„To be a functioning adult in a mediated society, an individual must be able to discern different forms of media and know how to ask basic questions about everything we see, read or hear.“
E.Thoman, founder of the Center for Media Literacy
Media Creates Reality – They are responsible for the perspectives and experiences we bring to everyday life, where we create our views on the society in which we live. Media literacy is most often defined as the ability to understand, read, understand the core of media texts, or the ability to view, analyze, evaluate and create media messages in different ways.
This means that a media literate should be able to think critically and analyze the most varied forms of expression, that is, by acquiring skills that involve media education or media literacy, the skills that have the widest applicability and are crucial for the quality functioning and expression in modern culture. According to the UNESCO’s document from 1998, the media literacy education program has a role to play in “Protecting minors and human dignity through audiovisual and information services”. This document also indicates that media literacy is not an isolated knowledge, it “binds” the lessons learned in mother tongue teaching, sociology, history, psychology, fine arts, civic education, etc.
The activities of the Novi Sad School of Journalism are moving in this direction. We were among the first organizations in Serbia that started conducting professional training seminars on media literacy accredited by the Institute for the Improvement of Education and Training (ZUOV) of the Republic of Serbia. This program aims to educate teachers to use media content intra-curricularly or extracurricularly, as well as to contribute to the improvement of critical thinking skills about media. Details about this program can be read in the ZUOV’s catalog of seminars. By 2022, more than 1,300 teachers have passed this professional training seminar.
In addition to the accredited professional development seminar aimed at educating teachers, we have also organized media literacy camps, conferences, festivals, and study visits abroad.
In addition to working directly with teachers we have also implement media literacy projects aimed at students in primary and secondary schools. For students, we realized camps and workshops on media, misinformation, stereotypes and prejudices, advertising and similar related topics.
In addition to educations, we have prepared several manuals and guidelines with examples of workshops and lectures for teachers and educators to help them implement media literacy in formal and informal education. Some of this manuals and guidlines have been written by the teachers themselves.
These educational materials can be found on the website of the Novi Sad School of Journalism, as well as on the website www.medijskapismenost.org.rs, which we created especially for teachers and educators who educate students about media literacy. In addition to the materials, this site also contains interesting educational texts about the media.
NSSJ also invests efforts in advocating for the introduction of media literacy in schools, and in this way we cooperated with relevant institutions, and we also proposed several practical policies for better realization of the implementation of media literacy in the formal education system.
All the mentioned activities are supported by research on the needs of students and teachers in the realization of media literacy. For these purposes, we conduct regular surveys with questionnaires, as well as through focus groups and desk research.