Member Spotlight: Nathaniel Frederick II

Nathaniel Frederick II is an Associate Professor of Mass Communication and Director of African American Studies Program at Winthrop University.

What do you do?

In the Department of Mass Communication at Winthrop University, my teaching focuses on introductory media courses; media law; media entrepreneurship; and representations of minorities in media. As director of the African American Studies Program, I teach and facilitate campus-wide programming related to the Black experience in the United States and in the African Diaspora.

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

Before the pandemic, Winthrop University collaborated with a number of constituents to organize a media literacy series titled, “News Literacy and the Future of Journalism.” The series included eleven events over eight months that sought to deepen the public’s knowledge and appreciation of the vital connections among democracy, the humanities, journalism, and an informed citizenry. Topics included fake news; editorial cartoons; opinion writing; investigative journalism; crowdsourcing; and the future of journalism.

I am also a member of the American Journalism Historians Association (AJHA). The priorities for 2021 include encouraging AJHA members to join and collaborate with NAMLE. I participated on a media literacy panel with NAMLE Executive Director Michelle Ciulla Lipkin at the AJHA virtual conference in 2020. In addition, I recently penned an essay in the AJHA newsletter which outlined similarities between the goals of media history and media literacy.

Why is media literacy important to you?

Media literacy fosters critical thinking and empowers individuals to become media citizens instead of media consumers. Media citizens can advocate for change by becoming content creators to counter issues like the lack of diversity and representation.

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

I am excited that there has been increased interest in media and information literacy.

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

I became a member of NAMLE after attending the 2013 conference. I was excited to learn about this community of educators, academics, activists, and students with a passion for understanding media messages. NAMLE supports my work providing much needed resources which advances my teaching and scholarship. It also provides networking opportunities and a platform collaborate with like-minded individuals.

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.