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Media illiterate and ag illiterate – are they related?

March 30, 2011

Currently I’m taking a class called Journalism and Mass Communication 101 – Media & Culture: An Introduction to Mass Communication. This class covers all of the basics of media, including becoming media literate, and having a critical eye. We’ve discussed triangulating our data, checking news stories with at least three other sources in order to form a complete view. As well as agenda-setting, where the media sets the agenda, for what the rest of society thinks about.

Every time I sit through class I can’t help but relate what I am learning about, back to the agriculture industry, and the view that consumers have of us. It makes me wonder, if more consumers would take the time to become a critic of the media, would we be in the situation we are in? Would the agriculture industry have compared us to the failing automobile industry? Would agriculture always have to be on the defensive?

I believe things would be much different. Another professor, Dr. Steve Sapp has discussed with us in a sociology class of mine that consumers are critics of the media, trusting their stories less than farmers. I certainly agree that consumers are aware that the media may not always be the most unbiased source of information, but I also believe that media can blow agriculture issues out of proportion.

The media is certainly an integral part of our society, but maybe we should educate those who are relaying the stories; so the next time an animal activist video, or HSUS rally is the main news story on the 10:00 newscast, agriculture isn’t always portrayed as the bad guy.

Just something to think about. . .

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