Media&Values: More than a Magazine


This article originally appeared in Issue# 40-41

How one magazine can change the way you use media forever!

Media&Values is more than a magazine. It's a tool, a catalyst, for leading you — or helping you to lead others — from awareness to action on the many issues raised by today's mass media and new technology.

Whether you're a teacher, counselor, youth worker, religious leader or just an active media watcher of any age, the ideas and activities on the in each issue can help you examine your media environment and "make the connections" between what we hear, read and watch and our everyday lives.

Many people ask if anything can really be done about issues like sexual violence in the media, bias in the news or advertising to children. Yes, of course! But because the mass media system is only one aspect of our very complex social structure — with economic, political and cultural ramifications — change comes slowly.

And there are no easy answers, or quick-fix solutions. Perhaps, indeed, what is most important is learning to question, to be suspicious (but not cynical), to challenge what we see and hear and to test it against our experience.

That's where Media&Values can help.

Using a framework created by Brazilian educator Paulo Freire, each issue of Media&Values takes the reader — individually or as part of a group through a four step process of media awareness / analysis / reflection / action. Note how the magazine is put together:

  • First of all, each issue, except for very early ones, is on a single theme irelated in some way to the field of media and society — often a "hot topic" like violence in the media or what's happened to the news?
  • The cover title and illustration or photograph raises our Awareness of the theme topic. Inside, the editorial Starting Point, article titles and quotes, even the illustrations spark our interest and pique our curiosity that there may be some new ideas to consider.
  • The main articles then provide insight and Analysis by exploring in depth the political, economic, social, cultural and/or historical ramifications of the theme topic and raising new questions we may never have considered before.
  • In many issues, regular standing columnists provide thoughtful Reflection and ideas for involvement by different groups and audiences in society. In other issues, a tear out "Reflection Resource" provides a two-sidied handoout ready for duplication for classes or groups.
  • An extensive bibliography and resource listing provide direction for deeper exploration and program planning for classes, workshops and study groups.
  • Action suggestions and Re:Action boxes are scattered throughout the issue to stimulate followup by individuals or organizations.

Whether a group is two people over breakfast, a dozen children in middle school, a college seminar class, or eight teens in a church youth group, we all have media experiences to share! Stimulated by the articles and ideas in Media&Values we can reflect on these experiences and gain deeper insight into how we use the media, how the media uses us and what steps we can take, indivdually or as a society, to keep our media values in a healthy perspective.