An official website of the United States government

Our commitment to media literacy
December 10, 2018

By Sharon Salazar Lozano

In my day-to-day work, I constantly send press releases about the artists with whom we work to be published in some form of media. That process made me realize that the lack of media literacy has also affected the press.

In some ways, I understand. The press usually get thousands and thousands of press releases every week and often can’t take the time to read them all in detail. Oftentimes, they end up publishing what is most striking for the reader, even if it is not so faithful to the truth.

It has happened to me many times. I send information that includes all of the possible details only to see the news was published with another tone. Another common occurrence is when they interview one of my artists and they latch onto something the artist said with the intention of generating controversy. Unfortunately, the reader usually reads what is bold and highlighted, without putting the situation in context. Many times as the reader, I have also sinned with this  approach.

I think that the same thing happens with words as it does with music. People no longer listen to a whole song, much less an album, and they do not read a book or a whole novel. Everything has to be condensed, and many things get suppressed along the way. It’s interesting because we have to adapt as we go through time. With technology, our level of tolerance is getting less and less and our processing time is getting faster and more superficial.

That’s why my advice to avoid being affected by the lack of media literacy is to read completely and contextualize the situation. For those who write, we must take into account who we are writing for, and if we have to condense the news even more, do it without missing the truth. Remember that with our words, we can affect the reputation of someone. Even worse, we can contribute to a society where reading is increasingly simplified and does not meet the main objective. We must encourage analysis, especially in a generation in which it is customary for the analysis to be done by using a computer.

Sharon Salazar Lozano is the CEO and founder of Zumo Colaboratorio Cultural in Peru, which is a cultural marketing agency that focuses on music. She is a YLAI Network member and a 2018 YLAI Professional Fellow. She also received a fellowship from The Rhythm Foundation in Miami, Florida.