Is it me or does it seem like September started yesterday? Time sure does fly. I hope everyone is off to a great school year. My classes have started off with a bang with so much going on in the world to discuss and analyze. We discussed so many topics already from fake news to Facebook's role in the 2016 election to the recent heated conversation about protests and patriotism. Each week I give my students a "Media Scavenger Hunt." They have to search the internet for specific examples of representation in the media. Whether it be a hunt for elderly people in commercials or overweight individuals in sitcoms, the weekly assignment is an attempt to get them to think about representation and the narratives being created about different groups. 

I am always surprised and inspired by the media content they discover and their reflection on that content. Last week, I asked them to explore how Muslim children are portrayed in the news.  This one proved to be quite powerful for them. Their discoveries really moved me, and I wanted to share a few words from two of my students' reflections anonymously but with their permission. I thought you would appreciate the sentiment. 

Whether outright or inconspicuously, the word terror or terrorist always seems to link itself in news articles regarding Muslim children, women and men. This undeniable, media propagandized association between Muslims and terrorism is extremely detrimental. Furthermore, this connection publicizes and enforces the widely held, ignorant belief that Muslims are terrorists...to combat this identity crisis, we should listen to their stories, encourage news sources to post articles utilizing Muslim voices and allow Muslims to define themselves as all that they are and not who some assign them to be. 

When I was living in Korea, I had no idea who (Muslims) were and what they believed in. The only place I ever heard about Muslims was in the media, which tends to cover them in a negative way, and that made me feel nervous and scared of them. Now, after a long time living in America, I have made some Muslim friends and learned more about their religion and culture. Actually communicating and being around Muslims made it much easier for me to understand them and feel that they are the same as all of us human beings...I truly feel sorry for them because the media misrepresent them and causes honest Muslims to struggle in their daily life with the reputation media create. 

Whether or not you agree or disagree with these students' sentiments, I hope you see the point in me sharing them. It's to show us how even the most simple and basic media literacy activities can move a person to think deeply about the world they are living in. This is why I am so deeply committed to media literacy education and my work at NAMLE. 

 
It is also why I am so excited about the upcoming U.S. Media Literacy Week coming up November 6-10. On a daily basis, we are hearing from teachers and organizations around the country who are planning their events and activities from coast to coast. If you have not yet signed up to be a partner, please contact MJ Robinson at mjrobinson@namle.net. If you are a current partner and have yet to register your event, please do so here

We are busy planning our kick off event at Reuters in NYC. Details will be coming this week about our wrap up event at Twitter in San Francisco. You'll also be seeing an updated partner toolkit this week as well as some great national opportunities you can take part in. We also have some great discount offers for partners interested in hosting screening events. 

Please email us at medialiteracyweek@namle.net if you have any questions.

In another NAMLE news, I wanted to let you know a few interesting tidbits about members of our community.


Dr. Katherine Fry, Chair of the Television/Radio Department at Brooklyn College appeared on Vox recently in a segment entitled "Treating Natural Disasters Like War Zones Hurts Survivors". It's an unfortunately highly relevant piece and a great conversation starter. Check it out here


Sherri Hope Culver, NAMLE Past President, will be officially representing NAMLE on the  Advisory Board for the Center for Intercultural DialogueThe Center for Intercultural Dialogue (CID) was established by the  Council of Communication Associations  (CCA) in March 2010. The goal of the Center is to approach intercultural dialogue at two levels: to encourage research on the topic of intercultural dialogue, but to do so through bringing international scholars interested in the topic together in shared intercultural dialogues about their work.

Joanne Parsont, NAMLE's Board Secretary, just joined California Film Institute as  their Education Director. Joanne will be overseeing and developing programs that offer youth and community members the opportunity to learn about the world through film through year-round programs and the annual Mill Valley Film Festival.


As always, reach out if you have questions or want to chat. Happy October to all!
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin's signature Michelle Ciulla Lipkin
Executive Director  mciullalipkin@namle.net @ciullalipkin @medialiteracyed

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