When did your organization launch and why?
The Message soft launched in 2014, officially launching in 2015.
What does your organization do? What are its main goals? Main projects?
The Message empowers teens to become empowered adults. We serve middle and high school students (grades 8-12) in the US and Canada with media literacy and social emotional learning skill building programs.
The goal of the organization is to inspire a generation of free thinkers who will change the course of humanity for the better.
The Message’s main initiative right now is Message Academy – a media literacy / media art program that gets embedded in schools as an elective or enrichment offering.
What makes your organization stand out? What would you say is the most unique thing about your organization?
Part of what makes The Message unique is the approach to media literacy education. The Message defines and practices media literacy as an art of curiosity that can lead to change.
The organization believes the most powerful punctuation is the question mark. Why? Because questions can lead to information, information can lead to knowledge, knowledge can lead to power, and power can affect change.
Another thing that makes The Message unique is a guiding principle that it’s not about “us” and what “we” want young people to learn or believe. The team meets them where they are, not where they want them to be.
The Message’s ABCs (authenticity, boldness, and curiosity) keep the team honest and guides interactions with learners, learning content, and the learning itself.
Lastly, the organization believes in being culturally relevant, so they won’t have to be culturally responsive.
What are recent projects or new resources that your organization would like to share with other NAMLE members?
The Message has been deep in research and development on a couple of exciting new offerings that will evolve the work, so nothing new to report at this very moment. BUT, soon!
What are the connections between the work of your organization and media literacy?
Media literacy is The Message’s work.
Why is media literacy important to your organization?
The world is powered by media. The messages, images, and experiences we engage in everyday shape beliefs, attitudes, and values.
Want to change public perspective on racial equity, climate change, or any particular global conflict? Change the messaging people consume about any given issue every day over a protracted period of time. As attitudes shift, beliefs, values, and behavioral change will follow.
Many of societal problems are perpetuated and exacerbated because we live in echo chambers. How powerful and disruptive would it be if we could interrupt social conditioning processes by inspiring and equipping the masses to ask questions and think critically?
That’s the power and potential of media literacy, and that’s why it’s important to The Message.
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.