An Early Look at the Emergence of the Call for Media Literacy in the U.S.: Browsing Through the Decades of National Telemedia Council Archives

Marieli Rowe
National Telemedia Council

In this presentation, I will share the interesting story that is revealed in the archives and records of our organization, whose origins  actually began some eighty years ago  when a local Madison chapter of the American Association of University Women , under the leadership of English teachers Jessie McCanse and Dr. Leslie Spence turned their attention to the new medium of “Radio” and what it was doing in the lives of people.

  •  It tells of the search for  meaningful roots and the contributions of early visionary individuals – educators, scholars and ordinary people … and indeed also the passionate  professionals of  the early days of broadcasting.
  •  It sheds light on the early conflicts in thinking and divergent approaches already evident;  it identifies, and gives tribute to, the important thinkers from near and far who helped us shape and give direction to a positive philosophy and constructive pedagogy for the classroom, along with grassroots participatory  activities that engaged a broad spectrum of family, community, and broadcast professionals.
  •  It chronicles the development of projects for “qualitative evaluation”, for “arriving at criteria” for evaluation through study and discussion, and for giving ‘praise’ and ‘criticism’ an equal platform.
  •  Finally, it shows, through sixty active years on the national scene, that today’s concerns, conflicts, methodologies and basic concepts of media literacy education are not new.  While the technology has changed at a breathtaking pace into the digital Age , the basics have not; indeed, they remain, endure, strengthen.

As NTC celebrates its 60th Anniversary in this year of 2013, we thank you for your vision in convening this symposium.  It is an important opportunity to give a firm grounding to the field of media literacy education (and it has been said many times in many ways that, to build a future one must understand the past.)  We are honored to participate in building this future through the contribution of the NTC story, and through continuing the effort to enlarge the Circle of Friends working together toward a media wise, literate, global society in the 21st Century.

Parking & Directions
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