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4 Tools For Developing Critical Media Literacy Skills From NAMLE

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With Twitter announcing a few days ago that, under Elon Musk’s leadership, it will stop policing Covid misinformation, the wide-ranging and rampant spread of falsehoods about elections and vaccines across all social media channels, and other known attempts at mass deception, it has become more important than ever that people learn to question and investigate the sources of any information they find online. Media literacy has emerged as a critical issue in the 21st century.

The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) is devoted to convening experts, promoting media education, and teaching people – especially children – to be savvy consumers of all forms of media. Executive Director Michelle Ciulla Lipkin speaks frequently to the press about how media literacy is an essential life skill in today’s world, and how media literacy education can combat misinformation, give people confidence in their decisions, and protect democracy.

By uniting a community of educators, practitioners, and researchers, NAMLE develops resources to develop the vital skills of media literacy. With 82 organizational partners, over 7,000 individual members, and an educator reach of 300,000, NAMLE empowers leaders and educators with the knowledge necessary to help students navigate the most complex media ecosystem that has ever existed.

During the run-up to the U.S. midterm elections on November 8, 2022, for example, NAMLE organized Media Literacy Weeks, a series of events and programs that took place across the country. NAMLE partnered with organizations such as PBS, The National Media Literacy Alliance, Lego, Sesame Workshop, and Roblox to offer sessions on topics including how to teach media literacy in classrooms for kids ages elementary through high school and the impact of media on civic engagement. The organization has also enjoyed a long-standing partnership with Reuters.

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“Being media literate means asking questions, being curious and skeptical about all media messages all the time,” says Lipkin. To get started on your media literacy journey, she suggests asking these questions:

● Who made this?

● Why was it made?

● How does this make me feel?

● How might different people understand this issue differently?

● What is left out that might be important to know?

NAMLE’s core principles teach people that:

1. Media messages are produced for particular purposes – whether it be to entertain, sell something, inspire us, make us laugh, or even manipulate us to act and feel a certain way. Understanding the intent behind a media message is key to being media literate.

2. All media messages contain embedded values and points of view. No media message is neutral. Everything has an agenda and is created by humans who have different perspectives. Think about what the values and points of view are of the creator of the content when analyzing media.

3. People use their individual skills, beliefs and experiences to construct their own meanings from media messages. Each individual perceives the world and the media they both consume and create differently. Recognizing those differences allows for a more nuanced understanding of each other.

4. Media and media messages can influence beliefs, attitudes, values, behaviors, and the democratic process. Media are powerful and they impact almost every aspect of our lives.

Lipkin developed a passion for media literacy for very personal reasons. On December 21, 1988, when she was 17 years old, her father was coming home from a business trip in London when the plane he was on, Pan Am flight 103, exploded over Lockerbie, Scotland. Experts later determined that a bomb had been placed on board by terrorists.

This was before cell phones and the internet, so Lipkin and her family actually learned of the terrible tragedy through a breaking news story. They had to watch the television news to get all their information about the crash, its cause, the other families impacted, and even – that first night – to learn that there were no survivors.

“It was a life-defining moment,” says Lipkin, “an incident that would forever change the person I was. It changed the way I thought about the world, the way I saw myself, the way I understood everything. It also shaped my relationship with the media – in profound and powerful ways.”

Three and a half years later, Lipkin and her family set out to investigate the Lockerbie disaster for themselves. That decision, she said, changed everything. “I had believed that what I was seeing on the news was my father’s story. I hadn’t even realized that there were questions I should have been asking. Answers I should have been demanding.” In the 30 years since, she has made endless media appearances regarding her father’s death.

Furthermore, what she discovered led Lipkin directly into a lifelong career of media production and media literacy education. “I have found the perfect cause for me to keep fighting for,” Lipkin says. “I feel very proud of the work that I do and the growth of NAMLE and the media literacy movement. It is valuable work that makes a real difference in people’s lives.”

That said, Lipkin faces numerous challenges in running a non-profit, including fundraising and capacity issues around whether they can bring on the staff they need. In addition, Lipkin says, the media literacy community is large and diverse, meaning that people have many different ways to approach it. Finally, she feels that “the movement to save our country from falling into a disinformation abyss is a 24/7 job. It’s on my mind all the time.”

With the Covid pandemic, the rapid spread of misinformation became about more than just democracy; it became a life-or-death situation. And so, Lipkin feels more motivated than ever to continue her work with NAMLE. “Our services have never been in more demand. Our work has never been more important.”

Lipkin has an original take on connecting with your life purpose. “I always prefer to be the least intelligent person in the room,” she says. “I love learning from others. I am curious about other people’s expertise and perspective. My advice: surround yourself with people who are smarter than you and have different skills than you. This can inspire you to take yourself to the next level.”

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Why social media makes you feel bad

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Have you ever found yourself scrolling through social media and noticed you felt a bit down? Maybe a little envious? Why aren’t you on a yacht? Running a startup? Looking amazing 24/7?

The good news is you are not alone. Although social media has some benefits, it can also make us feel a little depressed.

Why does social media make us feel bad?

As humans we inherently compare ourselves to others to determine our self-worth. Psychologists call this social comparison theory.

We primarily make two types of comparisons: upward and downward comparisons.

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Upward comparisons occur when we compare ourselves to someone else (in real life or on social media) and feel they are better than us (an unfavourable comparison for us) in whatever domain we are assessing (such as status, beauty, abilities, success, and so on).

For example, comparing your day at work to your friend’s post from the ski fields (we’re looking at you Dave!) is likely to be an upward comparison. Another example is making appearance comparisons which can make you feel worse about yourself or your looks .

Although upward comparison can sometimes motivate you to do better, this depends on the change being achievable and on your esteem. Research suggests upward comparisons may be particularly damaging if you have low self-esteem.

In contrast, downward comparisons occur when we view ourselves more favourably than the other person – for example, by comparing yourself to someone less fortunate. Downward comparisons make us feel better about ourselves but are rare in social media because people don’t tend to post about the mundane realities of life.

 

Comparisons in social media

Social media showcases the best of people’s lives. It presents a carefully curated version of reality and presents it as fact. Sometimes, as with influencers, this is intentional but often it is unconscious bias. We are just naturally more likely to post when we are happy, on holiday or to share successes – and even then we choose the best version to share.

When we compare ourselves to what we see on social media, we typically make upward comparisons which make us feel worse. We compare ourselves on an average day to others on their best day. In fact, it’s not even their best day. It’s often a perfectly curated, photoshopped, produced, filter-applied moment. It’s not a fair comparison.

That’s not to say social media is all bad. It can help people feel supportedconnected, and get information. So don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater. Instead, keep your social media use in check with these tips.

 

Concrete ways you can make yourself feel better about social media

Monitor your reactions. If social media is enjoyable, you may not need to change anything – but if it’s making you exhausted, depressed or anxious, or you are losing time to mindless scrolling, it’s time for change.

Avoid comparisons. Remind yourself that comparing your reality with a selected moment on social media is an unrealistic benchmark. This is especially the case with high-profile accounts who are paid to create perfect content.

Be selective. If you must compare, search for downward comparisons (with those who are worse off) or more equal comparisons to help you feel better. This might include unfollowing celebrities, focusing on real posts by friends, or using reality focused platforms like BeReal.

Redefine success. Influencers and celebrities make luxury seem like the norm. Most people don’t live in pristine homes and sip barista-made coffee in white sheets looking perfect. Consider what real success means to you and measure yourself against that instead.

Practise gratitude. Remind yourself of things that are great in your life, and celebrate your accomplishments (big and small!). Create a “happy me” folder of your favourite life moments, pics with friends, and great pictures of yourself, and look at this if you find yourself falling into the comparison trap.

Unplug. If needed, take a break, or cut down. Avoid mindless scrolling by moving tempting apps to the last page of your phone or use in-built focus features on your device. Alternatively, use an app to temporarily block yourself from social media.

Engage in real life. Sometimes social media makes people notice what is missing in their own lives, which can encourage growth. Get out with friends, start a new hobby, embrace life away from the screen.

Get amongst nature. Nature has health and mood benefits that combat screen time.

Be the change. Avoid only sharing the picture-perfect version of your life and share (in a safe setting) your real life. You’d be surprised how this will resonate with others. This will help you and them feel better.

Seek help. If you are feeling depressed or anxious over a period of time, get support. Talk to your friends, family or a GP about how you are feeling. Alternatively contact one of the support lines like LifelineKids Helpline, or 13Yarn.

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Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions – CP24

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  1. Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions  CP24
  2. Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions  Halifax.CityNews.ca

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Canada adds Russian media personalities, companies in latest round of sanctions

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OTTAWA — Canada has announced it is imposing a new round of sanctions on Russian media personalities and companies accused of spreading disinformation about Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine.

Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly announced the latest sanctions against 38 individuals and 16 entities, saying those affected are propagating Russian President Vladimir Putin’s lies.

Among those added to Canada’s blacklist are several Russian singers, including former contestants on the popular Eurovision singing contest, as well as actors and athletes.

The list also includes one of Russia’s largest state-owned media groups, MIA Rossiya Segodnya, which owns and operates a large number of Russian-language companies.

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Many of the new additions had already been sanctioned by Canada’s allies following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago.

The new measures come amid questions about the effectiveness of Canada’s sanctions regime.

The Canadian Press reported this week that as of June 7, Canada had ordered $123 million in assets within Canada frozen, and $289 million in transactions had been blocked under sanctions prohibitions related to Russia.

But by late December, the RCMP said only $122 million in assets were listed as seized, and $292 million in transactions had been blocked despite hundreds more people associated with Russia being put on the sanctions list.

The police force did not provide an explanation for why the sums reported by financial institutions had hardly changed during that period.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.

 

The Canadian Press

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