More Media Literacy Thoughts

On Monday, I talked about how the Shirley Sherrod story pointed up why "context"  is important in evaluating the media information we all are constantly exposed to.

Every day on non-news and "reality-style"
entertainment TV shows, I see all kinds of "creative" editing that
distorts the material and blurs our perception of the "context"of what the heck is going on.  Video and sound bites are moved around to promote the show, 
to tease a segment, to present a provocative or curiosity-provoking tidbit to get people to watch and to keep viewers watching through the

When the actual full
segment airs, you realize the person wasn't reacting to what the promo showed
at all, or didn't really mean what you thought they said just a few minutes

Next time you're shocked, amused, or outraged by a bit of
video or a sound bite, think about what the the real "context" might

  • What
    or who is the source of this clip?
  • What
    is their agenda?
  • What
    was said or done before or after this clip?

Staying aware that all editing takes something "out of
context" will help you exercise some healthy skepticism about what you
see and hear and probably keep you from jumping to conclusions.

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Janet Vasil

On-Camera, Speaker & Media Coach/Trainer at Vasil Media Group | Your Media Moment & Beyond
Communication Coach, Media Trainer & Founder Janet Vasil is a former award-winning, EMMY®-nominated TV Journalist who helps rising and future business leaders communicate with courage and charisma on-camera, and off. Contact at

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