October 15, 2008
Webster University Co-Hosts Regional Media Literacy Week
ST. LOUIS, Oct. 14, 2008 – After numerous state and local proclamations, Oct. 12-18 is officially Media Literacy Week in the St. Louis and Missouri/Illinois region. “In the battleground state of Missouri, the timing couldn’t be better to discuss media literacy as a survival skill — the focus of the series of panels, speeches and an academic symposium,” said Jessica Brown, director of Gateway Media Literacy Partners (GMLP). The second annual week is co-hosted by GMLP and Webster University and is primarily aimed at educators at all levels as well the community.
Several events highlighting the week will be held at Webster University. On Friday, Oct. 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., a panel discussion on “Media & Politics: Campaign 2008,” will feature Frank Baker, an internationally renowned media literacy scholar and educator; Prof. Art Silverblatt; and former Mo. Gov. Bob Holden, who led several education reform initiatives during his governorship from 2001 to 2005. The breakfast panel, which will take place in the University Center, is sponsored by the St. Louis Press Club and costs $10 for the optional breakfast. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org or 636-230-1973. Later that day, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Webster University's Moore Auditorium is the keynote speech from Baker, “The Role of Media in the Political Process.”
The week wraps up on Saturday, Oct. 18, with an academic symposium featuring the papers of faculty and graduate students studying media literacy. The symposium runs from 9 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. in Webster University’s Sverdrup Building and has two parts —media literacy analysis of the media and the teaching of media literacy. Both the keynote speech and symposium are free and open to the public. Papers being presented cover such topics as cultural stereotypes perpetuated in film, military ads that perpetuate fear to support the war and the impact of media on morality.
Art Silverblatt, professor of communications and journalism at Webster University and chairman of GMLP, has written numerous books and articles on media literacy and says that over the past five years the number of colleges and universities offering courses or programs in media literacy has tripled.
“If we gauge an educated person as someone who is able to make sense of his/her environment, it is becoming clear that the discipline of media literacy has emerged as an essential life skill,” says. “Media literacy is a critical thinking skill that provides strategies that enable individuals to make sense out of media messages and develop an independence from what they are receiving through the channels of mass communication.”
During the week, two individuals were presented with the Charles Klotzer Awards for their contributions to the field of Media Literacy. The award, named after the publisher of the St. Louis Journalism Review who has been a longtime proponent of media literacy, was given to Don Marsh, media practitioner and host of “St. Louis On the Air,” a program on NPR affiliate station KWMU-FM; and Doug Russell, a media literacy education teacher in the Riverview Gardens School District. Additionally, one organization is recognized with a “Klotzer Award” for its role in support of media literacy in the St. Louis region. This year’s recipient is Cooperating School Districts of Greater St. Louis, a non-profit educational consortium comprised of 30 member public school districts.
Gateway Media Literacy Partners is a non-profit member organization comprised of schools, universities and community members committed to promoting media literacy in the St. Louis region.
With its home campus in St. Louis, Webster University is a worldwide institution committed to delivering high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence. Founded in 1915, Webster offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs through five schools and colleges, and a global network of more than 100 campuses. Its 20,000-plus student population represents almost 150 nationalities. The University’s core values include excellence in teaching, joining theory and practice, small class sizes, and educating students to be lifelong independent learners, fully prepared to participate in an increasingly international society.
Since opening its first campus overseas in Geneva in 1978, Webster has become a recognized leader and innovator in global education, with an international presence that now includes campuses in London; Vienna; Amsterdam and Leiden, the Netherlands; Shanghai, Shenzhen and Chengdu, China; and Bangkok and Cha-am, Thailand. Webster also has educational partnerships with universities in Mexico and Japan.