From Gutenberg to Gates: Media Matters
Media consolidation and convergence have increasingly changed the way individuals as both consumers and citizens access, process, and communicate information at the local, national, and global levels. Media industries and institutions influence public perception and occupy our time at work and at home more and more. Media literacy has become recognized as a twenty-first-century skill necessary for civic competence and the development of informed, responsible citizens. Although it has long been established in the curricula of other nations, it is relatively new in the United States. Media literacy is not simply teaching with media—rather, it entails teaching about media. Key frameworks such as the Text, Audience, and Production (TAP) model, which is explained in this article, can be used to help students systematically analyze and evaluate the wide range of media texts they are exposed to on a daily basis. The author discusses how media literacy is also compatible with several of the major strands identified by the National Council for the Social Studies and can be facilitated by the growing range of resources available to teachers.