Salima Bano is a business major from Pakistan. Currently studying at Pierce College, Salima was one of the 48 students took part in a media literacy workshop offered by Iris Anthony, program advisor for the Northwest Community College Initiative Program (NWCCI) at Whatcom Community College, at its first annual retreat. The workshop focused on not only on the importance of critically consuming information, but also how to apply critical thinking to students’ own professional development. Salima explains how what she learned from this workshop is applicable to her business classes.
I am a business student so I was really not concerned with the media. I didn’t know the real impact of media in our society. During my retreat activities, one of the interesting and informational workshops was on media literacy. Iris held a lecture and organized some small activities, one of which was to perceive and observe the printed ads.
The group activities were good to analyze the message behind the commercial. These activities helped us figure out the way a company delivers messages for a specific audience. For instance, there was an advertisement showing fries from McDonalds which gave us the message that the fries are healthy for Muslims who fast during the Holy Month of Ramadan.
The commercial depicted the fries in a way that looks like someone is praying with both hands, and the background scene was created for the month of Ramadan with the moon in the sky when according to their religious beliefs, Muslims fast and pray.
As a business student this commercial gave me an idea of how can you target specific customers or audiences. The media literacy workshop gave us a broader concept of different companies’ logos and identities. From my perspective as a business student, I realized how important logos and brands are for companies.
The media literacy workshop was an eye opener in many ways. It showed us how wrong our perception of ads and print media can be. We learned that if we don’t think critically about the media we are consuming, we are merely puppets of media companies and swallow everything they print without question. They often twist the reality to increase their viewership. After this brief eye opener, I now know what to look for when reading or watching the news.
The NWCCI program is part of the Community College Initiative, an exchange program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs.