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By Renee Hobbs

Media Literacy IN ACTION


Questioning the Media

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Why do people prefer different kinds of music, movies and TV SHOWS? 

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Learning Outcomes

  1. Examine why people like diverse types of media as a result of differences in aesthetic judgment and taste

  2. Understand how novelty, familiarity, and repetition affect people’s liking of media content

  3. Discover how media genres, codes, and conventions help people comprehend and interpret media content

  4. Appreciate how recommendation engines structure people’s choices of movies and TV shows

  5. Reflect on how features of the media environment shape everyday life and behavior


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Gain awareness of your media diet by making one simple change to it and then documenting

what you experience in an essay. For one day, do a personal audit of all your media use—all your

reading, listening, viewing, and game play. Reflect on which of the behaviors you engaged in are

typical for you in an ordinary day.

Then change one specific feature of your typical media use habits for a brief period—3 days

at the most. For example, if you typically listen to music in the car, switch to a podcast or do not

listen to music at all. In a personal essay (500 words or fewer) or video (two minutes or shorter),

reflect on your experiences before and after your experiment. You can post and share your

experience using the #MLAction hashtag.


Change 1 Thing About Your Media Diet  

People balance the need for novelty and familiarity when choosing media





Reflect on your media tastes. Choose one of these activities to explore  features of your taste in music or


• Create a detailed timeline to chart the development of your taste in movies or music since you were a child and write about the patterns you notice over time.

• Keep track of all the music you listen to in one day by identifying the genre and noting whether each song you hear is familiar or novel. What do you


• Make a list of your 10 favorite movies and describe each one. Then see how many similarities between them you can detect and create genre categories

for your list.

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After completing one of these activities, compose a response where you consider these questions:


What patterns do you notice in your taste preferences?


How satisfied are you with your choices?


How have your taste preferences changed over time?


Then, share your ideas in the Flipgrid Inquiry by contributing a brief oral presentation. You can also view and respond to comments of other people who have offered thoughtful reflections

on their own media tastes. 



"The business of art is no longer the communication of thoughts or feelings which are to be conceptually ordered, but a direct participation in an experience. The whole tendency of modern towards participation in a process, rather than apprehension of concepts."

--Marshall McLuhan, 1951

Learn more about how Marshall McLuhan influenced a generation of media literacy educators, researchers & activists



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