Media Literacy Outreach Projects Fall 2016

Each year a number of Communication and Leadership Master’s Degree students engage in Community Outreach Projects to Promote Media Literacy all around the country and also around the world. The students are actually enrolled in COML 516: Seminar in Media Literacy. The Seminar teaches the Principles of Media Literacy and incorporates the teaching philosophy of Ignatius Loyola and completes with an Action Step that asks, “Now that I know what I know, what must I do?” The answer to that question is their Outreach Project and each student if officially a “Student Member” of the Northwest Alliance for Responsible Media. Many of these projects actually turn in to their MA Thesis Project.


Student: Elizabeth Rasmussen. 

Title: Media Literacy and Historical Information 

Audience: Recipients of the Kittitas County Historical Museum Newsletter

Location: Ellensburg, WA


This project was focused on introducing the idea media literacy to the older community of Ellensburg,WA. The target audience within that demographic was volunteers and members of the Kittitas County Historical Museum (KCHM) who range in age from 45-90 years old. To gain the audiences attention the idea of media literacy is related to history and historical information since this type of information is no longer just available by word of mouth or print. It is now on the television in form of documentaries, movies, and shows based on historical eras or events. It is also available on the Internet in the form of digital articles, blogs, digital books and so forth. No matter the format which the material is printed, it all tells a different story. The information is presented in a one page newsletter article that KCHM publishes quarterly and the fall 2016 Newsletter is set to be published mid to late October. 


Student: Adrian Fernandez, Covina, California

Title: Developing a Media Literacy Program for High School Students


High school students in our society today are exposed to a ton of media. It can be very difficult to develop original thoughts and opinions because of everything going on around them. Age 13-17 is such an important developmental part of life that I feel students should learn how to process all of the information around them. I strongly believe this will help prepare students once they graduate high school and give them an essential skill to survive in this world. My goal is to develop a media literacy program at the high school I graduated from, South Hills High School, in West Covina, CA. I will present this program to a current teacher at the school. The program will look at different articles/television news and analyze the differences in the coverage of the same story. I believe this is an extremely effective way of showing how opinion plays a part in the media. Before the program can be approved by the school, I have to conduct a small pilot test to get measure student interest. In the content to follow, I will outline how the program will be structured, the media literacy theories used, and the delivery of the after-school program.


Student: Vanessa Kilmer, Spokane, WA.

Title: Starting A Media literacy Club for High School Students


Through Media Literacy Organization research, I became more familiar with the advocation of state-level media literacy education legislation. Based on the current rate of policy changes for media literacy education, approved legislation in all states could take many years to come to fruition. Meanwhile, “By the time they enter kindergarten, most American children have already spent more hours watching television than they will spend in college classrooms getting a degree,” (Caputo, 1991). This statement calls for action now, and along with having more discussions about television with my own children, I planned to share my knowledge with children in my community to help them be more prepared to “interpret the meaning of messages they encounter,” (Potter, p. 19). I sought an opportunity to give a media literacy presentation to 9-11 year old military children at the base youth center.  I based my interactive presentation on three main objectives: teach children the meaning of media literacy and how it affects them in their lives;  teach children the power of advertising and marketing effects, how advertising aims to influence their behavior; through instruction of the children, teach youth center employees the value of media literacy and provide them resources to continue instruction. The presentation included discussion, creation of an advertisement, and an explanation by the children on their advertisement using concepts of our media literacy analysis. Through pre-presentation and post-presentation surveys, I confirmed my theory that children of this age group would be interested in further media literacy education, perhaps in the form of a club. This forum of media literacy education could be implemented throughout various after-school programs and thrive with maximum volunteer participation. These clubs could supplement formal media literacy education, or be used as a substitute until formal media literacy education legislation is passed.


Student: Megan Pitzen. Spokane, WA.

Title: Teaching Media Literacy to Student-Athletes in the Social Media Era


Social media is a popular platform for communication activities to occur in modern times. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat have become frequently integrated into daily life. Six new Facebook profiles are created every second, 6,000 tweets are sent every second, and six billion videos are watched on Snapchat every day (Smith, 2016). It is because of the weight this medium carries that monetization has become a driving force to content. Social media provides a targeted audience as users self-disclose their interest. Companies are able to specify who receives their message, when, and how. With this direct line to consumers, expected revenue from social media advertising is predicted to be $9.7 billion in 2017 (Karr, 2014).

Whether the interaction be between high school friends, college roommates, or relatives, social media provides a communal space for connections to be made virtually while mimicking an in-person experience. However, reality lacks a screen to hide that exists with social media. The distance between two people communicating is magnified when it happens online. Online interactions permit censorship in the act of typing and using specific words to express a point. On social media, anonymity exists and negative outcomes such as bullying, low self-esteem, and stress can result from hurtful words said behind a screen. For the 90% of young adults ages 18-29 (Perrin, 2005) who are on social media, these are dreary consequences. Along with the psychological reactions, students who are athletes and on scholarship have a lot to lose. College student-athletes are held to a standard that best reflects university values and morals. It is for this reason that student-athletes become vulnerable to social media. They are granted the freedom of speech through the First Amendment, but commitments to their university may hinder that right. The intention of this project is to educate student-athletes on the reality of social media and to introduce to concept of media literacy as a tool to influence future action.


Student: Monica Nelson, Seattle, WA.

Title: Media Literacy & Children – Understanding the Effects of Media Usage


This presentation, “Media Literacy & Children: Understanding the Effects of Media Literacy” is meant to inform those who care for children, and about the effects of media usage. This PPT slideshow presentation is to be viewed by preschool teachers at a monthly meeting at the Children’s Center. In addition, it is available to be viewed by teachers, parents, and caregivers through the school’s website. With an increase in media usage among children, this presentation gives information about the effects, both positive and negative, and supplies useful information to curb negative effects. It also opens up dialog about the need to understand media literacy, and the effects of media usage and children.


Student: Jennifer Rector, Oklahoma

Title: Media Monitoring for Elementary Kids


Overexposure to the media can lead to many negative issues in elementary-aged children. As parents, it’s easy to simply let media “happen” to children. It’s all around us. We use it to reward, to entertain, keep the peace, and in many instances … to educate.

Parents must understand the importance of monitoring what types of media their children take in on a daily and sometimes hourly basis. Children are a special audience in regards to media messages. They experience the negative effects of media much more significantly than an adult because they are still developing the cognitive skills required to process and filter media and its messages.

My outreach project involved arranging for agenda time with the local area PTA to discuss the importance of monitoring the media habits of the elementary children with their parents. A short presentation will be presented followed by discussion and questions and answers for the parents.

The objective is to educate parents while helping them brainstorm and work together to create an action plan around monitoring media when they are not in school. Reduction of screen time and other monitoring tactics help children build a healthy relationship with media as they develop through several critical phases of childhood.


Student: Richard D. Rock. Johnstown, Pennsylvania

Title: Media Influence and Today’s Student


Media literacy in today’s message-saturated world is imperative to understanding who we are and how we live our lives.  No group has a greater capacity to learning and growing in this new technological climate than high school students.  From their earliest years to their present age, these members of society have been cultivated into a body whose functioning knows no other way than electronic messaging, social networking, and virtual world game play.  As they begin to consider graduating from high school, joining the military, entering the work force, or preparing for college, one can only wonder what tools they are equipped with in this new frontier.  Have they learned what they need to learn in order to survive the lightning fast pace of the world?  Moreover, were they given enough theory and education in developing the skills and knowledge needed to separate the world they perceive from the world in which they reside?  This assignment was used to not only measure how much media influences today’s teenagers, but also to give them a fuller understanding of how their perceptions do not necessarily reflect life in the real world.


Student: Tamara Serghini.  Cadiz, Spain

Title: It All Starts With Knowledge-Serghini


“To be human we have to reflect critically on what we see or experience, speak out about it and act on it in order to effect change” (Smidt, 2014, p.24).  Media has become a dominant thread in today’s social fabric.  It effects our institutions, our organizations, our cultural and how we interact with each other, in essence, it effects the very core of human existence. Yet, media literacy is still met with skepticism.  Media literacy is a perspective that advocates individual involvement by teaching active and participatory learning.  It teaches individuals how to find, evaluate and utilize media.   Shockingly, the United States, “lags behind many other countries in developing media literacy courses and curricula in public schools” (Potter, 2008, p. 352) and sadly, in other parts of the world media literacy development has fared similar results.

Spain, for example, while although respected for its involvement in media literacy education and for being home to important media literacy activists, still undermines the importance of this skill.  Cadiz is a small, underprivileged coastal town in the south and desperately lacks commitment to media literacy education and as a result, it compromises the future of local children.  The truth is that there can be no transformation without action and there can be no action without education.

This outreach project aims unearth questions about media literacy education at a bilingual elementary school in Cadiz.  It intends to promote a deeper understanding of media influence as a force that shapes and alters society, but it also intends to explore how student and teacher perceptions may hinder the very develop of this understanding.


Student: Kerry Tsukamoto. Seattle, WA.

Title: Being a Media Literacy Education Advocate


Media literacy activism was the focus of this course final project. I was inspired by the Washington state media literacy bill, SB 6273, to seek media literacy for a national audience. The audience is Washington state senators and Federal Communications Commission leaders. Two messages were sent to each senator and one email was sent to three pertinent chiefs at an FCC bureau. The letters included the reason for contact by the author, brief background on the author, a definition of media literacy, target audience to be educated, explanation of mass media effects, and suggestions for action to educate children and the public on mass media literacy. Contacts have been made. One response received.


Student: Lyndsey York. Atlanta, Georgia.

Title: Generational Differences in Media


“The purpose of media literacy is to remind people to be mindful and take an oppositional stance to the practices of media companies and media messages” (Potter, 2008, p.12). Each generation becomes presented with form(s) of media in different ways. As generations continue to grow, media works to develop new establishments. Throughout this experiment there will be a compare and contrast method in mind. Three media experts will be interviewed based on their experiences and growth in their media field. There will be three fields of focused media: television news, newspaper and film/print broadcasting. Each individual being interviewed currently works with the Georgia Department of Labor (GDOL) and deals with media on an everyday routine. The comparison focuses on the baby boomer era verses the millennial era (21st century). The 21st century viewpoints will come from my own perspectives in relations to the Center for Media Literacy organization. Viewing how generational differences are amongst media is something I want to focus on throughout this project. My goal is to understand how the baby boomer era views media as it has developed verses how the millennial era views the media perspective while growing up with the establishments.





Filmstock rules and regulations

Filmstock Registration


Filmstock is  a film festival for high school students with prizes and parameters designed to challenge budding young filmmakers. Submissions were in the categories of short non-fiction, long non-fiction, short fiction, and long fiction, with juried prizes also given.  Submissions were judged on three main criteria: creativity, production quality, and post-production by a panel of judges from the academic and entertainment fields.


Short Fiction

Camille Miller – 1st Place

Journey Fitzpatrick – 2nd Place

Sean Edminster – 3rd Place

Maximilian Dirscherl – Juried Prize


Short Non-Fiction

Aneka Meyersberg – 1st Place

Sofia Ramos – 2nd Place

Ethan Curtis & Chloe Sestero – 3rd Place

Nathan Stearns – Juried Prize


Long Non-Fiction

Mark Boston – 1st Place

Zachery Kotlarz – 2nd Place


Some of the winning submissions:


2016 Video Contest

2016 Break the Media Entry Form

FREE Media Breaker Software 

Questions? frequently-asked-questions

Break the Media 2016

For three years running, NW-ARM has held a video contest for youth (ages of 13-18) who have something to say and need a bigger megaphone. In previous years, winning videos have focused on cyberbullying themes. This year, the contest was about breaking the media – an opportunity for students to question a media message, gain understanding of the production of media messages through editing, and create their own media messages right back.


Journey Fitzpatrick for “Cymbalta Media Breaker”



2015 Video Contest

2014 Video Contest

2014 Outreach Projects

 2013 Video Contest

Other Outreach Projects


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