Questioning effects of media in the classroom

This letter is in response to the article “Students to rebuild broadcast scene” from the Oct. 24 issue of The Minnesota Daily.

The article mentioned several student groups that are working to bring much-needed media curricula to the University of Minnesota.

As a member of the Higher Education Consortium for Urban Affairs student group, I wanted to add another important piece to the puzzle.

Given our current levels of media saturation and the phenomenal pace of technology, many of us are starting to feel the effects of all-pervasive technologies in our lives. That’s not to say that media is bad — rather, I want to point toward the remarkable potential that media has to make positive change in the world.

Media outlets have moved us to tears in the wake of the Egyptian revolution. The Internet has sparked our desire to connect deeply. Television and film often inspire, engage and move us toward political action. The average American spends more than eight hours a day staring at a screen (computers, smartphones, tablets, TVs, etc.).

If this is where we are now directing our creative and emotional energies, then we must pay attention.

We must also begin to ask questions that address how the media is shaping our political, economic and personal landscapes.

Who controls the media? Whose stories are being told? By whom? How does the media limit us? How does it awaken possibilities?

At HECUA, we address these questions through off-campus study programs and internships that help us engage with the vital community that surrounds us. HECUA programs offer students the chance to get off campus, explore the Twin Cities and wrestle with these challenging and exciting times. Students also have the chance to gain hands-on media skills that they will bring back to campus and into the world in the pursuit of media justice.