Key Concept 5: #K12Media

20 Oct

As we continue in our ongoing special series of #K12Media chats; this week’s discussion will centre on Concept 5 from the 8 Key Concepts of Media Literacy: Media Contain Ideological and Value Messages. Last week was our midpoint mash-up, we discussed how audience negotiates meaning in news media (a combination of key concept #3 and discussion hot topic from week one’s discussion).  This week, the focus shifts back to the text itself and flips the question: How does the text reflect or influence the values/priorities of the audience?

For a refresher on the concepts:

5. Media contain ideological and value messages
Media products promote particular values and downplay others—these messages can be subtle or blatant. Mainstream media express ideas such as success, security, gender roles, consumerism, trust in an authority or expert, and ideas about nationalism, patriotism or possibly globalism.

Hot Topic 1:

If all media contain ideological/value messages what are some of the positives and negative messages young children receive through popular television programs? Sesame Street, Dora the Explorer, Wild Kratts, and the like, rely heavily on thoughtful research in developing episodes-all of which are directed at maturing minds. What does the world contained within these shows tell children about the world around them? Who has power? How do people interact with one another on screen? What type of activities do people participate in and does this reflect traditional roles and behaviours; who is "good" "smart" "strong", etc? In addition, these programs are connected to apps, games, toys and more. How do those often more interactive experiences re-enforce or advance the messages from the original televised program? Or do those objects, games and experiences contain different ideological/value messages altogether?

Hot Topic 2:

Certain companies seem to be able to tap in to their consumers more deeply. What happens when a company creates a brand that connects deeply to a consumer’s sense of nationalism or patriotism? In Canada, Tim Hortons has created a brand identity that is rooted in asking/answering what it means to be Canadian and does so using particular stereotypes—hockey, cross-country travel, multicultural mosaic, and winter for example.  Can the message transcend a Canadian audience? How does this type of branding limit authentic cultural progress? What happens to that branding online and in social media?

Hot Topic 3:

Social media has taken the virtual world by a storm. One difficulty that the variety of platforms have had has been how to monetize. Users of social media have become the product sold to advertisers in much the same way as television audiences are the product of that medium. What values or ways of life are promoted via Facebook (and especially the new Timeline feature)? In the world according to Facebook, what events, actions, aspects of life are highlighted and which ones are ignored or downplayed? With so much information selected information about individuals in one place, what does Facebook (and its users) say about “the nature of the good life, the virtue of consumerism, the role of women, the acceptance of authority, and unquestioning patriotism” (quote from above link)? On a global platform like Facebook, what does patriotism even mean? How can we rethink this key concept in light of social media?

Select your topic and vote below!