INFORMATION IS THE MOST IMPORTANT TOOL OF THE 21st CENTURY
Where do you get your information? How unbiased and accurate is your information?
Your mind is the most powerful technology in the world, use it wisely!
Now, more than ever, it is important that you keep yourself well informed about what is going on in the world. Media concentration and consolidation has increased in recent years, so that only a handful of companies control the content of the mainstream media. By only using mainstream media, especially television, you limit what you know and understand about the world. In order to get the most accurate information about the world we live in, get your information from a diverse collection of independent media sources.
- Read instead of watching television. Or listen to the radio.
- Find different political and cultural persuasions. The more diverse your sources, the more likely they contain the truth. Try for independent and unbiased sources when possible.
- Go to the internet, where you have hundreds of sources of information accessible instantly; both news and commentary. And there are translation tools available to let you read everything in the world.
- Think critically. Don’t trust everything you read. Use multiple sources to verify stories and counter bias and emotional manipulation.
Media Channel > www.mediachannel.org 1600 Broadway #700, New York, New York 10019 USA “The global network for democratic media.” In the 21st century the ability to understand, evaluate, access and use media is a form of literacy as important and basic as reading and writing. Media Channel has an extensive network of independent media sources with links by subject, region, or name.
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting > www.fair.org 112 W. 27th St, New York, New York 10001 USA FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986. We work to invigorate the First Amendment by advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints.
Center for Media Literacy > www.medialit.org 3101 Ocean Park Boulevard, #200, Santa Monica, CA 90405 USA “Empowerment through education.” The Center for Media Literacy is dedicated to a new vision of literacy for the 21st Century: the ability to communicate competently in all media forms, print and electronic, as well as to access, understand, analyze and evaluate the powerful images, words and sounds that make up our contemporary mass media culture. Indeed, we believe these skills of media literacy are essential for both children and adults as individuals and as citizens of a democratic society.
Reporters Without Borders > www.rsf.org 47 Rue Vivienne, 75002 Paris, France. Founded in 1985, Reporters Without Borders is present in all five continents, defending and supporting journalists and media assistants around the world.
Media Alliance > www.media-alliance.org 814 Mission St. #205, San Francisco, California 94103 USA For twenty years, Media Alliance has worked to promote fairness and accuracy in the media in the Bay Area and nationwide. Training and resources for media workers, activists, and community organizations.
Media Awareness Network > www.media-awareness.ca 1500 Merivale Road, 3rd floor, Ottawa, Ontario K2E 6Z5 CANADA Their work is based on the belief that to be functionally literate in the world today and to be able to “read” the messages that inform, entertain and sell to us daily, young people need critical thinking skills. The Media Awareness Network focuses its efforts on equipping adults with information and tools to help young people understand how the media works, how the media may affect their lifestyle choices and the extent to which they, as consumers and citizens, are being well informed.
International Center for Journalists > www.icfj.org 1616 H Street, Washington, DC 20006 USA. A non-profit organization promoting quality journalism worldwide in the belief that independent, vigorous media is crucial in improving the human condition. For 26 years they have worked directly with more than 65,000 journalists from 180 countries.
Undercurrents > www.undercurrents.org 16B Cherwell Street, Oxford, OX4 1BG ENGLAND Britian’s oldest alternative media organization. “…creating an alternative outlet for a wide diversity of views is vital because the flow of information world-wide is being controlled by just a handful of individuals…”
Common Dreams > www.commondreams.org P.O. Box 443, Portland, Maine 04112-0443 USA An eclectic mix of politics, issues, and breaking news with an emphasis on progressive perspectives that are increasingly hard to find with our corporate-dominated media. Extensive links to other sources.
Alternet > www.alternet.org 77 Federal St., San Francisco, California 94107 USA A project of the Independent Media Institute (http://www.independentmedia.org) which aims to empower people with independent journalism, information, and media tools to change the world.
Alternative Press Center > www.altpress.org P.O. Box 33109, Baltimore, Maryland 21218 USA A non-profit collective dedicated to providing access to and increasing public awareness of the alternative press. Founded in 1969, it remains one of the oldest self-sustaining alternative media institutions in the United States.
Project Censored > www.projectcensored.org Sonoma State University, 1801 E. Cotati Ave, Rohnert Park, California 94928 USA Exploring and publicizing the extent of censorship in our society by locating stories about significant issues of which the public should be aware, but is not, for one reason or another. Thereby, the project hopes to stimulate responsible journalists to provide more mass media coverage of those issues and to encourage the general public to demand mass media coverage of those issues or to seek information from other sources.
One World News Service > www.oneworld.net One World International, 89 Albert Embankment, London, SE1 7TP, ENGLAND Bringing together a network of people and groups working for human rights and sustainable development from across the globe. News from around the world.
Institute for Media, Peace and Security > www.mediapeace.org University of Peace, 43 Rue d’Assas, 75006, Paris, FRANCE “An intellectual tool for preventive diplomacy.” They aim to educate people in the many ways the media interact with issues of war and peace. By its education and research programs, and by its day-to-day contacts with UN and regional peacekeeping bodies, the Institute will contribute to new thinking about how free media can help prevent conflict and alert decision-makers, as well as the general public, to looming risks of war.
Inter Press News Service > www.ips.org Via Panisperna – 207, Rome, 00184 ITALY “The alternative newslink.” The world’s leading provider of information on global issues, is backed by a network of journalists in more than 100 countries, with satellite communication links to 1,200 outlets.
Center for Investigative Reporting > www.muckraker.org 131 Stuart St. Suite #600, San Francisco, California 94105 USA An independent news organization that strengthens democracy by exposing injustice and abuse of power.
Citizens for Media Literacy > www.main.nc.us/cml 34 Wall Street, Suite 407, Asheville, NC 28801 USA CML is a non-profit, public-interest organization linking media literacy with the concepts and practices of citizenship. “Promoting citizenship in the age of mass media.”
Center for Media and Democracy > www.prwatch.org 520 University Ave, Madison, Wisconsin 53703 USA Public interest reporting on the public relations industry. The Center serves citizens, journalists and researchers seeking to recognize and combat manipulative and misleading PR practices.
Association for Media Literacy > www.aml.ca 42B Shank Street, Toronto, ON M6J 3T9 CANADA The Association for Media Literacy is made up of teachers, librarians, consultants, parents, cultural workers, and media professionals concerned about the impact of the mass media in the creation of contemporary culture.
Independent Media Center > www.indymedia.org A collective of independent media organizations and hundreds of journalists offering grassroots, non-corporate coverage. With local branches around the world.
Drudge Report > www.drudgereport.com News and information with extensive links to other sources.
Alternative Press Review > www.altpr.org P.O. Box 4710, Arlington, Virginia 22204 USA A guide to media beyond the mainstream.
Wikimedia Foundation > wikimediafoundation.org 149 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105 USA. Imagining and creating a world in which every single human being can freely share in the sum of all knowledge. Projects include Wikipedia, the open-source user-contributed information site.
If you find yourself at a foreign news or information source, you may need to translate the information…
Google Translate – http://translate.google.com
Babel Fish translator – http://babelfish.altavista.com
“We must prepare young people for living in a world of powerful images, words and sounds.” – UNESCO, 1982
Why media literacy matters from MediaChannel.org:
Emerging technologies, the global economy and the Internet are changing what it means to be literate. The digital age is transforming the quantity, range and speed of information and communication in our lives. The mass media affect how we perceive and understand the world and people around us, from what we wear, eat and buy to how we relate to ourselves and others. In the 21st century, the ability to interpret and create media is a form of literacy as basic as reading and writing.
It is estimated that North American children spend twice as much time over the course of a year watching television as they do in school. A recent study found that U.S. children spend over four and a half hours a day using television, computers and video games. As media saturate our lives, it is vital that children learn to decode messages and images, to ask critical questions about who is creating them and for what purpose. Media literacy is fundamental in helping young people to become informed citizens who can actively and successfully communicate with society and the world.
Media Use in America (from 2004)
Americans spend an average of 9.5 hours each day watching television, going to movies, renting videos, reading magazines, listening to music, or surfing the Web. Thus it is no surprise that there is increasing public concern about media content and its influences on people’s attitudes, values, behaviors and lifestyles. Following is a breakdown of Americans’ exposure to various types of media:
Television * 98% of American households have at least one television set; the average has 2.75. * Televisions are on 7 hours a day in the typical home. * The average American spends nearly 4 hours per day watching TV – almost 50 days per year. By the age of 65, he or she will have spent nine years watching TV. * 48% of children 2-17 have a television set in their bedrooms. * Children spend about 28 hours per week watching television. Over the course of a year, this is twice as much time as they spend in school. * The average child views 30,000 commercials each year. * Before age 18, the average child will witness over 200,000 acts of violence on television, including 16,000 murders.
Computers * 50% of American households had a personal computer at the end of 1998. * 68.2% of homes with children 2-17 own a computer. * The average age for first computer usage among children is two. * Teens spend an average of 2.5 weekday hours on a home computer. * U.S. children (ages 3-17) use computers for the following applications: games (70.3%), homework (47.4%), education (31.5%), word processing (30.9%), learning to use the computer (23.7%).
Internet * Households with Internet access watch television about 13% less than those not connected. * 100.1 million Americans use the Internet. * In 1998, Americans spent an average of 7 hours a week online. * 61% of households with kids ages 6-17 have Internet access. * Teens spend an average of 2 weekday hours online.