Media Maker for The Masses

The first business card I ever made for myself had the phrase you see above listed as my job title. Today it only exists on my Twitter profile. As pretentious as it may sound, it encapsulates how I view my role as a media creator. Basically, it comes down to two words.

Accessibility and Responsibility.

I employ those terms because I strive to ensure that the content I create is readily understandable for all members of the intended audience and serves its intended purpose. Whether or not members of the audience choose to engage with the content within the context I’ve presented is entirely their prerogative, but the responsibility for creating and sharing that content is mine.

So, why is media creation a critical component of media literacy?

Media content creates or enters into existing discourse, and the interpretation of any given text by the audience determines the form and direction that the discourse takes. According to the Core Principles of Media Literacy Education in the United States from the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), “media are a part of culture and function as agents of socialization.” This signifies that we have each become, in a very real sense, media creators in addition to being media consumers. In a few clicks, we can reach thousands of people around the world. Therefore, we have a shared responsibility to one another to elevate the level of our discourse and eliminate misinformation and disinformation from our media diets.

The Center for Media Literacy (CML) published a chart of key questions and core concepts (Q-Tips) that illustrates the correlation and symbiosis between consumers and producers situating the Center’s 5 core concepts as the means of linking interpretation and creation of media content. Perhaps the most provocative concept was #5, Purpose.

The audience asks, “Why is this message being sent?” Meanwhile, the author wonders, “Have I communicated my purpose effectively?” According to CML, their mutual understanding is based on the concept that “Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.” This was not a new idea, but seeing it there in black and white was jarring. This may be acceptable for advertising business models, but for the well-being of our society, both collectively and as individuals, we must hold ourselves to higher standards.

So as for my loft aspiration to become a “media maker for the masses,” I don’t know if that is really an attainable goal. My content is not going to cure all the world’s ills. Perhaps as media creators the best we can hope for is borrowed from medical ethics, Primum non nocere, first do no harm.

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