Media Literacy Week

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COLUMBIA - It seems like there's a new news site popping up every day, and more and more ways to get your information.

The MU Media and Diversity Center is trying to help make sure you are a smart news consumer.

It hosted a media literacy workshop Thursday night as part of Media Literacy Week.

Media literacy is one’s ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and communicate using all forms of communication.

The workshop had two main goals. First, develop a widespread awareness of what media literacy is and second, provide skills on how to deal with the negative aspects of the media and how to mitigate those features of the media.

Elizabeth Behm-Morawitz, co-director and co-founder of the Media and Diversity Center, said the workshop is important because with new technology, those who only used to watch media are now becoming media producers themselves.

“As media evolves, there seems to be more of a blurred line between consumer and producer, so you are having to navigate between literacy perspective skills in terms of creating media, like a social media post,” Behm-Morawitz said.

Behm-Morawitz said it is important to teach skills people can transfer to their everyday lives as a critical media user and consumer.

"The purpose [of media literacy] is to develop skills that lead to productive and healthy message consumption for consumers and for society more generally," said Julius Matthew Riles, the other co-director and co-founder of the Media and Diversity Center.

Riles said many do not see the importance of media literacy, and partially blames the third-person effect.

The third-person effect is when someone says media possibly affects other people, but not them. Riles says people are less in control of their media consumption than what they assume.

"There are many natural, healthy consumption behaviors that people engage in," Riles said,"But, there are enough negative and potential harmful behaviors as well that it is critically important to talk about how we can diminish those negative effects."