Yonty Friesem


Yonty (Jonathan) Friesem is the assistant director at the Media Education Lab and the multimedia production faculty at the department of communication, Central Connecticut State University (CCSU). He received his PhD from the joint doctoral program in education at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College.

Yonty is an award winning filmmaker who advocates for media literacy education. For the last eighteen years, he worked with a number of youth media organizations, universities and colleges in Israel and the US. As part of his educational work, advocacy, and research, Yonty has presented at international conferences in Oxford, UK, Turku, Finland, and Guangzhou, China.

His research on Digital Empathy examines the psychological and sociological development of students and teachers. Using the power of media production, the team members learn to value collaboration, compassion, compromises and creativity. Practicing empathy during media production promote the cognitive, social, and emotional skills of students and teachers at the same time.

For his dissertation, Yonty explored the work on media production of eight elementary school teachers. Mapping the practice of media production of full time elementary teacher will help advocate for a deeper implementation of media literacy in the public schools. He is using cognitive and affective components of empathy as a psychological and sociological measure of youth interaction in an out of school program. For four years, he evaluated the First Star URI Academy program using quantitative and qualitative measurement to assess students’ academic performance. His paper was awarded top student paper in applied communication at the 100 National Association of Communication conference in Chicago (2014).

Yonty is teaching undergraduate and gradate students in Media Studies at the department of communication, CCSU. In the classes, the students work in groups to produce multimedia for community outreach. By developing digital and media literacy skills, the students learn to be active citizens of the 21st century. Students produce different TV genre at the CCSU TV studio to raise awareness for different social issues such as violence prevention. In the multimedia classes, students create digital campaign to raise awareness for different non-profit organizations and campus initiatives such as Bridging the Gap.

Yonty have been offering online classes for Universities and schools. He is a Quality Matters Peer Reviewer for graduate online classes at CCSU. After receiving a special grant from the Open University of Israel in 2008, he created online platforms for the University media classes. Furthermore, he uses webinars to expand his outreach to various communities around the world. Since 2014, he offered webinars on digital empathy for the Global class in Durham College, Canada and the video therapy program at the Supportive Filmmaking Program. He also coordinated and hosted the series on research design in media literacy for NAMLE as a member of the Leadership Council.

For more information, follow @yonty on twitter or go to