Classes at the New School started again today. Some of my courses will be online this semester, including Projects In Media Advocacy, a practices course which takes us through the process of creating advocacy messages and learning strategies for dealing with news outlets.
Media studies is one of those things which is commonly dismissed by others as a worthless degree, a shortsighted and somewhat arrogant assertion that grows increasingly weak as the influence and pervasiveness media technologies extends to every part of our life. In going through one of the readings for the advocacy media course, I found great reason for studying media I’d like to share with everyone who doesn’t think media studies is important (admittedly, those people shouldn’t be listened to in the first place, but let’s be kind):
Today, the mass media… are among the most important institutions maintaining, reinforcing, and reproducing existing inequities in power. Since media controls the range of views to which audiences are exposed, media coverage can obscure – and can even reverse- public opinion towards repressive social policies. Mainstream media promote visions of society that endorse the status quo while silencing, marginalizing and/or absorbing alternative and opposition voices. 1
This reason is 20 years old. As we’ve seen media’s democratization and the political implications of participatory culture have global repercussions, media studies should be recognized as one of the most important areas of scholarship and work for today’s world.
1. Ryan, Charlotte. Prime Time Activism. Boston, MA: South End Press, 1991. 7