Member Spotlight: Azsaneé Truss

Azsaneé Truss is a doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication. She is also the NAMLE Conference 2021 Assistant Research Chair.

What do you do?

I’m a first year Ph.D. student in the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. My research focuses on how critical media literacy practices can be used to combat mis/dis-information and interrupt hegemonic narratives perpetuated by the media we consume. As a multimodal scholar, I am especially interested in the ways that art and media-making can act as teachers of critical media literacy skills.

Tell us about your latest work or project in media literacy.

My latest media literacy-related project has been developing online modules for, a a free educational service of Connecticut Public. Using public media content about current events, we create debate modules which aim to provide students the opportunity to develop and discuss their own opinions about these topics. I also recently wrote a blog post for Thinkalong about the ways in which people demonstrate critical media literacy skill on TikTok.

Why is media literacy important to you?

Critical media literacy is important to me because it teaches us to question the relationship between media and power. It’s important not only to be able to determine whether or not a story is “fake news,” but to also consider whose perspectives are being represented (or not), what a source wants you to believe, and who benefits from you believing it. I think it’s a move away from a model of education that teaches us what to think about a given topic and toward one that focuses more on teaching us how to think about information we’re receiving.

What are you most excited about in the media literacy field?

I’m excited about the energy around media literacy in research right now. I’ve primarily been working on ways to study media literacy multi-modally, but also through the lens of cultural studies, and I’ve been working with a colleague to think through the applications of network theory to studying media literacy. People are thinking about it in so many different ways, it’s really cool.

Why did you become a NAMLE member, what benefits do you see to membership, and how will it support your work?

I became a NAMLE member in order to get a better understanding of all of the media literacy work being done in and out of academia. While staying up to date on the latest scholarship is important, I always want to make sure that the research I’m doing is connected to the work being done in classrooms and communities. I see NAMLE supporting my work by simply being a community of scholars and educators interested in developing media literacy skills.

The views and opinions expressed in the M-Passioned Member blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of NAMLE or its members. The purpose of the M-Passioned Member blog is to highlight our members and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.