Member Spotlight: Kayla Meyers

Kayla Meyers is a Programming Specialist for SXSW EDU & Event Coordinator for NAMLE

What do you do?

At SXSW EDU, I collaborate with the rest of the programming team to support all conference and festival sessions and speakers for our yearly event in March. Right now, I’m reviewing hundreds of thoughtful proposals we received this summer – selections for 2023 are going to be tough! I joined the NAMLE team this past summer to support the programming and production of NAMLE’s 2022 Conference, and have been excited to continue the work for U.S. Media Literacy Week this October. We’re in the early stages of organizing session details, but it’s exciting already to see how many organizations are jumping in to collaborate.

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

It’s a little meta, but media literacy plays a big role when I’m coordinating programming for any conference or event, especially NAMLE’s Conference and U.S. Media Literacy Week. I research organizations and current events, evaluate proposals based on importance to the community, synthesize content through tagging and session descriptions, and also think through scheduling based on each session’s intended audience. In the more traditional sense, I also just had my own media studies piece published as a chapter in the anthology Screening the Crisis: US Cinema and Social Change in the Wake of the 2008 Crash this past month. This has been in the works for the last two years, and it’s exciting to see it finally out in the world!

Why is media literacy important to you?

Media literacy is important to me because it’s empowering. I remember when I was a student myself being exposed to rudimentary media analysis and thinking, “Oh, I can think like this?” It felt like I had unlocked a new level of agency in navigating the world around me. When I became a writing and research teacher, I saw the same pattern emerge in my students when they were given the tools to analyze information critically and communicate their thinking. They felt validated as thinkers and it was like giving them permission to be critical and curious. I think this kind of empowerment is even more important now, simply because of the saturation of information and media that young people are exposed to every day. It’s more than just high order thinking – it’s essential to just stay above water.

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

Obviously, I’m really looking forward to U.S. Media Literacy Week! But more broadly, I think like a lot of others in the community, I’m excited to see so much new attention and focus on media literacy education and its importance in fighting misinformation and disinformation. I can’t wait to see how we can channel this momentum to showcase the value of other applications for media literacy too!

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

Initially, I became a member when I was still working as a teacher because the resources were so helpful in supporting my students as they learned to think critically about the media and sources they encountered in and outside of class. Even though I’m no longer teaching, I want to stay up to date on the field, especially as I continue working at the intersection of media and education. Plus, I just love the opportunity to connect and nerd out with others about media literacy!

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.