NECC Observer

The student news website of Northern Essex Community College, Haverhill and Lawrence, Mass.

Practicing media literacy: An especially important skill during a pandemic

With the increased usage of technology and the internet alike, it is important media consumers are practicing media literacy in their daily lives.

Media literacy is a crucial skill, as it is the ability to recognize and identify different kinds of media and understand the messages being sent and why. Whether it’s reading a book, or magazine, watching a television program or film, listening to a podcast – the list could go on – media is being consumed. Consumers can range anywhere in age from the two year watching Sesame Street, to the 13 year old creating tik toks, to the young adult studying their textbook, to the old man on the bench reading a newspaper.

It’s important to realize all media is created by someone for a purpose with a goal in mind.

When consuming media and asking yourself questions like, who created this? What is the message and who is it for? Why was it made – What is the point? How does it make me feel? You are practicing media literacy. Also being sure to check and research the sources of whatever you are consuming can reveal some interesting and even surprising details.

It is important to practice being media literate to avoid the spreading of false information, propaganda, and unnecessary fear and panic. As Donald Trump has made well aware, fake news is certainly real. Media literacy is also key in understanding how the media we consume shapes and effects our perceptions, without us even realizing it.