Media theory hip hop video

Global Youth Media by appl juic – YouTube.

Last year I had the honor to contribute “Practicing Sustainable Youth Media” to an essay collection edited by JoEllen FisherKeller, International Perspectives on Youth Media (Mediated Youth). One of her graduate students put together this fun video based on the book, which combines hip hop and media theory. It may be the first of its kind! Enjoy!

Evolving the blog

Gramsci street poster-RomeBefore the days of social media blogging was my main source of inspiration and expression on the Internet. Twitter and Facebook took some wind out of the blogging sails by making it easier to share and post, but this also depleted my blog of ideas and energy. I’m trying to remedy this by consolidating how I share and poke around the web, hence you will notice a lot of new posts with links. is part of a new generation of sharing tools that allow users to “curate” topics. I find it a terrific way to track and follow experts of a variety of topics. One can follow curators to develop a “personal learning network” (PLN). will allow me to curate and share across many platforms, but I also will occasionally write unique posts (as time permits) for the blog. I hope you like the changes. Please let me know what you think. Thanks for reading!

Help support The Media Ecosystem

Dear friends,

I’m really bad at marketing and self-promotion. In fact, it’s embarrassing to write this post. Unfortunately, it largely falls upon me to get the word out for my new book, The Media Ecosystem. I’m hoping that you can help promote it through your own personal networks, but most importantly the publisher tells me that one of the key things people can do is to rate it and write a short review on Amazon.

If you’re not too busy and have a few minutes, could you please go over to Amazon and write up a short review? It has to be at least 20 words. Here is the link to the book’s Amazon page.

Thanks in advance for your moral support and kind words. Hard to believe, but promotion is actually harder than actually writing a book.

Mind bomb drops: The Media Ecosystem out today!


Dear friends,

Just a quick note to let everyone know that today my new book, The Media Ecosystem, is officially released and available. For more information on how to obtain it, go here.

Other links:

The Media Ecosystem web site.

The Media Ecosystem Facebook page.

Thanks for all your support and to all who contributed to making the book possible. I look forward to your feedback!


The Media Ecosystem updates

Dear friends and brain trust,

In anticipation of the July 10 release of my new book, The Media Ecosystem, I have a few favors to ask. First of all, if you haven’t done so already, please visit the book’s Facebook fan page and “like” it:

Next, I created a resources page with links to the various sources I mention throughout the book. It will give you a sense of how eclectic the book is. If you have a spare few minutes, please visit the page and give me some feedback. I’m looking for suggestions for copy edits and sources. Your input will be greatly appreciated:

Finally, I created an Amazon store with all the references from the book. Give it a look, I think you will find that it is a pretty cool mix of authors and ideas:

Amazon aStore

What does it really mean to be media literate?

My media literacy instincts are so engrained I rarely think about them. Sometimes, though, they become visible, like the time I was at the Bonnaroo music festival in Tennessee. I was there working on a documentary about the festival’s recycling and green efforts (which are extraordinary) and had free run of the place. One evening I was munching away in the food court when a college-aged fellow sat down across from me. In the background I could hear Tom Petty perform a live version of his greatest hits CD (the difference between the two was nominal). The young man, who was from a Southern state (Alabama or Georgia–my memory fails me), started a friendly conversation. At some point–I don’t know why–I launched into a diatribe about the culture industry, noting the various sponsorships, marketing opportunities and corporate presences throughout the festival and in the music world in general. I talked about how his demographic is targeted and that the illusion of choice hid the fact that media corporations had consolidated power and were engaging in ethnographic research to get into his mind.

What seemed so perfectly obvious to me–the big corporate take over of the cultural commons–came as a total shock to this poor dude. He wondered out loud if I was some kind of wizard–he didn’t use this term, but I think that’s what he meant. No, I said, it’s quite simple. It’s media literacy. Then I realized how dangerous to the status quo media literacy is, and that without these basic skills corporations will run amuck.

I don’t want to presume that this particular kid didn’t have agency or free thought. In fact, he seemed quite interested in what I had to say, albeit his shock was palatable. I offered him my card and said that if he ever wanted more information about the things I had ranted about, he could contact me. He thanked me and we parted ways.

I never did hear from him again. However, that short experience had a big impact on me. How many of these kids are out there? That is, kids who are curious but not to the point of seeking information outside what is available to them in their immediate environment. Or what it is that enables me to see the pervasive system of manipulation, whereas he doesn’t. I’m not saying this to be superior, but I’m trying to understand the skills that enable some people to see beyond the veil of hegemony. Is it just media literacy, or is there more to it?

Naturally, as a media literacy educator I spend lots of time thinking about what it is that makes students media literate. But it occurred to me that I rarely turn the table on myself. What is it that makes me a media literate person? What tools and thought processes do I use on a daily basis that enable me to “read” media critically? Rather than postulate about students in abstract terms, perhaps by examining my own practices it will help me design a better educational environment. So what does media literacy look like when practiced by a “pro”?

Continue reading

Some personal curation links

Between travel and writing deadlines I’ve fallen off the blogging map for a few weeks. As I get caught up, I do want to alert you to a few topics that I have begun curating with If you don’t already know it, by all means check it out.

Here’s what I’m curating:

Greening the Media Ecosystem: Ideas and examples for how to green the media ecosystem.

Occupy the Media: How the Occupy movement changes media.

And on Facebook I set up a page for my forthcoming book where I’ll be posting additional links and videos: Please “like” and join.

I’ll be back…