September 2019

I have a very vivid memory of my interview for the job as NAMLE's Executive Director in the summer of 2012. I was on the call with board members Sherri Hope Culver, Rhys Daunic and Vanessa Greenwood. They asked me if I felt NAMLE needed to be doing something that it wasn't doing. I remember saying "NAMLE needs a seat at the table in Washington, D.C." Well, yesterday, seven years after I started at NAMLE, I finally found myself at a pretty signficant table in Washington, D.C. (See picture;)

I had the opportunity to speak at a Congressional Briefing on Disinformation and Media Literacy Education sponsored by Ranking Member Amy Klobuchar, Senate Commmitee on Rules and Administration. As a reminder, Senator Klobuchar's office has introduced the Digital Citizenship and Media Literacy Act .
A longside Facebook, Twitter, the Atlantic Council, the Alliance for Securing Democracy, NASED and IREX, I read a prepared statement about the importance of media literacy, the state of practice in the U.S. and recommendations to move things forward. You can read the statement here .

I take my role as a representative of the media literacy community very seriously, and I hope my statement is something that represents the community well. I had limited time and could not name all our partners or go into detail on the many programs out there. I am sorry for groups that were left out and points that were not made. I am confident there will be more opportunites to communicate about the amazing work you all do every day. 
Not surprisingly, much of the conversation focused on disinformation as it relates to social media platforms and the 2020 election. Many of the questions were directed at the representatives of Twitter and Facebook. I was able to get a few points in about the need to demand transparency from the tech industry as well as reiterate that media literacy is not simply about fighting disinformation. I also made the point that while media literacy education is not the only solution to the problems facing our country it certainly must be a big part of the solution.

Matthew Vanderwerff from IREX did a great job speaking about their Learn to Discern Project. Amy Cohen from the National Association of State Election Directors shared about The War on Pineapple campaign which was developed to help people understand foreign information interference. This campaign also came up at a briefing I attended at the Federal Election Commission on September 17 organized by NAMLE organizational partner, Pen America . The September 17th briefing was entitled Digital Disinformation and the Threat to Democracy: Information Integrity in the 2020 Elections.

It is quite obvious that D.C. is finally waking up to the importance of media literacy. Let's make sure they keep listening!
Our efforts during Media Literacy Week are more important this year than ever before. We need to make sure our communities are paying attention to media literacy! Have you planned your event or activity yet? There is still time! We will be holding our kick off event in Detroit on Monday, October 21 and a wrap up event in Minneapolis on Friday, October 25 bringing together students, teachers, and journalists. We will be sending more information out next week about the events. If you are in the Detroit or Minneapolis area, feel free to reach out to me via email to connect for more details if you want them immediately.

Have a wonderful weekend!
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin's signature
Michelle Ciulla Lipkin 
Executive Director
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National Association for Media Literacy Education