Consumer Culture: The New Childhood Risk Factor

April 26, 2007

Wednesday, May 16, 2007
7:00PM – 9:00PM
Suffolk University Law School
1st Floor Function Room
120 Tremont Street
Boston, MA 02108

Juliet Schor presents

Consumer Culture:
The New Childhood Risk Factor

(From Community Change)

“Children are increasingly at risk from a pervasive and familiar source: the consumer culture. Under-resourced urban communities, particularly communities of color, are targeted by advertisers and are disproportionately affected. The influences are many: from McDonalds’ food, to violent video games, to a must-have sneaker label, alcohol and tobacco advertising, or materialist values. In this presentation Juliet Schor will report on her research inside the advertising agencies which market 24/7 to our children, as well as on the results of her study on how consumer involvement is affecting children in the city of Boston.”

Presenter: Professor Juliet Schor

Professor and Chair of the Sociology Department at Boston College, Juliet Schor is the author of the national best-seller,The Overworked American: the Unexpected decline in Leisure, a book widely credited for influencing the national debate on work and family. She appears frequently on national and international media, and profiles on her and her work have appeared in scores of magazines and newspapers, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek and People magazine. Schor’s latest book is Born to Buy:The Commercialized Child and the New Consumer Culture(Scribner, September 2004)

Respondant: Susan McDonald, Program Director of the Youth Voice Collaborative at the YWCA on Consumerism and Systemic Racism

Moderator: Donna Bivens, Co-Director, Women’s Theological Center

Please RSVP Paul Marcus at 617 523-0555

Media Literacy Series at CCTV

November 29, 2006

From the Cambridge Community Television November 29, 2006 E-Newsletter:

CCTV and SCAT Team Up to Produce Media Literacy Series

“CCTV and our colleagues at SCAT (Somerville Access) have teamed up to produce a new media literacy TV series called ‘Critical Focus.’ Details about the series can be found at the show’s weblog here.

The program will be shot live each month, before a studio audience at either CCTV or SCAT, and cablecast to both cities simultaneously through a newly activated interconnect. And we have limited seating in the studio for those who wish to participate, through their comments and questions, in the conversations among the featured panelists. The first episode is about Media and War, and will be shot live in the SCAT Studio at 90 Union Square in Somerville on Thursday, December 14th, from 8-9 p.m. CCTV has a total of 10 tickets to give out to CCTV members or friends who wish to be part of the studio audience. So if this is a topic in which you have specific interest or questions, please contact John Donovan directly at (617) 661-6900 x123 or

Tickets for the other episodes will be announced about a month in advance of each episode. The first episode shot in CCTV’s studio will be on Thursday, January 11th, from 8-9 p.m.; and the topic will be ‘Growing Up with Media: How youth and media influence each other.’ Subsequent episode themes include: ‘Race and Religion in the Media’, ‘Gender and Sexuality’, ‘How Media Ownership Affects Content’, and ‘Changing the Media.’ If you know of people who should be invited to participate in any of these episodes, please add your comments to the show weblog or contact John Donovan directly.”

Ideas for How to Use Blogging

November 1, 2006

Colin @ Media Matters

Here’s some ideas from our workshop on how the participants can use blogging in their work:

  • Use it in the classroom to make argument instead of a regular essay; and other students can comment on each other
  • new medium for posting timely articles for the student newspaper
  • getting feedback on essay for feedback before handing it in
  • questioning local new media article validity
  • more youth voice in the media
  • Live Journal community to post announcements and community events (it’s informal now)
  • call out to females at my school to find out why they’re always fighting

Folks seemed to have a lot of questions about how blogs get traffic. We talked about blogrolls/liniking, tagging, and searching. Check out to find out more about tagging and try Google’s Blog Search at

Channel One News?

October 22, 2006

Media Education Foundation writes:

“On, Tues. Oct. 17, the Knight Foundation granted Channel One a $2.25 million to teach teens about the personal freedoms guaranteed them by America’s First Amendment.

MEF (the Media Education Foundation), ACME (the Action Coalition for Media Education), and other media education organizations question whether Channel One is the appropriate organization to do this education. MEF is streaming a section of their film, “Captive Audience: Advertising Invades the Classroom” below to help educate about Channel One.”

Play Video

(You need Real Player to view this video. Click here to download Real Player.)

Call for Articles on Media Literacy

October 18, 2006

Academic Exchange Quarterly (peer-reviewed print journal)
Call for Articles—Fall 2007
Feature issue: Media Literacy

The increasing technological and commercially-mediated environments of young people invite teachers and scholars worldwide to study what it means to be literate in a millennial age. Given the convergence of scholarship in the domains of media literacy/education, cultural studies, media studies, educational media/technology and critical pedagogy, this issue of AEQ seeks to make theoretical and practical connections among commercial media, educational technology and new forms of literacy among young people.

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, produce and communicate a variety of media texts and forms. On a global scale, there exists many different perspectives on how to media educate youth, but not all agree on what extent youth audiences are active participants in the process. This issue of AEQ seeks both theoretical and practical insight into the learning process as it shapes (and in turn is shaped by) the communication technologies that permeate the lives of young people both inside and outside the classroom. We are interested in how media literacy is enacted pedagogically as well as technologically within various educational settings. How can teachers use media literacy to empower students? How can enacting media literacy shape the future of education and schooling? How can educators and leaders prepare students to engage in more democratic and ethical uses and designs of media and their associated technologies?

Who Should Submit:
We encourage submissions from teacher-scholars at all levels and across disciplines who have enacted media literacy principles into their classrooms or have studied the media literate uses of specific educational media and/or technologies. Please identify your submission with keyword: MEDIA

Submission deadline:
any time until the end of May 2007; see details for other deadline options like early, regular, and short.

Submission Procedure:    or

Consuming Kids: Marketing in Schools and Beyond

September 16, 2006

From CCFC:

CCFC’s 5th Annual Summit

Consuming Kids:

Marketing in Schools and Beyond

Wheelock College, Boston

October 26-28, 2006



$175 General Admission

$75 students (w/ valid ID)

Registration includes Thursday night reception and Friday/Saturday continental breakfast and lunch

Complete Schedule and List of Presentations and Workshops

3 ways to register

  1. Click here to register online

  2. To register by phone: Please call Lauren Wholley at (617)278-4280

  3. Click here to register by mail/fax.

Click here for information on summit accommodations.

CCFC’s 2006 Consuming Kids summit promises to be our best ever. Since 2001 we have been bringing together distinguished scholars, activists, parents, and educators to talk about how marketing undermines children’s health and well-being and what we can do about it. This year’s summit features a special focus on marketing in schools.


The summit kicks off at the Judge Baker Children’s Center on Thursday, October 26 at 7:00 PM with an opening reception and a special presentation of the 2nd annual Fred Rogers Integrity Award to Raffi Cavoukian, the beloved children’s troubadour. The award, named in honor of the host of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, is given by CCFC to the public figure whose efforts to protect children from harmful marketing best embody Mr. Rogers’ long-standing commitment to nurturing the health and well-being of America’s children.


In over three decades of entertaining children, Raffi has steadfastly refused all commercial endorsement offers, and his company has never directly advertised or marketed to children. He is a passionate advocate for a child’s right to live free of commercial exploitation.


Friday and Saturday will feature presentations and workshops on topics ranging from Commercialism’s Impact on Learning to Marketing Sex, Violence, and Values and we also examine effective advocacy strategies for reclaiming childhood from corporate marketers.


Summit Schedule

  • Thursday, October 26, 7:00: Opening Reception with Raffi
  • Friday, October 27, 8:30 -5:00 PM: Panels and Workshops
  • Saturday, October 28, 8:30 -5:00 PM: Panels and Workshops

Click here for the complete schedule a list of panels and workshops

Click here for Presentations from the 2005 CCFC Summit

Still Time to Register for the ACME Summit 2006!

July 21, 2006

Facing the Media Crisis:
Media Education for Reform, Justice and Democracy

October 6-8, 2006
Burlington, Vermont

Detailed Summit Schedule/Download Promotional Materials/ Exhibitor’s Table Information/Register/Summit Registration Package/Invited Speakers/Co-Sponsors

ACMEBoston is co-sponsoring this year’s Action Coalition for Media Education Fall Summit. There is still time to register!

Here’s a list of some of the great plenary sessions that will be taking place at the summit:


Crashing The Gate: The Re-Localization Of Media: How are blogs going to impact local voices again being heard in local communities? How do online and handheld media sources radically re-connect individuals? “Crashing The Gate” author and national blogging presence Jerome Armstrong explores the communication transformations that are ongoing, how they are going to impact our media consumption, and what it means for our society.

See Jane: How Children’s Movies And TV Hide Gender Distortion In Plain Sight: In the most popular G-rated films and children’s television, male characters outnumber female characters by a lopsided margin, and narrow and bizarre gender stereotypes are widespread. The findings come from the most comprehensive content analysis ever conducted on G-rated films and children’s television, commissioned by the See Jane program of Dads & Daughters and conducted by UCS’s Annenberg School for Communication. Dads & Daughters President Joe Kelly describes the study results, how very young children watch these images repeatedly, and how advocates in and outside the industry can turn the tide.

Media Effects: What We Know, What We Need To Know, And What We Can Do About It: Douglas Gentile, developmental psychologist and director of the Media Research Lab at Iowa State University, teams with Michael Rich, pediatrician and Director of the Center on Media and Child Health at Harvard, to present the current state of knowledge on the effects of media, positive and negative, on the physical and mental health of children. Dr. Gentile will explain the science of media effects research, explore his and other scientists’ findings particularly in the area of media violence and aggression, then Dr. Rich will examine the body of research to date, investigating outcomes including anxiety and depression, substance use, attention problems, body image, and obesity, among others, and will share examples of health-positive uses of media. Together, they will explore the strength of the research, what more is needed, responses of the health community, and what can be done given our current state of knowledge.

U.S. Media: The Burgeoning Movement And Prospects For Reform: Reforming the US media requires the collaborative efforts of independent media makers, media critique and literacy activists, and policy advocates. Former NMMLP executive director and current ACME Vice President Bob McCannon and Free Press Executive Director Josh Silver will discuss the confluence of these strategies, the state of national media reform efforts, opportunities and threats presented by current policy debates and prospects for reform.

Does Hollywood Need A Mother?: Join nationally syndicated film critic Sara Voorhees and Susannah Stern, Assistant Professor in the Communication Studies Department at the University of San Diego, for a frank exploration of Hollywood’s culture of assault – sex, drugs, violence, vulgarity and other anti-social behaviors. Does Hollywood produce “art,” or are movies and television more often appealing to our basest instincts solely because the first amendment says they can? How might we introduce personal responsibility in their quest for the box office gold?

Confronting A Pornographic Culture: Fighting Mass-Mediated Racism And Sexism: Of the mass-media genres in the United States today, nowhere is the racism and sexism of the culture on display as bluntly as in contemporary mass-marketed pornography. Is it possible to shape a progressive critique of pornography without being lumped together with reactionary forces? Yes. In his presentation, University of Texas professor of journalism Robert Jensen will offer an analysis that gets us past the conservative/liberal gridlock on the issue.

What’s Reality? Fake News, Real News and Weapons Of Mass Perception: Americans are awash in a hidden sea of media propaganda, the sophisticated product of a multi-billion dollar PR industry that manages public information, perception, opinion and policy on behalf of business and political elites. Corporate and government propaganda is the nemesis of democracy. Come join the Center for Media and Democracy’s John Stauber to explore how we can engage in a process of dissecting, revealing and confronting this propaganda: one of the keys to practicing 21st century media education and to revitalizing democratic values.

Digital Destiny: Democratic Media At The Crossroads: The U.S. media system is in the midst of a profound transformation. We are at an important crossroads. If w make the right decisions and collectively act, we might have a communications environment that nurtures civic participation, social justice, economic opportunity and creative expression. But if we fail to fight for the soul of our electronic media, we will witness the most powerful communications system ever developed under the control of a very few super-monopolies. Their vision for our media future is a 24/7 digital “brandwashing” machine that personally targets us with programming and advertising wherever we are – via TV, on-line, and through mobile services. Come join the Center for Digital Democracy’s Jeff Chester and MAIN Internet citizen activist Wally Bowen for a conversation about these issues.


Hacktivism 101: Carrie McLaren of Stay Free! magazine presents unusual strategies for countering corporate media: satirical pranks, stunts, and viral messaging.

“Optimism of the Will:” Media Literacy, Education & Politics: Come join Media Education Foundation (MEF) Executive Director Sut Jhally, executive producer of “Hijacking Catastrophe” and dozens of other topical media education films on a wide variety of topics, for an exploration of the connections among media education, politics, and education, broadly conceived.

Victories In The Struggle Against Commercialism!: Here’s a story you won’t see in the mainstream media: we’re winning plenty of victories against the commercialization of every nook and cranny of our lives and culture. Join Commercial Alert Executive Director Gary Ruskin and the Center for a Commercial Free Childhood’s Josh Golin to find out what the victories are, what they mean, and why we’re winning.

Aether Madness: Join Prometheus Radio Project’s Hannah Sassaman and Pete Tridesh for an exploration of the awesome potential of the radio airwaves for social good, their sordid misuse in the hands of mendacious corporations, and what we all can do about it!


Sexualizing Childhood: How Big Media Represents Our Kids: Join renowned speaker and author Jean Kilbourne for a presentation and discussion about the ways in which Big Media sexualize our children, and what we might do about it.

TV For Everyone: How Community Cable Television Is Changing The 21st Century Media Landscape: Join Anthony Riddle of the Alliance for Community Media and local CCTV Executive Director Lauren-Glenn Davitian for an inspiring presentation about the importance of community cable television, and what you can do to get involved in the CCTV effort in your community.

Taking Critical News to Critical Mass: Strategies for Mainstreaming Muckraking: Independent journalist and veteran investigative reporter Kristina Borjesson discusses her ideas for creating a new paradigm for bringing real, relevant and hard-hitting news and information to a critical mass audience. For the last five years, Borjesson has been documenting the limitations of the current news paradigm in her books of conversations with and essays by dozens of this nation’s most distinguished journalists. Prior to publishing, Borjesson produced award-winning documentaries and news magazine pieces for network and cable television.

US Public Relations Propaganda and the New American Censorship: Come join Project Censored Executive Director Peter Phillips to discuss the increased use of public relations firms by the US government and private corporations to build news stories that corporate media outlets are uncritically accepting as real news. For action solutions, Phillips addresses the continuing importance of building the media democracy movement – especially the creation and expansion of independent news sources.

To learn more and register today, visit the ACME Summit 2006 on the web.

MNN’s Youth Channel at ACMBoston

July 7, 2006

Media literacy trainers, Derrick Dawkins, Verena Faden and Andrew Lynn from Manhattan Neighborhood Network’s Youth Channel presented this afternoon at ACMBoston. We hope they can make it to the ACME Fall Summit!

There are a number of free teaching resources for media literacy educators available for download at the website. Here’s some of the info:

“We hope that these Peer-Training Curricula are helpful to both new and old Peer Trainers as they try to share their skills, knowledge and passions to other young people. This curriculum is not to be viewed as a rigid schedule, timeline or set of activities that must be followed exactly. Please use, adapt, modify, change, discard things as you see fit. As no two kids are the same, no two groups of kids are the same, and so no one curriculum can fit all of their needs and interests. We have created this curriculum with beginners in mind but you will need to modify to fit your students age and experience, class size, equipment accessibility, space and time constraints. We recommend a ratio of no more than 1 Peer Trainer to 8 students.

Media Literacy Workshop Curriculum
This two-hour interactive Media Literacy Workshop offers participants a chance to think critically about the media we consume everyday. Through a series of large and small group discussions, interactive activities, video clips and photographs, participants will explore the following issues: media advertising; ownership and content; media consolidation; identity and representation; and the central role media plays in democratic societies. Participants will also learn about public-access television and the growing youth media field.
The included guide is intended to guide practitioners through facilitating a Media Literacy Workshop in 6 parts. It is not a rigid curriculum, rather a source of exercises, discussion points, and connections that can be expanded or adjusted to suit the needs of a given group. We hope that you will find some of the pieces compiled here an interesting approach to building on the basics of media literacy.
VIEW THE ONLINE MULTIMEDIA COMPANION (best if viewed in Internet Explorer)

PSA Curriculum
This 7-session sequence of lesson plans and curriculum culminates in the production and public screening of two Public Service Announcements. In planning, shooting and editing two PSAís, students will develop skills and habits for successful collaboration (Communication, negotiation, listening, compromise), media literacy (media as a tool for inquiry & expression) and video production (Camera, Sound & Editing). They will learn to develop a clear message or viewpoint to verbally and visually persuade an audience. Lastly, we hope that by making these Public Service Announcements students will become more socially aware and active in their communities.

Documentary Curriculum
This 10-session sequence of lesson plans and curriculum, students plan, shoot and edit a 5-10 minute Documentary. Students will develop skills and habits for successful collaboration (Communication, negotiation, listening, compromise), media literacy (media as a tool for inquiry & expression) and video production (Camera, Sound, Interviewing & Editing).”

Visit MNN’s Youth Channel on the web.

Project: Think Different on WHDH TV Boston

June 18, 2006

This morning at 11:30 am, Youth Urban Update on WHDH TV (Boston NBC affiliate) featured a segment with Project: Think Different's Project Manager, Melissa Krodman, and four of the artists featured on P:TD's "Empowerment: The Power to Break You Free" record: Iyeoka Ivie Okoawo, Banjineh Browne "Optimus" of the Foundation Movement, Kedaar Kumar of Heist, and Lyrical.


Melissa talked about how P:TD, as a non-profit media arts organization, is using music and video to "shape popular culture so that it's empowering" and to produce "socially conscious messages." She went on to say,

"A lot of our work is media literacy, engaging people in raising their awareness about how the media effects our perspectives of self and of our communities. As a solution to negative imagery and stereotypes that we see in our media, we're producing socially conscious and empowering messages. This album we put out, Empowerment, is all about that. We're harnessing the power of music to shape popular culture and raise the lowest common denominator so that we are all more engaging, civically active human beings."


Lyrical said that what attracted him to P:TD and his wanting to be on the album was "the opportunity to speak a different side of music that is not reflected as much in mainstream media". He said, "kids are being lulled to sleep to believe that what they see from other artists is reality" in commercial videos on mainstream channels. "It's easy to sell sex, violence, and materialism but it's a little harder to sell a positive message unless it's believed by the people around it that it can sell."

Melissa said that P:TD "is trying to popularize a new form of message."

"We're trying to really change what you're hearing on the mainstream. So, that one day you will turn on your commercial radio and you'll hear a song about the struggle in Palestine, or hear about the struggle happening in the streets, or what it's like being a teenager dealing with violence everyday. These are the kinds of messages we are trying to popularize.

We believe that popular culture, just because it's popular doesn't mean that it has to be substance free."


Iyeoka said the music on the CD, "It's still real stories, but it's our stories. It's our choices of what we decide to talk about. It happens that what we decide to talk about is positive and it doesn't degrade other races or other people."


When asked what issues he is dealing with in his music, Kedaar Kumar of "Heist" said, "We're trying to bring forth awareness about poverty and commercialism with our tune on the album." He said that Heist is trying to "make amends with what we're seeing, negativity in the community," and said "that's what we feel we need to do."


When asked why the artists think that sex and violence sells so much through commercial media, Banjineh said,

"Very few people control all the outlets in terms of where you are hearing that information," and "since they control those outlets most choices are not made available to folks. Often times if that is not something that is available to people they say 'uh, oh something positive, that's corny and they associate it with corny music.'"

Check out Project: Think Different.

Buy the Empowerment CD.

ACME’s Bob McCannon on Media Minutes

January 16, 2006

Media Minutes: January 13, 2006:
"The Commerce Committee of the United States Senate schedules an ambitious number of hearings on telecommunications policy issues over the next two months. And could media literacy help combat childhood obesity?" – Media Minutes

On the Media Matters' Podcast this week, Bob McChesney speaks to Ben Scott, policy director of Free Press, and Mark Cooper, research director of the Consumer Federation of America about the Internet, Network Neutrality, Media Ownership, and the fight over community broadband.