With Media Literacy Week falling smack dab in the center of celebrating Halloween and the Chicago Cubs in the World Series (not to mention endless choices of live entertainment), attention for the second annual series of educational and advocacy events is still in the process of gaining some much-deserved momentum around town. However, thanks in part to internationally-recognized outlets such as Twitter and Nickelodeon, along with Midwest-based heavy hitters Loyola University, Columbia College, Skies Fall and iSpeakMedia (the latter of whom’s Alicia Haywood is hosting an invitation-only Moms For Media Literacy lunch and was also the one who put MLW on CCR’s radar), the movement surrounding the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, communicate and create is nonetheless growing amongst viewers, readers and those who work in the media industry.
Having celebrity involvement has certainly helped shaped the cause, such as outspoken R&B superstar Alicia Keys, who even earned an official “Celebrity SHOUTOUT” page for her dialogue amongst fans and supporters in pursuit of empowerment and authenticity. “Women are brainwashed into feeling like we have to be skinny or sexy or desirable or perfect,” she said, “I don’t want to cover up anymore. Not my face, not my mind, not my soul, not my thoughts, not my dreams, not my struggles, not my emotional growth. Nothing.”
Indeed, the relatively recent addition of Media Literacy Week isn’t just an essential way to reflect upon current affairs and popular culture, but also a barometer to help keep up with the rapidly changing trends of how the public consumes media.
In keeping with the mindset to dive much deeper beyond the music, there’s also the film titled “Hip Hop: Beyond Beats & Rhymes” that’s being incorporated into Media Literacy Week (and also sounds like a fascinating view at any point in the not too distant future for anyone even remotely interested in the genre). But rather than focusing on the glow of success or glorifying any specific celebrity, the story’s arc addresses several issues ranging from masculinity and sexism to race and violence within the musical microcosm.
For those really looking to roll up their sleeves, Chicago’s Loyola University is one of the many facilities with multiple presentations, including Thursday’s discussion “Teaching Ethical Digital Storytelling” (featuring Jeff McCarter from Free Spirit Media, Michael Cullinane and Adnan Hadzalic from Senn High School, and John Slania from Loyola University Chicago under the moderation of Katy Culver). To close out the week on Friday, Loyola also hosts the “6th Annual Symposium on Digital Ethics” with a Media Literacy Week keynote address from speaker Lilie Chouliaraki, author of “The Spectatorship of Suffering” and Professor of Media and Communications at The London School of Economics.
Other opportunities include a school, youth organization or family simply hosting a “Break-a-thon” of unplugging from media outlets and devices, or at the very least, refraining from the temptation to fall for click bait or post irresponsibly on social networks. And with one of the most divisive elections in American history right around the corner, Media Literacy Week’s timing seems particularly appropriate, especially as candidates and reporting organizations are continuously trying to outdo each other with salacious revelations and sensationalistic headlines.
Indeed, the relatively recent addition of Media Literacy Week isn’t just an essential way to reflect upon current affairs and popular culture, but also a barometer to help keep up with the rapidly changing trends of how the public consumes media. Though Chicago Concert Reviews is merely here to entertain through post-show coverage, photo galleries and artist features, a commitment to accuracy, honesty and relatability remain paramount priorities with additional inspiration and direction sure to be gleaned from the many vital initiatives during this week of media history in the making.
For additional information on Media Literacy Week and a full list of events, visit MediaLiteracyWeek.US.