Yonty Friesem

Diversity 2018 pic

Yonty (Jonathan) Friesem is the Associate Director of the Media Education Lab and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication at Columbia College Chicago. Since 2014, he serves as a member of NAMLE Leadership Council and help promote various initiatives to advance media literacy. 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, media educator, and scholar who advocates for media literacy education. For the last twenty 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 his work in local, national, and international conferences. As the guest editor for the Journal of Media Literacy Education (JMLE), he opened a discussion on teaching media literacy to students with disabilities. He revived the Northeast Media Literacy Conference in 2017 and was the Chair of the Midwest chapter for Media Literacy Week. He moderates by-monthly webinars on issues of media literacy.

His research on Digital Empathy examines the psychological and sociological development of students and teachers who produce media. Using the power of media production, the team members enhance their media literacy skills. In particular, empathic practices during media production promote the cognitive, social, and emotional skills of students and teachers at the same time.

Yonty is teaching civic media, media production, and media literacy to undergraduate and graduate students as well as providing professional development for media educators. In his classes, the students work in groups to produce multimedia for their communities. By developing digital and media literacy skills, students learn to be active citizens of the 21st century.

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