Why Media? How we get media literate

Last night at a Miami/We Media bloggers dinner (hosted by Alex deCarvalho of Scrapblog)  Andy Carvin and I got into a discussion about how we got blogging…which got us thinking:  how do bloggers get to be bloggers?  Why do we take up self-publishing?  Where did the passion for media–that’s evident in so many of us–come from?

Andy’s story:  as a kid, he was taught to read and respect what he read in newspapers, but also to question what he read–to try to find out more about an issue or story.

My story:  when I was 7, my Dad (a WWII vet–with a third-grade education–)taught me to read a newspaper.  He also taught me to take in tv news broadcasts, and to listen to the different interpretations of the different broadcasters.  He believed that an informed opinion on issues could only come from following different reports and perspectives. 

Andy and I thought that perhaps the best media literacy education actually begins in the home.  Media habits, like many other habits, might come from our parents.  It’s the way both Andy and I were taught as children to consume media with the intention to understand, not re-enforce a preconceived notion–that has made us savvy media participants, not passive media consumers.  Inquisitive minds, a passion for perspective and and a desire to participate in what we had been engaged with since childhood is what motivated us to become a part of media culture–writing and communicating with others through our blogs–not stand apart from it.

Robin Miller also talked a bit about it in this post on this blog.

So, Andy and I thought it would be nice to know stories of others who’ve taken up blogging (or working in media)–how did you learn about media?  Did you get your lessons from family, friends, or someone else? Share your experience with us. . .that’s what the comments are for!

6 thoughts on “Why Media? How we get media literate

  1. I began blogging about a year ago after my daughter, who has been blogging for almost five years, said to me, “You know, Dad, you should be blogging.” After I read a few blogs, especially Nalo Hopkinson’s, I thought I should give it a try because it was a form of self-publishing and I had published a book, Twelve Poems and A Story for Christmas, with Iuniverse, so it was not a big stretch.

    Besides in the Caribbean self-publishing doesn’t carry the stigma that it seems to carry in the US and has always been the only alternative for artists, even for recording artists as talented as Bob Marley, who after being shut out by the big three recording producers in Jamaica, wrote the song, Small Axe, “If you are the big tree/ we are the small axe.” And he wasn’t talking about horticulture.

    Self-publishing is so widespread in the Caribbean that the editors of Caribbean Writers: A Bio-Bibliographical-Critical Encyclopedia, admitted: “Since libraries are few and educated readership still tiny…they [books] often disappear unless the author makes his way to the top and his early book sees a second edition … (who would not like to have a copy of the original edition of Derek Walcott’s first poems or of Aime Cesaire’s?). The sad fact is that book publishing in the Caribbean has gotten worse since the publication of Caribbean Writers.

    The disappearance of book and manuscripts has been one the main impulses behind the creation of The Caribbean Literary Archive Project , which Georgia Popplewell (Global Voices) has been instrumental in creating. In part, the project intends to be a repository for a group for “discussions about the archiving and preservation of Caribbean literary holdings, past, present and future” because in this ephemeral, digital age the preservation of the works of Caribbean writers is of primary importance.

    During the Global Voices breakout session, which will take place on Thursday 8 February at 5 pm., we hope to discuss this and many other projects that Global Voices has initiated in the attempt to “to amplify, curate and aggregate the global conversation online – with a focus on countries and communities outside the U.S. and Western Europe.”

    We hope we’ll see you there.

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