On January 26th Shout Out UK ran a youth conference with media practitioners and researchers for GCSE and A-level students at U.S. Embassy London discussing media literacy.
With the huge quantity of information and diverse opinions expressed through new, traditional and social media, it is increasingly important to critically examine the media that we consume every day. Interpretations of current events vary widely across media platforms, all of which can have an influence on our perspectives and behaviour.
These issues came under the spotlight at a #MediaMinded workshop hosted at the U.S, Embassy London with the participation of eight schools – Cranford Community College, Harris Academy, Hammersmith Academy, Lampton School, The Albany, The Petchey Academy, Leigh UTC and Bentleywood High School.
With the help of media practitioners and researchers, students engaged in spirited discussions on the role of the media and strategies to develop informed opinions. A broad range of topics were covered, including migration, climate change and Russian-Ukrainian relations. Participants were asked to examine a range of media sources and identify the narrative and core message of each piece.
Students were also encouraged to consider the following questions: Is there an agenda hidden beneath the words and images? Is the author trying to influence your mind-set in some manner? How can we trust our media and formulate our own opinions if there are inherent attempts at manipulation?
Matteo Bergamini, Director of Shout Out UK, said, “[I]n an ever changing digital world, where the media’s credibility comes more from how many shares and likes they have rather than how credible their sources are, media literacy – the ability to critically analyse news stories is a vital skill all of us should work hard to master.”