people have been using Twitter hashtags: #medialitwk, #mlw17 and #getsmartonline. It is a great way to see what speakers are saying around the United States on the topic of media literacy. Iis becoming clearer every day, we all could all learn a little bit more about media literacy.

Learn more about Media Literacy Week here.