Media literacy requires an understanding of other cultures and traditions of the particular medium involved. The role of mass media in China, for example, flows from circumstances and traditions radically different from those in Western democracies. Even among democracies, media performance varies. News reporting about criminal prosecutions in Britain, as an example, is much more restrained than in the United States.
Media Myth. There are many myths about the role and impact of media on mass audiences. For example, video games are often scapegoated as being a contributing factor in aggression and violent crime, particularly among youth populations. Despite this strong belief among many in society, numerous research studies exploring this dynamic failed to show any connection. Media literacy helps us separate real phenomena from conjecture and nonsense requires media, which is particularly important in the era of Internet gossip and myth dissemination via social media.
1.5.2 Spheres of Media Literacy 1. Objective: Compare specialization and generalization in media literacy
Media literacy takes many forms. People who craft media messages, for example, need technical competence. Competence at a soundboard is essential for music producers. Mastery of editing software is essential for magazine editors. These are skills that a media consumer doesn’t need. In fact, the more invisible the technical details of media production are to media audiences, the more effective the messages. At the same time, media consumers can have a deeper appreciation of media messages if they have a sense of what went into making the message. In the same sense, anyone can be awed by a Yo-Yo Ma performance, but someone schooled just a little bit on the cello has a greater feel for Ma’s intricacies and range.
Media literacy can be highly specialized. There are so many academic specialties on mass media, for example, that no one can master them all. An award-recognized historian on Federalist Period newspapers may not have the vocabulary to converse with a scholarly theorist on visual communication. We all will have blind spots in our media literacy, which is not a reason to give up or ease off working at improving your media literacy across a broad range of formats. Rather, by becoming more literate in a range of media genres and types, we can better recognize the breadth of mass communication and mass media as a field.
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