Media Literacy – Basics #1

Ralph Beliveau

August 26-27, 2016

Five Key Concepts of Media Literacy

  1. All media messages are “constructed.”
  1. Each medium has different characteristics, strengths, and a unique “language” of construction.
  1. Different people interpret the same media message in different ways.
  1. Media messages are produced for particular purposes, including profit, persuasion, education, and artistic expression.
  1. Media have embedded values and points of view.


Six Questions to Ask about Any Media Message

  1. Who made – and who sponsored – this message, and for what purpose?
  1. Who is the target audience, and how is the message specifically tailored to them?
  1. What are the different techniques used to inform, persuade, entertain, and attract attention?
  1. What messages are communicated (and/or implied) about certain people, places, events, behaviors, lifestyles, etc.?
  1. How current, accurate, and credible is the information in this message?
  1. What is left out of this message that might be important to know?

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Ralph Beliveau Media Arts Area Head Associate Professor, Creative Media Production @ralphbeliveau Dr. Beliveau is on faculty for the Gaylord College and affiliate faculty in both Film and Media Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies. He co-authored Digital Literacy: A Primer on Media, Identity, and the Evolution of Technology (2016) and co-edited the forthcoming collection International Horror Film Directors: Global Fear (December 2016). He writes and teaches about media education and literacy, race, horror media, documentary, rhetorical criticism, video production, film, popular culture, music & cultural studies, and documentary theory production & history. He has written about network society, documentary rhetoric, horror media, The Wire, African American biographical documentaries, Alex Cox, Supernatural, Richard Matheson, Night Gallery, Italian film, and Paolo Freire and media literacy. He previously taught Radio/TV/Film at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh and broadcast journalism, popular culture, and rhetoric while doing graduate work at the University of Iowa. Beliveau ran an FM radio station and cable television studio in Chicago and worked in Los Angeles in independent film and television production. He served as editor of the Journal of Communication Inquiry, chair of the Cultural and Critical Studies division of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication, and chair of the Student Documentary Competition for the Broadcast Education Association. Beliveau is part of the team of faculty who leads the British Media Tour annually and also taught Italian Popular Film and Literature in the Journey to Italy program in Arezzo. Beliveau earned his B.S. from Northwestern University and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. More can be found at

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