WISE Pathways: Women in Sustainable employment. Building awareness of careers in construction, energy & utilities, public safety, and manufacturing for women.

Media Literacy in the Workplace

This tutorial explains how to consume and produce media messages. You will practice analyzing media messages using technology. Expect to take about 2 hours to complete this tutorial. 

The learning objectives for the session include:

  1. Define media literacy and associated skills
  2. Identify roles of media literacy for a workplace setting
  3. Recognize how media literacy skills can be used on the job 
  4. Analyze media messages for a workplace setting

What are media?

Media are communication channels (idea “containers”). Media is the plural of medium, or format. 

Mass media are means of communication (communication channels) that reach large numbers of people in a short time, such as television, newspapers, magazines, and radio. Mass media information is produced by the mass media and done for profit/influence/power as its main objective. 

Watch the videos by MediaSmarts (each video is about 90 seconds). 

 What media might you use at work?

What is media literacy?

Media literacy focuses on format: media messages. Media literacy enable you to consume and produce media messages critically and responsibly. You use media literacy to consume and generate media information every day: reading news, watching TV, sharing social media.

Watch the 11-minute video Media skills. (2018). CrashCourse. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Be-A-sCIMpg 

Media literacy will help you do your job better – and be a more valuable employee. Identify how media literacy is needed at work as you watch the 1-minute video This is creative media skills – what we do. (2016). Creative Media Skills. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p8bn21zIC0

What are other examples of media literacy skills that can be  used in your job area?

For examples of social media at work, watch the 5-minute video Social media in the workplace. (2013). Skill Boosters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oQ5rjmZiAqM&list=PLqXSA6z7LDGKFMPl18pcEtPJjXQXRfrzV&index=1

How does social media use at work differ from personal use? For advice, watch the video: Top 5 – social media fails at work. (2015). Skill Boosters. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6TXjQt3qYwk  

Evaluating media

This table lists the major concepts to consider for when evaluating media, and gives you guiding questions to ask. You can see examples of these concepts in the video What is media literacy? (2017). Media Literacy Now. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GIaRw5R6Da4&t=60s

Select a topic in https://www.allsides.com/unbiased-balanced-news. Use the media principles and questions to evaluate and compare how different sources over the same topic. 

Evaluating visual media

As information is broadcast globally, visual messages become increasingly important. While visual elements (line, shape, color, value, form, texture, space) and visual principles (balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, rhythm, unity) are universal, how they are used and interpreted are socially constructed. For instance, in some cultures, brides typically dress in white and in other cultures brides typically dress in red. Likewise, visual images can have different meanings in different cultures; for instance, an owl may be the symbol for wisdom in one culture and the symbol of fertility in another culture. Therefore, it is important to consider both universal and societal aspects when evaluating visual media messages.

To get the definition of art elements and principles, go to Elements and principles of design. (2013). NWSA-20D, http://nwsa-2dart.blogspot.com/2012/08/elements-and-principles-of-design.html

To see examples of the impact of visual principles, watch the 3-minute video Keough, P. (2008). Visual elements of design. Fayetteville Technical Community College. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OcIATRokwsQ

 Identify examples of visual literacy impact at work, as you watch the 7-minute video Visual literacy. (2011). Studium Generale Universiteit Utrecht. https://youtu.be/CtzI594iJBs

Now identify visual literacy needs after watching the 1-minute video Piper, T. (2006). Dove evolution. Dove. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iYhCn0jf46U

And the 2-minute video The secret science of advertising. (2014). BuzzFeedVideo. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WJffi1TgM2M

Evaluating visual data

Data take several forms: numerals, images, sounds. Groups of data may be organized in tables, spreadsheets, or graphs. Increasingly, data are represented visually to help individuals understand, evaluate, and interpret data. Which is easier to understand: A or B?

Sometimes visual elements are used to misrepresent data. For instance, in the bar graph of trees shown above, the length of the bar also indicates the area, which underrepresents the smaller length and overrepresents the longer length. What visual elements do you see being used to mislead visual data at Steinberg, L. (2017). Lies, damned lies and statistics. EAVI. https://eavi.eu/lies-damned-lies-statistics-data-literacy-primer/

Medium-specific aspects of media literacy

Each medium has its unique aesthetic form or “language”: how it uses text, images and sound to convey meaning. For a reminder of this media aspect, review the video Media minute: Each medium has a unique aesthetic form. (2013). Mediasmarts. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d76X-uCy7No

A. The language of periodicals

  • What are your newspaper habits? When do you read the newspaper? What is your favorite part of the newspaper – and why? 
  • What are the elements of a newspaper? (e.g., sections, headlines, articles, ads, images)
  • What kind of information is covered on the front page and in each section?
  • Where will you find facts – and opinions?
  • Who creates the articles? 
  • The most important information is usually on the front page, or the upper right hand side; what news is considered more important – and less important? Why?
  • How does a magazine differ from a newspaper?” (e.g., frequency, paper quality, table of contents, article arrangement and length, topic focus, coverage of news).

 B.  The language of radio

  • What are your radio habits? When do you listen? Where do you listen? What is your favorite station – and why?
  • What are the elements of radio? (e.g., programs and items/selections, music, talking, announcers/hosts, ads)
  • What kind of information is covered; does it depend on the station – why or why not?
  • Where will you find facts – and opinions?
  • Who creates the content?
  • Weekly schedule: how does the information vary by day and by time? How does that reflect its value?
  • How does the fact that it is just sound impact its content?
  • What kind of news do you get on the radio, if any? Why?

C. The language of television (TV)

  • What are your TV habits? When do you watch? Where do you where? Do you watch TV "live," recorded, or streamed? What is your favorite station – and why? 
  • What kind of information is covered; does it depend on the channel – why or why not?
  • Weekly schedule: how does the information vary by day and by time? How does that reflect its value?
  • Who creates television content?
  • How does content link with the targeted audience? Is that audience broad or narrow/specific?
  • What elements are used to convey content (image, sound, movement)? How are those elements used to attract and engage the audience?
  • Watch this video explain the language of camera shots and other film "grammar”: Composition + framing: Storytelling with cinematography. (2015). DSLRGuide. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MfIanZimZR8. How does cinematography impact the media  message?
  • Based on the above criteria, how does film differ from television? 

D. The language of the Internet

  • What are your Internet habits? When do you use the Internet? Where do you use it? Why do you use the Internet?
  • What are the elements of the Internet? (e.g., browser, search engines, websites, apps, links, ads)
  • Who is the audience?
  • What kind of information is covered; how do you find it?
  • Who creates the content?
  • How does the content get conveyed? (e.g., text, image, sound, movement)
  • What kind of news do you get on the Internet, if any? Where do you go to get it?

As a check for understanding, complete this table comparing media:

Evaluating media messages: assessment

To practice your media literacy skills, evaluate propaganda (that is, subjective information created by a group to influence public attitudes) media messages shown in Mind over Media. https://propaganda.mediaeducationlab.com/

  • Click on the Propaganda techniques tab to note how their 4 techniques align with this tutorial's media principles and media literacy. 
  • Rate one propaganda example, and state your rationale. Compare your evaluation with the website's and other raters.