By Denise E. Ramirez, MLN communications manager
This week I learned that Angelina Jolie is launching a new show, BBC My World. The show is looking to provide children and teens with the media literacy and critical thinking skills they need to make fully informed decisions. It presents unbiased information on a variety of topics — from climate change to journalism to women’s rights. “There has never been a time when it was more important to introduce the next generation to objective, impartial news and factual explanation of the events and issues shaping our world. Children today are exposed to a lot of opinion, but not necessarily to information that is fact-based and reliable,” Jolie stated in a recent interview with the BBC.
I decided to judge for myself to see if BBC My World lives up to its own hype. Although there are currently only three episodes available on BBC My World’s website, the show effectively does exactly what it aimed to do: provide a factual information in straightforward language about important issues around the world in an interactive manner. While the show reads somewhat like part of a lesson plan and not necessarily something kids will binge watch in their living room, it is nonetheless successfully bringing the discussion of media literacy beyond the classroom.
As a media and information literacy advocate, I am excited to see Angelina Jolie using her platform as an internationally recognized celebrity and pop culture icon to promote media literacy and critical thinking skills. Jolie’s new show — and as a result, media literacy — has been covered by several popular media publications including W Magazine, Vanity Fair, and Variety. I believe these kinds of discussions in popular culture are key in conveying the message that media literacy advocacy isn’t a niche interest or purely for educators and parents; these are conversations we should all be participating in as constant consumers of media and information.
At Media Literacy Now, we believe it is important to approach the discussion from all angles to effectively highlight the fact that media literacy is crucial. In addition to sparking a cultural shift around how we discuss media at home, we also believe in creating systemic change by pushing for policies that bring comprehensive media literacy education to schools throughout the U.S.. As highlighted in our recent U.S. Media Literacy Policy Report 2020, many states have already taken action in ensuring that media literacy is a key part of every child’s education. Despite the progress that has been made, there’s still a lot more to be done on all fronts. Ultimately, like Angelina Jolie, we are continuing the dialogue and building a movement of people calling for media literacy education in schools across the United States and beyond.
To read more about MLN’s mission as well as what we are doing to get there, please visit the link below: https://medialiteracynow.org/about-us/.