“With the revolutionary development of ICTs, transition to knowledge societies, and the new learning mode of the Net Generation, it is proposed that the concept of media literacy should be extended to media and information literacy (MIL). “

Alice Y.L. LEE

Professor, Department of Journalism, Hong Kong Baptist University

Digitalization, globalization, and individualization have introduced sea change to people’s work and lives in the 21st century. In the academic world, these changes also post significant conceptual challenges to the fields of mass communication and media education. In February this year, a group of media and communication scholars gathered in Brussels to attend a conference on “Revitalizing Concepts in Mass Communications.”

Brussels conference 1

These scholars came from different parts of the world, but their concern was the same – how to update the traditional concepts and make them relevant in the new age. They discussed priming and framing, called for rethinking about media policy, proposed new journalistic concepts and suggested a new paradigm for media education. The conference chair, Professor Tim Vos, pointed out that traditional terms such as audience, journalist, and even mass communication have no longer capture the media reality nowadays.

In the conference, I am particularly interested in discussing with the participants about renewing the literacy concept in the knowledge society. With the revolutionary development of ICTs, transition to knowledge societies, and the new learning mode of the Net Generation, it is proposed that the concept of media literacy should be extended to media and information literacy (MIL). MIL is a compound concept integrating media literacy, information literacy and ICT skills. A media-and-information-literate person is expected to be able to master messages coming from all information sources.

Regarding the conceptual change, Professor Vos put forward several types of (re)conceptualization such as concept transformation and concept creation in his concluding remarks. Conference participants agreed that for those concepts which are still fine, we need to find new empirical referents while for those concepts which are outdated, we have to abandon them or develop new ones to capture the new social phenomena.

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The media landscape in our world has already had a new face. It would be nice for members in the academic community regularly match the existing concepts with the empirical world to see whether those concepts require modification or appropriation.

 

 

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