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Extra Credit

An extremely interesting part of media literacy is mass communication. We do not realize how heavily influenced we are by mass communication, which can lead to some bias as well. Mass communication, though sometimes tricky to understand, allows us to become more informed and media literate. There are so many sources out there that can help inform us more on not only mass communication but media bias as well.

What is Media Literacy and why is it Important? https://minitex.umn.edu/news/2021-04/what-media-literacy-and-why-it-important Minitex, What is Media Literacy and why is it Important? January 14, 2021

This source gives us an introduction to media literacy itself. For those who may not already know what media literacy is, this source will offer a great introduction to them. In order to fully understand some of the other aspects of media literacy, it is important to first have a baseline. This source offers many examples of what media literacy does for us. It is also simple and to the point, so it does not cause many headaches to those learning.

Introduction to Communication https://courses.lumenlearning.com/introductiontocommunication/chapter/media-literacy/ Lumen, Introduction to Communication. NA

Stepping more into the topic, this source gives an introduction on mass communication. What is mass communication and why does it matter. This source will teach the reader about the power of mass communication. It also serves as an “introduction” to the importance of filtering information and understanding content. It is also supported by many other sources. This source does go more in-depth than the first and offers the reader tons of new and useful information. 

What is the Function? https://socialsci.libretexts.org/Bookshelves/Communication/Introduction_to_Communication/Introduction_to_Communication_(Paynton_and_Hahn)/08%3A_Mass_Communication/8.04%3A_Functions_of_Mass_Communication Libretexts, Functions of Mass Communication. January 3, 2021

To understand more about what mass communication is, we need to learn about its purpose in the media. This source looks at the major functions that mass media serves. With the help of other credible sources, it gives a great overview of the functions and what they are. Though the last source was introducing communication, this source gives us a more in-depth look which is very helpful for the reader.

More on Function https://www.getmyuni.com/articles/functions-of-mass-communication  Getmyuni, Functions of Mass Communication. January 13, 2022

Another look into the functions of mass communication. It is extremely important to understand why mass communication is important in the media. This source looks at functions, but also provides more great information. Learning more about examples of mass media and media literacy functions will be beneficial to the reader. It offers more information on the characteristics of mass media and how to recognize it. The reader will learn a great deal from this source; it will help them to dig even deeper on media literacy. 

The Theories of Mass Communication Libraries, Functions and Theories of Mass Communication.

This source starts to give us a look into the downside of mass communication. It talks of the bias that comes along with mass communication, and how media literacy plays into that. I really liked this source because it includes a reference section. This source is also interactive, as it gives an “assignment” at the end in order to test the reader’s understanding. These aspects of this source lead me to trust its credibility. We will begin to look more into bias and how that plays a part in all of this. 

Introduction to Bias https://arbiteronline.com/2020/09/18/media-literacy-understanding-bias-in-a-digital-world-dictated-by-apps-and-algorithms/ The Arbiter, Understanding Bias. September 18, 2020

We are digging deeper into the world of media literacy and its functions. This source gives the reader an introduction on what bias is and how it functions. Though this source is written in more of a blog style, I do not let that scare me away. I often enjoy learning from a different perspective that is not as formal. We will still learn important and valuable information from this source. It gives us a good introduction to bias in the media. 

The Dangers https://sites.psu.edu/global/2019/02/02/communication-the-dangers-of-bias/ Penn State, The Dangers of Bias. February 2, 2019

This source gives us a look into further into the dangers of bias. What does bias function do? How does it harm us? An extremely important part of media literacy is recognizing bias. This source shows how bias is not only important to recognize in the media, but also in normal communication. Through this reading, we will get a much better understanding about bias. 

 Recognize it https://rantt.com/media-literacy-101 Rantt Media, How to Identify Fake News and Media Bias. August 22, 2020

So we have established that there is bias in the media. Now what? This source will teach us what to look for. We will better understand how to identify if there is bias in the media. It also again gives us a brief description of what fake news and media bias actually is. It will also give a brief history of the media and fake news. Being able to learn and recognize more about media bias will greatly impact the reader.

Additional Source https://today.ku.edu/2022/01/31/ku-studies-show-media-literacy-can-reduce-stereotypes-readers-mass-communication-research University of Kansas, Media Literacy can Reduce Stereotypes. January 31, 2022

This source is another additional reading about mass media and media literacy. However, it focuses more on stereotypes within the media. Though it may seem like we have already learned much about these topics, more does not hurt. This source allows us to focus on a different angle, to better understand the media overall. We also learn more about who the larger masses in the media are: who is creating mass communication throughout the media. 

Lets Practice https://www.northeastern.edu/graduate/blog/media-literacy-activities-for-college-students/ Northeastern University, 5 Media Literacy Activities for College Students. October 6, 2020

We made it! The last source focuses on practice. We can read and read all we want, but in order to fully understand media literacy, we need to practice. This source gives us activities to better our media literacy skills. We will practice things like dissecting a website, exploring different search engines, using different mediums, etc. This source is meant more for fun and practice than anything else. It allows us to put our newly discovered knowledge to the test. Practicing these things is extremely important, and is something that more college students should be doing…even if they aren’t in a media literacy course. 

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Changes in media

I am not sure how many people are familiar with the show “Black Mirror,” but it is one of the most interesting and thought provoking shows on Netflix. You might be asking yourself how does a show like this have anything to do with media literacy and social media. There is one episode in particular that relates extremely well to social media, and allows the watcher to think of changes they may need to implement in their real lives. The episode is called Nose Dive; it follows the main character Lacie, and her journey through social media. We see right from the beginning of the episode that it focuses heavily on not only social identities, but socioeconomic identities as well. The reason that I am choosing to focus solely on social media is because of society’s current dependency on it. https://medium.com/@jfontaina/black-mirror-nosedive-analysis-1bc219e8bd13 https://sites.chapman.edu/sp20ffc100-kim/2020/03/02/nosedive-analysis/

How realistic is your social media? How often do you take dozens of pictures before posting one? How often do you see other peoples socials, that lead you to criticize yourself? That is one of the major themes in this episode. Everyone has the tendency to put their best foot forward online, despite the turmoil that may cause to those viewing it. Lacie is constantly seeking the approval of “higher rated” people: in order to gain popularity as well as climb the socioeconomic ladder. In the film, she gets invited to an old friend’s wedding, this friend is of a substantially higher rating, therefore Lacie sees this as an amazing opportunity. That is, until her whole trip derails and she is given bad ratings left and right. She ends up in a jail cell, without technology and is forced to face the facts of what her life has become: Only concerned about her social gain. 


Black Mirror | Nosedive Featurette [HD] | Netflix

My biggest takeaway from this episode was the realization that even though this is just a tv show that seems like a far-fetched idea, is actually more current than we might like to believe. There is already a tremendous amount of pressure placed on society when it comes to social media. We are expected to be perfect, and almost put on this front to everyone viewing our material. The expectations that this creates is extremely detrimental to society. If we cannot make changes to how we view social platforms, it will cause even more issues in the future.

How are we going to change? It does sometimes seem like we may be too far gone. With influencers on virtually every social media platform, it may be hard to change. I feel that one of the most simple solutions is simply education. It might sound silly, but especially with new users joining social media every day, there are often misinterpretations of what social media should be used for. If we can educate people on the reality of social media, and the possible harms that it may cause, we could start heading in the right direction. I would personally love to create a social media platform that is different from the others. It will have no filters, no hashtags, no paid promotions. Ideally it would be an app where you posted whatever you wanted, without the stress of seeming perfect. There would be no like count, follower count, and no ability to comment on people’s posts. Just people sharing the good and bad parts of their lives. I do not know if this idea would be popular right now, but one can dream. This setup would allow individuals to not focus so much on how popular their posts are, or how many people follow them. It would make it so we can genuinely stay connected in each other’s lives, without any ulterior motives: followers, likes, competition. This is not a completely reimagined idea, there are a few apps that are starting to show more attributes like the ones that I mentioned. There are however none that fully demonstrate the ideas that I would like to achieve.

I do not think we are too far gone. I believe that we can make changes, and create a more safe and inclusive social environment. Maybe one day even the biggest celebrities and influencers will join the app made to bring us together, not push us apart. 

**If you are interested in changing your outlook on social media, here are some apps that are heading in the right direction!

https://vsco.co/
 https://bere.al/en
  https://www.happyfeed.co/

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Addiction

Addiction is a struggle for people all around the world, according to the NCDAS 165 million Americans abuse alcohol, tobacco, and drugs every 30 days. NCDAS also reported that the death toll related to these addictions are a staggering 700,000 since 2000. There are countless people that struggle with addiction, but addiction is not always portrayed in the “right way.” We see in the media that nine times out of ten addicts are often shown as homeless, dirty, or poor. Addiction just doesn’t affect normal people…right? These portrayals, though sometimes true, do not show how large the scope is for addicts. 

For the sake of privacy, I will not be using any names in this post, however, I will say that I have had a close family member that has struggled with addiction. He was not a bum, he was not poor. He was a fully functioning member of my family. In fact, we did not even know the severity of his addiction until it was brought to light. The point is that the stereotypes that society sets on addicts are extremely generalized and untrue. Addicts are not bad people. Yes, sometimes they can be bad people, but it should not be concluded that just because someone is an addict does not mean that they do not deserve respect and understanding. 

One very recent portrayal of an addict that we see is in the new tv show “Euphoria.” The main character Rue (17) is an opioid addict, who has gone to rehab and is on her journey of sobriety. I feel like out of a lot of portrayals of an addict, Rue is the most accurate. This show offers a deeper look into the mind of an addict. What they will do to feed their addiction, what can happen after rehab, and even how relationships can be ruined through addiction. In contrast, the show Shameless has a very different look on addiction. I’m sure a lot of us are familiar with Frank Gallager and his journey through addiction. The way that the show portrays him is in much more of a negative light. He is often homeless, often aggressive, and often appears dirty and unhygienic. I have personally watched both of these shows and I have completely different views on each of these characters. 

3 TV Shows About Drugs, Addiction, & Mental Illness | Turnbridge 

On one hand, Rue has done some awful things and she is by no means a saint. But through her more “sympathetic” portrayal, I feel for her. I see that she is trying to get better and that she is going through so much internally. I feel sympathy for her, and I realize that addiction is not only hard on the ones around us, but on the individuals themselves. On the other hand, I do not sympathize with Frank. He is absolutely the stereotype of an addict. He is constantly doing things at the expense of others and shows little to no regret or remorse for his actions. I am sure that I am not the only one that feels this way about these characters. Yes, I know they are just fictional people on tv shows, but the stereotypes that surround one of the characters completely change my view on addicts. 

This negative look on addiction is harmful to many people. It is harmful to the addicts themselves as well as those around them. It creates this negative image that is not always true. I feel like when it comes to my family everyone was not always in support of our fellow family members’ addiction. But it is also not fair to come to conclusions about someone just because that is what the media teaches us. He was struggling in his own ways, and instead of feeling ashamed because of some of the stereotypes that surrounded him, he deserved to feel supported. 

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Sandy Hook

The shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School took place on December 14, 2012, in Newton, Connecticut. The shooter was identified as Adam Lanza, a 20-year-old man. Lanza ended up killing a total of 26 people, 20 of them being 6-7-year-old children and the other 6 being staff members. It was later found out that before he went to the school, he killed his mother at their home. He then took his own life at the school after the shooting. Sandy Hook is known as the deadliest school shooting in U.S. history and fourth-worst globally. This shooting opened up all sorts of debates across the U.nited States about gun control. This eventually led to certain guns such as some semi-automatic firearms becoming illegal in the United States. There was no reason to be found about the reason behind the attack. It was identified that Lanza had Aspberger syndrome and had anxiety, depression, and obsessive-compulsive disorder but they had no relation to the intent behind the act. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandy_Hook_Elementary_School_shooting

There is no doubt that Sandy Hook led to more gun control laws in the United States, bringing loads of controversy with it. At first, teachers were beginning to be armed with weapons to stop this kind of thing from ever happening again. This didn’t do much as people protested that guns should not be allowed at all, while others wanted there to be more guns to protect themselves. In an article by ABC News, they said, “The state level is where the majority of the action on gun legislation has happened in the past five years. All told, since Sandy Hook, there have been 210 laws enacted to strengthen gun safety, according to the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence” (Meghan Keneally) https://abcnews.go.com/US/gun-laws-changed-years-sandy-hook/story?id=51668726. This led to lower school shootings and fatalities from guns but only in certain areas, our nation as a whole was still struggling. This led to many protests around the United States about gun control and how we shouldn’t have guns at all.

The issue behind gun control to this day has still not been solved. There are still many controversial opinions out there on the subject that we cannot agree on anything. So many people want to keep guns on them at all times, while other people are wanting them to be removed completely from citizens’ households. The ABC article stated, “I’m embarrassed by the fact that I didn’t work on the issue of gun violence before Sandy Hook,” he said, adding that it makes him want to “kick himself” for not acting on the issue sooner” (Chris Murphy: governor of Connecticut). Reading this in 2022 is interesting because gun laws have been changing a lot but they still aren’t at the point that they really should be. The debate splits our country into many different sides even to this day and I don’t believe that there will be a general public acceptance of any gun control law anytime soon.

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Man Sets Himself On Fire

Today I was taking a gander at  Reuters Fact Check and stumbled upon this article; https://www.reuters.com/article/factcheck-italy-rende/fact-check-man-on-fire-video-from-italy-has-nothing-to-do-with-covid-19-vaccine-mandates-idUSL1N2UF1RY. The article speaks on how a man from Italy set himself on fire due to losing his teaching job due covid-19 vax mandates. However, this was not all true. The family reached out and asked for privacy and silence about the situation and how the covid-19 vaccination had no corralation with the grusome act.

There were two posts on Twitter about the situation. Both stating false information about the act that took place. The fisrt was posted on January 31, 2022 https://twitter.com/steve_hanke/status/1488223882720985090?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1488223882720985090%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.reuters.com%2Farticle%2Ffactcheck-italy-rende-idUSL1N2UF1RY and had a caption of “In Italy, a man set himself on fire in protest of vax mandates after losing his job. Take a look.” The second was posted on Febuary 1, 2022 https://twitter.com/BrownNaila/status/1488661034026033159?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw%7Ctwcamp%5Etweetembed%7Ctwterm%5E1488661034026033159%7Ctwgr%5E%7Ctwcon%5Es1_&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.reuters.com%2Farticle%2Ffactcheck-italy-rende-idUSL1N2UF1RY and had a caption of “Yesterday in Italy a 33-year-old teacher set himself on fire protesting vaccine mandates after being suspended from his job without pay. He died today. #NoVaccineMandates.”

Both of these tweets have misinformed the public of the true information that took place that day. The lawyer of the family also stated “We regret that unfounded information has spread about the motivations of the gesture along with speculation on a story that requires the right to respect and a dutiful silence.” Followed by the family explaining he already had his first two injections of the vaccination and was awaiting the third. This was also found and stated, “Local news outlet Calabria News, which spoke to the man’s cousin and a carabinieri commander, reported that claims of him being suspended from work were also untrue. He had reportedly asked for two days of leave for personal reasons.” Finding that the information posted was in fact false and is not credible.

Here is a linnk that the “tweeters” may have gotten confused about the two situations. https://thehill.com/changing-america/well-being/mental-health/587989-man-sets-himself-on-fire-after-angry-rant-about I also beilive they may have used the situation to gain an advantage by giving misleading information for their personal motives.

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