Tuesday, September 4, 2012


Media Smarts

Media-smart fish?
“As beat-era poet Allen Ginsberg said, “Whoever controls the media, the images, controls the culture.” The fundamental assumption of Media Smarts is that most of us are so accustomed to the mass mediated world of the 21st century that we don’t even notice the environment in which we live, the mass media diet that we consume and digest, and which becomes part of what and who we are, and how we think about and perceive the world.

“Most Americans under the age of 50 were raised on such a diet; the world has been created for us, and isn’t real unless we’ve seen it on the tube, or on YouTube. In predicting more than 45 years ago how the information age would change the world, Canadian sociologist Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980) used the analogy of a fish. He said he didn’t know who discovered water, but he was fairly certain it wasn’t a fish.

“Like fish in a pond, McLuhan suggested, most of us in the information age are unsuspecting and uncritical about the mass media environment in which we live. We eat TV, we breathe media messages, we overhear news and read rumors on the Internet, and unknowingly absorb advertising and cultural attitudes through our gills and into our psyches and worldviews. This represents an enormous responsibility both for the producers of media messages, and for those who consume them. How healthy is this diet?”

—Syllabus, JCOM 2010: Media Smarts—Making Sense of the Information Age, 
Utah State University, 2012  

• Editorial Comment: Could I just have a nice burger?

• Yesterday’s WORD: Did you miss yesterday’s WORDs from Storyful founder Mark Little about how the role of reporters has changed? Click here

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Aggie Reports from Ethiopia: Olympic Dreams, Empty Pockets , by Danielle Manley
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PeezPIX by Ted Pease

Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco


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