Last year I graduated from Missouri State University with a BA in Mass Media and a minor in Political Science. I had a difficult time choosing between the two, until a friend put it to me in an extremely simple way: “There’s not really that much difference, is there?”
In the terms of my interests, he was dead on. There was always a desire deep in me to understand the art of a message, the rich flavor of each word with it’s connotations and associations, and that way that rhetoricians and media makers can create reality. I was always interested in mythology, and the way that orators and writers had seemingly engineered a culture from prehistory into the present day, from classical myths to modern propaganda. Modern media and education gives people who have not been privy to that engineering the opportunity to dissect and reconstitute those messages, creating a reality of their own. To me, politics and media are inseparable, as much as theory informs practice in everything we do.
To that end, I’ve always been interested advocacy and alternative media. In the summer of 2010, I interned as a PA for Harvey Hubbell and Captured Time Productions. We did social media outreach to promote Dislecksia: The Movie. The film addresses dyslexia as a learning difference, and the need for education reform. Before I left Missouri State, I produced a short internal video to promote Rare Breed, a youth services center for homeless and runaway teens. Last fall, I interned at Democracy Now!, doing social media outreach again and helping develop strategies to promote stories online. This semester, I’m co-teaching a class on Media Literacy at Youth Rights Media, a New Haven after-school program that teaches inner-city high schoolers how to use media to advocate against issues like youth incarceration, gun violence, and racial profiling.
Between all that and my work as a new media specialist at Missouri State, I’ve been involved in video production, communications strategy, and social media management. But I’ve always been most interested in understanding how to use those skills to challenge the messages we’d otherwise take for granted. It’s my hope that we can use the same tools as cultural elites, reinventing a better reality for ourselves and our communities.