Life in Balance

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Why it is important to evaluate the messages we’re given in the media?

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It is important in this day and age to be “media-literate”; that is, to understand that advertisements may have hidden agendas or be misleading in some ways. This is in the nature of advertising, as it wants to highlight the pros of something and disregard/hide the cons. Being able to critically view something and judge for yourself the reliability of the information you’re being told is an important skill in so many aspects of life, but especially in modern times when we are faced with so many messages each day, often conflicting ones. The sheer amount makes it hard to keep up!

Another question that is worth asking is: “what is meant by media?” Media is a very broad category that encompasses everything from advertisements on television, in magazines, to the television shows themselves and movies. Even news stations/newspapers are considered part of the media, and are especially important to view with a critical eye; often, some aspects of a story may be sensationalized or downplayed depending on what will create the most alluring headline. While this may not always be the case, critically viewing these news stories can further enhance your understanding of the event!

MediaLiteracyWeek.ca posts 4 important concepts to keep in mind when looking critically at the media. They include:

  • Remember that media are constructions – they were made with a purpose in mind!
  • Audiences negotiate meaning – each person may interpret media in a different way
  • Media have commercial implications – most media is ultimately geared towards profit
  • Ideological messages underpin all media – there is almost always a hidden ideology within mainstream media

For more information on media literacy and the above listed concepts, visit:

By Hilary Lougheed
ADMH Graduate Certificate Placement Student

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