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Media Literacy

Media Literacy

Eighth Edition

The essential guide to decoding messages in a media-saturated world

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March 2016 | 576 pages | SAGE Publications, Inc

In this media-saturated world, we must learn how to navigate through the overwhelming flood of information so we can avoid the risks and maximize its potential to help us. Media Literacy, Eighth Edition shows readers how. Drawing from thousands of media literature studies, bestselling author W. James Potter explores the key components to understanding the fascinating world of mass media. In this updated, revised, and reorganized new edition, Potter presents numerous examples and facts for readers to understand how the media operate, how they attract attention, and how they influence us on a day-to-day basis.

Part I: Introduction
Chapter 1: Why Increase Media Literacy?
The Information Problem  
Dealing with the Information Problem  
The Big Question  
Chapter 2: Media Literacy Approaches
What is Media Literacy?  
The Three Building Blocks of Media Literacy  
The Definition of Media Literacy  
The Development of Media Literacy  
Advantages of Developing a Higher Degree of Media Literacy  
Part II: Audiences
Chapter 3: Audience: Individual Perspective
Functioning within the Flood of Information  
Information Processing Tasks  
Analyzing the Idea of Exposure to Media Messages  
The Media Literacy Approach  
Chapter 4: Audience: Industry Perspective
Shift from Mass to Niche Perspective on Audience  
Identifying Niches  
Attracting Audiences  
Conditioning Audiences  
Chapter 5: Children as a Special Audience
Why Treat Children as a Special Audience?  
Special Treatment from Regulators  
Special Treatment from Parents  
Re-Examining the Case for Special Treatment  
Young Adults as a Special Audience  
Part III: Industries
Chapter 6: Development of the Mass Media Industries
Patterns of Development  
Comparisons Across Mass Media  
Current Picture  
Chapter 7: Economic Perspective
The Media Game of Economics  
Characteristics of the Game  
Media Industries’ Strategies  
Consumers’ Strategies  
Part IV: Content
Chapter 8: Media Content and Reality
Role of Reality in Media Content Formulas  
Reality Programming as a Genre  
The Importance of Media Literacy  
Chapter 9: News
Dynamic Nature of News  
Different Perspectives on News  
Who Qualifies as a Journalist?  
How Can We Make Judgments about Quality of News?  
How Can We Become More Media Literate with News?  
Chapter 10: Entertainment
Story Formulas  
Becoming Media Literate With Entertainment Messages  
Chapter 11: Advertising
Advertising Is Pervasive  
Process of Constructing Advertising Messages  
Becoming More Media Literate with Advertising  
Chapter 12: Interactive Media
Competitive Experiences  
Cooperative Experiences  
Media Literacy on Interactive Platforms  
Part V: Effects
Chapter 13: Broadening Our Perspective on Media Effects
Timing of Effects  
Valence of Effects  
Intentionality of Effects  
Type of Effects  
Chapter 14: How Does the Effects Process Work?
Media Effects Are Constantly Occurring  
Factors Influencing Media Effects  
Thinking about Blame  
Becoming More Media Literate  
Part VI: The Springboard
Chapter 15: Helping Yourself and Others to Increase Media Literacy
Helping Yourself  
Helping Others  
Part VII: Confronting the Issues
Issue 1: Ownership of Media
Delineating the Issue  
Evidence of Concentration  
Evidence for Harm  
Your Own Informed Opinion  
Issue 2: Piracy
Delineating the Issue  
Evidence of Piracy  
Addressing the Problem  
Your Own Informed Opinion  
Issue 3: Sports
Delineating the Issue  
The Money Cycle  
Your Own Informed Opinion  
Issue 4: Media Violence
Delineating the Issue  
Public’s Faulty Perceptions  
Producers’ Faulty Beliefs  
Media Violence and Media Literacy  
Issue 5: Advertising
Delineating the Issue  
Faulty Criticisms  
Criticisms Based on Personal Values  
Criticisms about Responsibility  
Issue 6: Privacy
Delineating the Issue  
Criminal Threats to Your Privacy  
Non-Criminal Threats to Your Privacy  
Public Opinion and Regulations  
Your Informed Opinion  


Instructor Resource Site

Password-protected Instructor Resource Site includes the following:

  • Test banks provide a diverse range of pre-written options as well as the opportunity to edit any question and/or insert your own personalized questions to effectively assess students’ progress and understanding
  • Lecture notes summarize key concepts on a chapter-by-chapter basis to help with preparation for lectures and class discussions.
  • Chapter-specific PowerPoint® slides offer assistance with lecture and review preparation by highlighting essential content, features, and artwork from the book.
  • Tables and figures are available in an easily-downloadable format for use in papers, hand-outs, and presentations
  • Sample course syllabi for semester and quarter courses provide suggested models for structuring your courses
  • Discussion questions that help launch classroom interaction by prompting students to engage with the material and by reinforcing important content
  • Chapter activities for individual or group projects provide lively and stimulating ideas for use in and out of class reinforce active learning. 

Student Study Site
The open-access Student Study Site includes the following:
  • Mobile-friendly practice quizzes allow for independent assessment by students of their mastery of course material
  • Mobile-friendly eFlashcards strengthen understanding of key terms and concepts
  • Carefully selected chapter-by-chapter video and multimedia content which enhance classroom-based explorations of key topics

W. James Potter's Media Literacy text is a hallmark text for anyone wanting to study media literacy. Since 2016, the need for Media Literacy has increased exponentially. Potter readily takes on the mantle of media literacy education. This book is a must have for anyone who is teaching a class with a media literacy component.

Dr Scott Owen Chappuis
Communication Dept, College Of Wooster
April 4, 2018

essential reading for our btec level three learners to develop the skills that they have learnt in the classroom further.

Mr brendon pettit
creative studies, Great Yarmouth College
July 28, 2016

very didactic approach
covers many aspects of my course
adds relevant information to my lectures
helps students to do their own research + presentations
I ordered a couple of copies for the College's library

Professor Patrick Cattrysse
Communication Studies, Emerson College - Europe
June 7, 2016

It was a great textbook but as an interdisciplinary course with a strong focus on race and ethnicity, this textbook did not completely meet the needs of my curriculum.

Dr Anna Hackman
Humanities Social Sciences Div, Seattle Central Cmty College
November 5, 2015

Sample Materials & Chapters

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ISBN: 9781483379326