The ‘Mickey Mouse’ that roared: media studies takes on its critics

Media studies has long been cast as the classic “Mickey Mouse” subject. Now, at a time of widespread cuts in the academy, scholars in the field have launched A Manifesto for Media Education, a web-based project designed to fight their corner.

“We hope to achieve greater clarity about our subject,” explained Jon Wardle, director of the Centre for Excellence in Media Practice at Bournemouth University.

“Should media education be about serving the jobs market, reflecting society back to itself or holding power to account? And since the media are now central to our lives, should they be studied in a separate discipline or right across the university syllabus?”

To get the ball rolling, Mr Wardle has co-authored an initial statement noting that the project comes at a time when media education appears to be flourishing.

“Applications to media courses in the UK have never been higher,” it says. “In Southeast Asia, media education is now a legislated aspect of schooling in a number of countries, and in the US various foundations are making millions of pounds available for academics to investigate the nation’s media literacy.”

Read full story, or read the Manifesto.

By admin

Dr Bex Lewis is passionate about helping people engage with the digital world in a positive way, where she has more than 20 years’ experience. She is Senior Lecturer in Digital Marketing at Manchester Metropolitan University and Visiting Research Fellow at St John’s College, Durham University, with a particular interest in digital culture, persuasion and attitudinal change, especially how this affects the third sector, including faith organisations, and, after her breast cancer diagnosis in 2017, has started to research social media and cancer. Trained as a mass communications historian, she has written the original history of the poster Keep Calm and Carry On: The Truth Behind the Poster (Imperial War Museum, 2017), drawing upon her PhD research. She is Director of social media consultancy Digital Fingerprint, and author of Raising Children in a Digital Age: Enjoying the Best, Avoiding the Worst  (Lion Hudson, 2014; second edition in process) as well as a number of book chapters, and regularly judges digital awards. She has a strong media presence, with her expertise featured in a wide range of publications and programmes, including national, international and specialist TV, radio and press, and can be found all over social media, typically as @drbexl.

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