Member Spotlight: Patrick R. Johnson

Patrick R. Johnson is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Iowa School of Journalism & Mass Communication

What do you do?

In my current role, I am a student again with some teaching responsibilities. However, the bulk of my time is dedicated to research in news and media literacy, as well as media ethics and trust in journalism. Prior to returning to being a full-time student, I was a high school media teacher.

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

I’m currently a part of a project that is funded by NAMLE: Mapping Impactful Media Literacy. This project looks at how we can center equity in media literacy practice. The work we’ve produced so far emerged from a large-scale, national research project: scoping review of literature, in-depth semi-structured interviews with media literacy practitioners, and a nation-wide survey of educators about their media literacy practices.

What you can see from the project at this moment is a beautiful field guide that puts research into action, a report of our findings, and a research article in JMLE about equitable media literacy. Moving forward, the team is working to put our work into action even more, as well as producing research outputs to engage the academic community in this conversation.

This project is honestly one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve ever been a part of. It makes my leaving the classroom absolutely worth it because I have the ability to impact classrooms in a different way now.

I’m also very fortunate to be working in a consulting role with Take Two Film Academy to build data-driven practices into their already incredible curriculum and education experiences.

Why is media literacy important to you?

In the world we live in and the concerns we have about democracy (worldwide and in America), I believe media literacy is our way out of the darkness. And I firmly stand by that it cannot just be basic media literacy any longer. We need to be more conscientious of equity and the implications of diversity, justice, and belonging. Our future cannot be inclusive if we cannot find ways in which to imagine it to be better than it currently is. I see equitable media literacy as our opportunity to engage across curricula and cultures to improve our daily life.

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

I’m most excited about its potential. There is so much we can be doing, but I think we are in for a battle to do it. There are so many divisive and derogatory politicians who certainly are looking to dismiss anything media literacy stands for, especially if we are trying to make a more equitable world. But if we champion media literacy in our classrooms and communities, then I think we are able to build toward a better world and better place.

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

NAMLE is the heart of media literacy—simple as that. And in my current work, NAMLE is directly supporting me and it.

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.