Partner Spotlight: Center for Media Literacy

When did your organization launch and why?

The Center for Media Literacy was founded by Elizabeth Thoman in 1989. Elizabeth “Liz” Thoman was a pioneer in the media literacy field, who helped launch media literacy in the U.S. CML has advocated for media literacy through the years, producing implementation plans, designing curricula and resources, distributing educational materials, training teachers and librarians and university faculty, and evaluating curricula. CML has two evidence-based frameworks for media literacy, and has provided leadership in developing materials for educators that are accessible and grounded in research. Tessa Jolls joined the Center in 1999 and has maintained and expanded CML’s leadership, working internationally to bring media literacy to all peoples of all cultures, countries and languages. We work with policy makers, educators, librarians and media literacy researchers and practitioners who share our mission and values.

What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?

CML’s main goals are to provide leadership, guidance, and practical educational resources that are evaluated and evidence-based. We have provided training and implementation programs throughout the world. Our main initiatives right now are promoting our new online course, the Global OnRamp to Media Literacy; and to also implement our new online, facilitated Media Literacy Institute primarily for educators. The Institute will be held in August in cooperation with the University of Washington and the UW Center for Excellence in Media Literacy.

What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?

CML’s history is unique, indeed! Also, CML helped invent the idea of using evidence-based frameworks in media literacy education, starting with the introduction of our CML MediaLit Kit in 2002. We have focused on building credible tools for educators and citizens, so that media literacy is not just a new subject to teach, but a new way to teach all subjects, and to embed media literacy into culture, regardless of geographic locations.

We are an independent research and development organization totally devoted to media literacy.

What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?

CML’s website has our new Global Onramp to Media Literacy online course. Additionally, our Media Literacy Institute (Aug. 1-4) registration can be found here.

What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?

CML’s work is totally devoted to media literacy. Fortunately, we have no distractions!

But we have seen how media literacy applies to all subjects, anywhere, anytime. Media literacy is universal. Connections are the lifeblood of media literacy.

Why is media literacy important to your organization?

Our organization is devoted to media literacy, and only media literacy. CML sees how media literacy can change how we “see” the world — it is a lens through which to view the world in terms of how media represents life to us, and how we represent ourselves in life. All organizations and individuals can benefit from media literacy!

Anything else you want our readers to know about your organization, your mission, or your staff?

We welcome connecting and to discovering new ideas, approaches and methodologies. We welcome getting to know professionals whom we can work with and collaborate with to advance our essential cause — providing media literacy education universally.

The views and opinions expressed in the Organizational Spotlight 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 Organizational Spotlight blog is to highlight our Organizational Partners and give them a place to share their reflections, opinions, and ideas.