Mass Media Monday: Literacy + Documentaries.

Mass Media Mondaythe importance of media literacy!

And just like that—my mini holiday break is over. It was a lovely—much needed “brain-break”—but tomorrow brings on a whole new, jam-packed semester! Though, I know its going to be a tough one, I am honestly so ready to dive back into school and studies (embracing the nerd factor) and most importantly getting that much closer to the ultimate goal—my degree.

Last fall I transferred to Cal State San Marcos as a mass media major—and an interesting sort of thing transpired…

First of all—the initial courses I took within the major included: Mass Media: Production and Content (working with actual equipment and editing software—creating videos and also, studying media content) and Global Media (comparing and contrasting media from around the world—similarities and differences based on culture). Both courses were equally interesting and really allowed for me to fall in love with my majorworking on cool yet challenging projects, learning new skills and diving into the nitty-gritty, fascinating and ever-evolving media-crazed world, in which we live.

Though, an ironic realization also occurred, as the semester went on—while studying media, I found myself sort of moving away—or losing interest in the typical sources of mainstream media (TV shows, magazines, even music…etc.) I was originally plugged into—and essentially, developed and realized the importance in media literacy.

So…what is media literacy?

Wikipedia (a somewhat reliable source, in my book) states it as:

 Media literacy is a repertoire of competencies that enable people to analyze, evaluate, and create messages in a wide variety of media modes, genres, and formats.

In other words…its important to, for starters, realize that as technology continues to advance—there is no denying the h u g e role media plays in influencing our society.

Taking an even closer look…that little fact can become a bit scary. While studying the ins and outs of media systems and the affects it has on cultures—Media, in many instances, shapes our society society—creating the world in which we live …telling us how to live our livessuggesting gender rolesmanipulating consumers into buying products they don’t necessarily need.  The list goes on and on—and the ironic point that I’m trying to make here is that, I—as a mass media major, began to almost resent many of the messages that media tends to put out.

But I also learned that it’s up to us to avoid those negative and harmful messages through developing some level of media literacy.

Just having an amount of awareness as you watch or listen to any source of media…(TV, news, radio, magazines etc.). Question what is being presented to you—and make your own conclusions ! Plug in—I completely encourage that and think its somewhat of a responsibility for people to know what’s going on in their communities, country and World.  But it also becomes difficult to find the best, most reliable sources to do so—with endless media outlets.

One way I sort of challenged my own levels of media literacy, last semester was to begin by tuning out of the crap and tuning into the good stuff…so rather than watching a reality program—full of drama and mindless entertainment…I’d watch a documentary.

I’ve realized as a mass media major—I not only have an opportunity to be a part of something very current and evolving but also am ecstatic and hopeful to work for companies that are outputting stuff that matterseducating and inspiring the world!

I love the idea of working on the marketing and PR side of documentary films or for an “everything” sort of website that puts out innovative, creative and current content.

So, as my semester kicks off—I want to continue Mass Media Mondays as a way to sort of share some of the latest and greatest things I’ll be working on and also, some of the best media finds I’ve stumbled upon (from blogs, documentaries, films, articles…etc !)

 Favorite Documentaries:

All of these gems are found on Netflix and do a great job, in their own unique ways, of challenging the norms—educating specific topics in our world that don’t get nearly enough attention !


Miss Representation

Explore how the media’s often disparaging portrayals of women contribute to the under-representation of females in positions of power, creating another generation of women defined by beauty and sexuality, and not by their capacity as leaders.


This fascinating documentary examines the life of performing killer whale Tilikum — who has caused the deaths of several people while in captivity — and questions the safety and humaneness of confining these intelligent creatures.


Exploring the subject of school bullying from a personal angle, this eye-opening documentary tracks the stories of five different families whose children are struggling to defend themselves on a near-daily basis.

 The Invisible War

As ranks of women in the American military swell, so do incidents of rape. The Invisible War exposes a rape epidemic in the armed forces, investigating the institutions that perpetuate it as well as its profound personal and social consequences.

 Two of the projects I worked on last semester:

1)   Propaganda Project—this assignment was to send some sort of message, utilizing music and incorporating specific film techniques.  We thought of a creative way to expose our college campus…reminding people that everyone has a story and is walking around, carrying their own adversities. But there is always hope in overcoming adversity with the help of others or within yourself.

2)   Identity Piece—this assignment was to share a piece of our own identity. We all sort of cringed having to dive deep and figure out exactly what we wanted to share about ourselves…or even trickier—try to sum ourselves up in 2-5 minutes…but it was a great way to get to know fellow classmates and I was so impressed with all the identity pieces. I took the assignment as an opportunity to learn more about my Cuban heritage and spend time with my adorably comical grandparents!

Whew—that was a long one !

…To anyone still reading (hi, mom!) thank you ! All the loving support in beginning a blog was overwhelming and so very appreciated—and definitely made the scary jump, so very worth it!



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