Be Media Literate


Media is a form of mass communication to transmit information or data to a large audience of people faster than ever before. Media includes television, internet, radio, newspapers, telephones, and other technologies. We use media to “spread the word” with each other about occurrences from tragedies around the world, to which celebrity is dating whom. The media creates messages, of which are always in some way biased, with embedded values. If we know the media has embedded values and is not unbiased, this should be a reason for us to analyze these messages before accepting them. Many a time, we hear celebrities’ dread of “the media” due to its constant inaccuracy of the stories and photos they share through mass media about that celebrity. Referring back to those embedded values, messages purged by the media into society targets a specific group of people in order to achieve the end result- to sell society a product or an ideology. Media segments these messages based on that society’s religion, gender, sex, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, race, class, and any other division of society. However, to be “media literate,” is to understand the use of these different forms of media and how each is used and abused. This includes the knowledge of how to use such technologies and the purpose of each and the ability to access and analyze mass media. Being media literate allows us to better recognize the motives of mass media, while understanding the safe and danger zones of these technologies.

Cheerios 2014 Game Day Ad | "Gracie"

"Gracie" Superbowl Ad 2014

In the advertisement “Gracie" (2014), Cheerios, nationally known General Mills breakfast cereal, sends a message that the brand includes not only a food product but people inclusiveness without borders along the ethnic barriers of the past. Cheerios illuminates this revelation by straying from the “typical” or “ideal” American family (an all-white household) but casts an interracial family, thus including an African American father, white mother and their biracial daughter, Gracie. Using a few cheerios to express an exciting announcement (a baby brother in the oven), Cheerios portrays that the breakfast cereal brings happiness and love no matter the race or minority of the family enjoying it. Cheerios’ targeted audience is multi-racial families because the brand opens and closes the advertisement by using a multi-racial family and offering the brands acceptance of this in a loving, adorable tone; however, by using a family of more than one race, Cheerios makes its advertisement palatable to all families and hopes to convince America that Cheerios breakfast cereal is a delicious cereal with acceptance and love behind the brand.

It's What We All Deserve.

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American Express Announces Their Newest Way To Jack Your Money

Kayla Pinkston

Journalist- Current Events

New York, New York

American Express recently affirmed their devotion to increase customer’s debt by announcing that they will soon launch a new credit card, the “EveryDay” card. The company claims the new charge card will be more similar to a traditional card than cards Amex has previously released.

“…spenders will be able to carry a balance from one month to the next instead of having to pay it off in full,” said American Express representative, who added, “The basic product has no annual fee. Card users will have access to Amex’s Membership Rewards loyalty program, considered one of the upscale benefits of the company’s charge cards.”

Points accelerate after spenders meet that 20-purchase-per-month threshold, racking up a lasting sense of self- fulfillment and accomplishment with each point earned, plus 9 percent back on grocery purchases.

Amex states that the new charge card will contain an “EMV” chip, which is more secure than cards with the antiquated magnetic stripe, something that Target shoppers should consider before Target’s security system crashes again and the world ends, leaving people’s excessive spending halted while they sniffle and wait for a new non-hacked card to arrive.

American Express added that a premium version of the card would be available for an annual $95 fee for higher rewards and more frequent spending, for those who prefer to be emotionally and manipulatively secured in their plastic wealth.

Response: 1984

George Orwell’s 1984 warn the public as to what could be possible for the people’s future if the government gained too much power. Orwell writes a story of using intelligence and fear to gain control; for example, the prole lottery that no one ever wins; the telescreen that monitor a “comrade’s” every move and the altered stories written and rewritten; the bombs that fall on London that are purposefully hurled by The Party to spread fear and keep all in check. Orwell suggests that ignorance is bliss through his portrayal of proles and how they are not viewed as a threat, because they are unaware of the manipulation going on around them. However, he proves that totalitarianism eventually destroys even those that prove no threat to it. The most important message to take away from this novel is “intelligence and fear can be used to gain control.” Recognition of this message is critical, especially in today’s reality, for people to be aware of. By acknowledging this message, a people can prevent situations like that of 1984 before it begins to really take action. Opposing such recognition, the “ignorance is bliss” message raises an eyebrow- is ignorance really bliss? If it were, the proles, who were aware and viewed as a non-threat, would not have been eliminated. Overall, Orwell accomplished excellent work through creating a novel that has significant meaning and truth to it, while writing a remarkable story-line with complex characters, with an ending that leaves readers to decide Winston’s future and state of mind for themselves.

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Held Hostage

This photo symbolizes how the people of Oceania are being held hostage from themselves. They have been prisoners in a reality that allows no independence or freedom with every aspect of their lives being constantly monitored and controlled.
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Big Brother Is Watching You

Big Brother is watching you. This photo represents the heavy surveillance the people of Oceania are constantly under- every moment of every day. Big Brother is watching YOU.
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No Freedom

This picture represents the lack of freedom given to the society in 1984. People are not allowed to say, act, or think their own thoughts or do things their own way. They are to believe, accept, and do exactly what The Party tells them or they will be dealt with by the Thought Police.

Reflection: Media Literacy

Having the opportunity to take Media Literacy as my senior Language Arts course was an entirely new and incredible experience. This course offered knowledge and awareness of the positive and negative capabilities of mass media. In traditional Language Arts classes, reading textbooks and practicing hundreds of vocabulary words that no one will ever say in daily conversations has been the norm. Never before has there been a course proposing an updated intellect of “Language Arts” and how people communicate today. Rather than follow the typical Language Arts routine of pencil-to-paper, we used technology and the media to our advantage through conversing on discussion boards, submitting assignments online and forming creative ways of thinking and learning about what it means to be “media literate.” Overall, the material taught and ways of educating students on being media literate should remain unchanged. Submitting assignments and responses online was a great preparation for college work; however, the location of certain folders and drop boxes were at times confusing, something to adjust for future use. The Media Literacy course focuses on what is happening today in our reality. Literacy is drifting farther from reading and writing and closer to online blogs, podcasts and social media. Being knowledgeable and understanding of what the media is, what it is capable of producing, and how to use it safely are all things that have been presented in the course. A “permanent tattoo” is one of the most important things learned while taking this class; between facial recognition software and other programs people have access to, it is important to think about what you put on the internet. The most influential thing I will take from this class is the realization of the impact that the media can have on our future. Once reading George Orwell’s 1984 and discussing how our society relates to the novel, it exposed the severity that mass media and technological advances can be warped into. This is the greatest thing anyone could take from this course- being aware and educated of all the possibilities mass media and technology can bring to reality.