Just fresh from a conversation with the amazing Amy Jussel, my head is spinning with ideas. The feeling reminds me of my graduate student days when I’d reel from the thrill rush of being around smart people who are good at exploring and rapidly juxtaposing ideas to examine the connections between them. Amy is the founder of Shaping Youth, one of the best blogs out there about the media and marketing’s influence on kids.
As I explain in my new book, Digital and Media Literacy: Connecting Culture and Classroom, Amy offers us a moral compass by celebrating media that honors children and respects families while simultaneously offering her powerful critique of all manner of problematic media content, marketing gamesmanship and those PR spin games that take advantage of children or exploit young people. She has written about the sexploitation of children to sell swimsuits, Rhianna’s revenge fantasy videos, and Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhood’s campaign against sponsored curriculum materials created by the American Coal Foundation.
Amy asked me to give a blow-by-blow commentary on the highlights of the NAMLE conference, and of course, I enjoyed re-reading the program again to talk about the many amazing topics and programs that were featured at the conference. One of the best features of the conference is the confluence of classroom teachers, educational practitioners, scholars, media professionals and young people – the conference features people who are implementing and putting ideas into action, not just pontificating. Because she embodies this ideal as an activist herself, I’m going to try to make sure that Amy Jussel comes to the 2013 National Media Literacy Education Conference in Los Angeles to share her special brand of advocacy and independent voice on behalf of children and young people.
Talking with her on the phone, I can’t help but think about how inspiring she would be on the college circuit, offering her insight on marketing and kids and media and technology to undergraduates in a Jean-Kilbourne-like program. But she says she’s a writer/producer more than a performer. When you read the blog, it’s evident that she’s a natural researcher, too. Amy doesn’t do ANYTHING in a one-over lightly fashion, which is why she has such a vast audience and influence as a blogger. Her posts are rich with information and ideas and connections and her clever writing, compelling prose and amazing hyperlinks all make for great online reading!