Question Your Media: Vet It Before You Share It

About the Pledge

Do you trust everything you read? Hopefully not — 84% of Millennials acknowledge that news and information is presented with some bias. It’s only when you train yourself to be “media literate” that you can look past the surface of information. And once you decide what’s truthful, you can create and share your own messages.

Media literacy is an approach to deciphering data, including the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, and communicate information in all forms, from ads to blogs to online news. It allows you to critically question methods of communication and better understand the role of media in society. You have to ask yourself questions — starting with “Who created this message?” — before you can trust what you see. How important are media literacy skills? More than half of Millennials are not always confident in the truth of the news and information they share online.

Being media literate is beneficial to everyone, from the student studying history to the voter choosing a candidate. And when you know how to analyze information, you can create and share responsible and truthful content. 

Photo Credit: POOL New/Reuters

I pledge to stand with the Center for Media Literacy and look past what’s on the surface when consuming and creating media.

These are five questions I will ask myself when analyzing media.

  1. Who created this message? All media messages are constructed, and knowing its author can shed light on the message’s intended purpose.
  2. What creative techniques are used to attract my attention? Media messages are constructed using a creative language with its own rules. Many forms of communication appeal to the senses to convey their messages.
  3. How might different people understand this message differently? Different people experience the same media differently.
  4. What values, lifestyles, and points of view are represented in or omitted from this message? Media have embedded values and points of views.
  5. Why is this message being sent? Most media messages are organized to gain profit and/or power.

These are five questions I will ask myself when creating media.

  1. What am I authoring? I need to remember that I hold all the power (and responsibility) when creating media.
  2. Does my message reflect understanding in format, creativity, and technology?
  3. Is my message engaging and compelling for my target audience?
  4. Have I clearly and consistently framed values, lifestyles, and points of view in my content?
  5. Have I communicated my purpose effectively?

Got a few more helpful tips? Share them in the comments below.


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