I had a few personal goals after we wrapped up the NAMLE conference at the end of June. 1. Sleep  2. Catch up on T.V. 3. Listen to all those podcasts that were piling up on my phone. I know, it was a lot to ask of myself but I felt I could handle it. I am proud to say I have successfully accomplished all of these goals. When I wasn't sleeping*, I was watching and listening to some amazing media content.

Here's my top five from the last month that I am considering bringing into my media literacy class in the coming semester: 

1)   When They See Us  (Netflix): This limited series follows the "CentralPark Five" through their wrongful convict ion in 1989, their subsequent prison  sentences, and, finally, their release. Created by  Ava DuVernay this series is absolutely heartbreaking but completely necessary viewing, especially for those of you who care about social justice issues. I watched it early in the month and it continues to stay with me. It took my breath away. 

 2) White Lies (NPR):  Through seven podcast episodes, j ournalists Chip Brantley and Andrew Beck Grace investigate the1965 murder of Rev. James Reeb  in Selma, Alabama. The story unfolds with details of the crime, the aquittal of the men accused, and the lies told to keep the true story hidden. Most of all, it explores issues of race in the south in the 1960s that parallel the race conversation we are having today in America.  It is poignant, suspenseful, and carefully crafted. 

3) Embedded - Mitch (NPR): I'm a big fan of this podca st series from NPR. This particular five part episode is about Mitch McConnell. They pick their subjects very carefully so I was curious why they chose to focus so much time and energy on a person who isn't known for his charisma and entertainment value. I am so glad I listened. It's a really fascinating look at the influence one person can have on our political system. 

4) I Love You, Now Die (HBO): OMG. This 2 part documentary is
completely and utterly mind blowing. It explores the case of Michelle Carter, a 17 year old girl from a small town in Massachusetts, convicted of manslaughter of her boyfriend. The conviction was based on transcripts of texts and evidence of phone conversations on the day of his suicide. It brings up issues of the impact of social media, the power of technology, mental health, and the law. The prosecuters posed the question "if you can fall in love over text, why can't you kill someone over text?" The answer they found was "you can." I cannot wait to talk to my students about this one.

5) Euphoria (HBO): I was intrigued by the promotion for this show. 
Maybe  it's because I have teenagers who wanted to watch it but I was drawn to it. While it's hard to ignore how exaggerated this look at American teens is, the show itself is beautifully constructed with some of the most innovative and elaborate camerawork I've ever seen on the small screen. Together with the incredible imagery, the soundtrack and the performances are excellent. I am especially impressed with Zendaya , who has come quite a long way from the Disney Channel. It certainly has provided me and my kids to have some interesting conversations about important topics like drugs, sexuality and high school culture. 

I am consistently amazed by the innovative and rich media environment around me. I am so looking forward to getting into the classroom at the end of August to dive into some of the topics raised by this material. Is there any new content you are planning to bring into your classroom this coming school year? Email me and share! 

Speaking of bringing media literacy into the classroom, there's big news on the legislative front. If you haven't heard yet, U.S. Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) has introduced  The Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act  which would establish a grant program at the Department of Education to help develop digital citizenship and media literacy education across grades K-12.   Here's some additional thoughts on the bill by leading Media Literacy scholar Renee Hobbs. 

The 5th Annual Media Literacy Week (October 21-25) is coming soon. It's less than 3 months away! Can you believe it? This year's efforts will be led by our Associate Director, Donnell Probst, and NAMLE Board Member, Alicia Haywood. They are an incredible team. We are lucky to have them at the helm. You'll start seeing more about our efforts in August. Stay tuned! If you have any immediate questions, feel free to email medialiteracyweek@namle.net.

Here's to a great August!

Michelle Ciulla Lipkin's signature 

Michelle Ciulla Lipkin, 
Executive Director

*I've been working, too:)