On Their Bookshelves (and Screens)


Making the Case for Media Education

Denise Gaberman recently spoke with YMR about the growing number of educators who, like herself, first learned about youth media by studying it at a university. Several books inform Gaberman’s academic research, including Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Education by Kathleen Tyner, who teaches media education at the University of Texas, and Teaching Youth Media: A Critical Guide to Literacy, Video Production, & Social Change by Steve Goodman, founder and director of the Educational Video Center. Both “illustrate the importance of a multi-literate society and the need to have a strong media education movement in this country,” Gaberman explained.

Bringing Youth Media into Schools

Now working to bring media education into public schools, Gaberman often refers to the Center for Digital Storytelling website for resources to develop short media projects in classrooms. Gaberman finds it especially useful for teaching media to students and teachers who are “strapped for resources and time, have limited media making expertise, and don’t have the professional video or digital equipment at their fingertips,” she wrote in an email. “In my experience the students and teachers are then able to focus on the art of storytelling, literacy, and the process of creating meaningful multi-media projects without as many technical restrictions.”

Strengthening the Youth Beat

Last month Donna Myrow of L.A. Youth wrote in YMR about the need for the mainstream press to integrate youth media into their usual fare. For help making her case, Myrow keeps Mike Male’s Framing Youth: 10 Myths About the Next Generation “highly accessible” on her bookshelf. “I think anyone working in youth media should have it as part of their library,” she says. It “challenges the media to look beyond what the policy wonks are offering,” when covering the youth issues, “and to ask where these statistics and trends are coming from, and why is the discussion almost always focused on teen violence when teens actually commit fewer crimes than adults.” As the book was written in 1999, some of Male’s statistics are dated, says Myrow, but his points are still relevant.

Defending Free Expression

But just as the media too often scapegoats teens for society’s ills, Mark Goodman of the Student Press Law Center warns against scapegoating the media itself. That’s why Goodman, who recently spoke with YMR about the advent of multimedia projects in schools, admires It’s Not the Media: The Truth About Pop Culture’s Influence on Children by Karen Sternheimer. “Like most great books, it defies conventional wisdom,” explained Goodman. “It presents a compelling explanation of why media bashing is both unjustified and dangerous.” Successfully defending free expression for youth journalists and all Americans, contends Goodman, depends on more people making this kind of argument.

Resources recommended by experts featured in Youth Media Reporter.