Rhys Daunic was invited as a representative of The Media Spot and The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to the U.S. State Department at to discuss media literacy education with journalists touring media institutions through the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP).
About the International Visitor Leadership Program
“The International Visitor Leadership Program brings approximately 4,000 foreign nationals from all over the world to the United States every year. Our visitors exchange views with their professional counterparts and experience America firsthand. The visitors are current or potential leaders in government, politics, the media, education, the arts, business and other fields. Among the thousands of distinguished individuals who have participated in the International Visitor Leadership Program during its seven decades are more than 321 current and former Chiefs of State and Heads of Government, 2,000 cabinet-level ministers as well as leaders from the private sector. Through involvement in these programs, Americans contribute to mutual understanding between the United States and other nations.” – Read more on usembassy.gov
A Focus on Media Literacy as Diplomacy
Keith Hughes, a program officer for IVLP, has taken a special interest in making media literacy connections domestically and internationally, and reached out to me to talk about how the broad array of educators, scholars, media and health professionals and others are working to ensure that individuals of all ages develop the habits of inquiry and skills of expression that they need to be critical thinkers, effective communicators and active citizens in a modern democracy.
Developing Social Media Strategy with Ismaila Sisay, Public Radio Station Owner, Gambia, West Africa
The first meeting was one-on-one with Mr. Ismaila Sisay, owner of Tangara FM community radio station that broadcasts news in local languages in The Gambia. Mr. Sisay was interested in developing a social media plan for Tangara FM, which has been the target of government harassment, and strategies for building core concepts of media literacy into the training of his staff. I shared with him my experiences using blogs, Facebook and Twitter with both The Media Spot and NAMLE and shared the social media guidelines we’ve been using at NAMLE. We also went through The Core Principles of Media Literacy Education, and how he might build on examples of how schools, educators and organizations have approached teaching producers of media to be critically aware of decisions they make when producing media; questioning how their identity affects their point of view, how those receiving those messages experiences may affect their reception, and attempting to transparently represent their bias, and strive for transparency about where they fit in the social and political landscape.
Q & A on US Media Literacy Education with International Journalists & Media Pros
The second meeting was with a group of 20 media professionals and journalists representing 15 countries who had been visiting and discussing media literacy with different organizations throughout the Northeast for a week. I gave them an overview of K-12 media literacy in New York City and how, compared with other organizations that may engage students in “stand-alone” media literacy workshops, afterschool centers, or productions, The Media Spot primarily operates within public schools to build media literacy concepts and digital media production into classrooms by working with and training teachers. We also looked at a range of media literacy organizations nationally, and I describe how, to me, NAMLE uniquely brings together a broad coalition of stakeholders around the idea that critical analysis of media is the foundation for media literacy education. As the surge of digital media culture continues, the core principles that NAMLE members have rallied around, re-interpreted and re-applied for over a decade when discussing media effects on identity, culture, and citizenship continue to be what defines this organization within the landscape of organizations in the U.S. involved in anything related to media literacy, media education, or educational technology.
I am thrilled to have been a part of these conversations, and that Keith has carved out a space for media literacy on the agenda of the IVLP.