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Day 5: Media Literacy
Transcript of Day 5: Media Literacy
“the ability to access, analyze, evaluate and create messages across a variety of contexts”.
Media Literate Person
Well Informed about media coverage
Influence on lifestyles, attitudes and values
Abreast of ownership, financial, and regulatory issues impacting media industries
Considers the role of media in individual decision making
What is in the picture? The Obvious
What does it mean? How it makes you feel?
Media on a basic level.
critically based on
#1: All messages are 'constructed.'
Who created this message?
Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules.
What creative techniques are used to attract my attention?
Different people experience the same media message differently.
How might different people understand this message differently from me?
Media have embedded values and points of view.
What lifestyles, values and points of view are represented in; or omitted from, this message?
Most media are organized to gain profit and/or power.
Why is this message being sent?
able to collect relevant and useful information and comprehend its meaning effectively.
able to examine the design of the message’s form, structure and
able to relate messages to own experience and make judgments about the veracity, quality and relevance of messages.
able to “write” your own ideas, using words, sounds
and/or images effectively for a variety of purposes
CONCEPTS & QUESTIONS
Messages are constructed
Who created this message
What kind of "text" is it?
What are the various elements (building blocks) that make up the whole?
Who created it?
Who paid for it?
Which technologies are used in its creation?
How many people did it take to create this message?
According to the commercial, this message was paid for by “Susana Martinez for Governor. Anna Emerick-Biad, Treasurer.” Martinez is the Republican candidate for governor in the 2010 election in New Mexico.
# 2 FORMAT
What creative techniques are used
to attract my attention?
Media messages are constructed using
a creative language with its own rules.
What do you notice. . . (about the way the message is constructed?)
Colors and shapes?
Sound effects? Music? Silence? Dialogue or Narration?
Props, sets, clothing?
• Where is the camera? What is the viewpoint?
• How is the story told? What are people doing?
• Are there any visual symbols or metaphors?
• What’s the emotional appeal? Persuasive devices?
• What makes it seem “real”?
The ad opens up with instrumental guitar music and a maraca made to sound like a rattlesnake. The website susanamartinez.com is placed at the bottom of the screen as Susana stands in the middle of a desert with mountains in the background. She tells us she is standing in New Mexico and across the fence is “the murder capital of the world.”
The next shot is of a poor community just on the border between New Mexico and Mexico and the words Juarez, Mexico appear at the bottom of frame. The Juarez image appears for one second on the screen while the next shot is a caravan of military jeeps and soldiers. This shot remains on the screen for twice as long. Susana then says that when crime spills over, she prosecutes. The voiceover tells us she is running for governor.
The next person we see is the sheriff from Doña Ana County, Todd Garrison, leaning on a white truck. He tells us how politicians do a lot of talking when it comes to border security, but “Susana has done something about it.” He explains it is because she has prosecuted violent Mexican drug cartel members.
The next thing Susana talks about is criminals taking advantage of weak laws like driver’s licenses for “illegal immigrants.” More text appears on the screen and in bold white font it reads “No driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants.” Susana says that “as governor that will change.”
The male voiceover says
“Susana Martinez for governor. She’ll fight for border security, she always has.” Finally, we see her campaign logo, a grey rectangular backdrop with her name in white. Beneath her name is the word Republican, and there a tilted yellow Zia symbol in the top left-hand corner.
How might different people understand
this message differently from me?
Different people experience
the same media message differently.
How close is this portrayal to your experience?
What did you learn from this media text? Subtext?
What did you learn about yourself from experiencing the media text?
How many other interpretations could there be? How could we hear about them?
Are other viewpoints just as valid as mine?
Juarez, Mexico is a poor city full of violent criminals. All undocumented immigrants are violent criminals. All immigrants are “illegal.” Mexican violence is a large source of crime in New Mexico and needs to be stopped.
A way to stop crime overflow is to not give licenses to “illegal” immigrants. The county sheriff is trustworthy because he looks New Mexican and is dressed appropriately.
Due to the fact that he and Susana are color coordinated, (they both have on blue jeans and white button up shirts) we are supposed to understand this is an outfit for fighting Mexican drug cartels and protecting our borders.
Susana and Todd are regular folks, casual, and dependable. The desert setting tells us that Susana is somebody who is out in the field, getting her hands dirty. She is somebody we can and should trust to protect us. The guitar and maraca music lets us know that this is a serious issue and that we are in the Southwest.
# 4 CONTENT
What lifestyles, values and points of view
are represented in, or omitted from, this message?
Media have embedded values
and points of view.
What kinds of behaviors / consequences are depicted?
What type of person is the reader / watcher / listener invited to identify with?
What questions come to mind as you watch / read / listen?
What ideas or values are being "sold" to us in this message?
What political ideas are communicated in the message? Economic ideas?
What judgments or statements are made about how we treat other people?
What ideas or perspectives are left out? How would you find what's missing?
The lifestyle of the candidate and sheriff is one driven by dedication, work, fighting crime, and being casual in the desert.
Safety, security, and dedication to New Mexico.
Positive message: Susana and the sheriff are shown to be concerned about safety and the people of New Mexico.
Some negative messages include: Mexicans are dehumanized with labels such as “illegal” and only a negative aspect of Mexico is shown. Stereotypes are reinforced and the fear of Mexicans is promoted in this ad.
Mexicans, non-citizens of the U.S, and the people of Juarez are disempowered. Susana, the sheriff, and U.S. citizens who are not from “that side of the border” are empowered. With these messages of power, Susana Martinez will be viewed by some as the solution to crime and people who share her views will vote for her.
Why is this message being sent?
Most media messages are organized
to gain profit and/or power.
Who’s in control of the creation and transmission of this message?
Why are they sending it?
Who are they sending it to?
Who is served by, profits or benefits from the message? The public?
Private interests? Individuals? Institutions?
Who wins? Who loses? Who decides?
Susan Martinez targeting the Republicans and undecided voters to vote for her. This message is being sent to portray her as a savior for New Mexico
1. Whose message is this? Who created or paid for it? Why?
2. Who is the “target audience”? What is their age, ethnicity, class, profession, interests, etc.? What words, images or sounds suggest this?
3. What is the “text” of the message? (What we actually see and/or hear: written or spoken words, photos, drawings, logos, design, music, sounds, etc.)
4. What is the “subtext” of the message? (What do you think is the hidden or unstated meaning?)
5. What kind of lifestyle is presented? How?
6. What values are expressed?
7. What groups of people does this message empower? What groups does it disempower?
Father’s Day is coming up this month and a classic ad from Tide uses the perfect image of fatherhood to get you to buy their product.
This ad from Tide seems innocent enough and, in some ways, not the kind of models we usually see in ads like this one. Typically, we’d expect to see a young blonde white father and blonde white son dressed in matching white t-shirts and cuddled up asleep on white sheets. Yet in this ad, we see a Black father with his Black son dressed in matching white t-shirts and cuddled up on white sheets. Nonetheless the ad is still a shining picture of middle-class comfort and stability.
Although this ad pictures an adult Black man, the target audience seems to be women who love sensitive and loving Black men. We can also gather that this target audience is either middle-class or has aspirations for middle-class living. However, another reading of this ad is that it might be targeting gay men. The ad doesn’t clearly suggest that the voyeur in this ad is a woman and might also be a gay man whose knees would similarly buckle at seeing such a tender moment.
By getting women to sigh at this warm and fuzzy picture of a sleeping father and his son. It’s a tried and true technique and we guarantee that very few people will argue against this heartwarming picture. Tide also uses plain folks to get consumers to identify with this image of an average father and his son. Also, in this ad Tide associates itself with general values of caring fatherhood, Black men as supportive fathers and a commitment to loving Black families. This peaceful moment then symbolizes middle-class stability especially through the immaculate white window frame and curtains.
Despite this convincing ad featuring a Black family, it would be hard to argue that Tide is supportive of true racial equality. Tide is a product of Procter & Gamble, a multi-billion dollar company that produces other items like Crest toothpaste, Gillette shavers and Pampers diapers. Procter & Gamble’s headquarters are located in Cincinnati, Ohio – a city that is infamous for its 2001 riots in response to the fatal shooting of a 19-year old Black man by a white cop. The city is about 42 percent Black with 21 percent of the city living in poverty.
However, like many other companies based in a town like Cincinatti, P&G has CEOs on business boards and redevelopment teams that will impact the racial and economic demographics of the city. In the last years, P&G has also led multiple efforts to “diversify” its work force. In 2009, the company reported their work force was only 21 percent people of color.
That is a noble effort, but as the company was leading these campaigns they were also gutting their workforce and their US workers took the brunt of it. Between 1999 and 2001, the company cut a total of 17,400 jobs to decrease overhead expenses and increase profits.
When we put this ad in context of P&G’s priorities of profits and their bottomline, we see that Black families are important to the company as long as they become a life-long consumer base. It’s business. And in business, profits are the real priority.
Father’s Day is in June and this classic ad from Tide uses the perfect image of fatherhood to get you to buy their product.
Unusually, we see a Black father with his son dressed in matching white t-shirts and cuddled up on white sheets. Nonetheless the ad is still a shining picture of middle-class comfort and stability.
Target audience seems to be women who love sensitive and loving Black men. We can also gather that this target audience is either middle-class or has aspirations for middle-class living.
Tide associates itself with general values of caring fatherhood, Black men as supportive fathers and a commitment to loving Black families. This peaceful moment then symbolizes middle-class stability especially through the immaculate white window frame and curtains.