April 15th, 2014

“Everyday Bronx” program uses photography for visual literacy, empowerment

Visual Literacy Program Brings African Culture, Photography and Empowerment to Bronx Teens (via PRWeb)

“Everyday Bronx” from Bronx Documentary Center, Everyday Africa and The LAMP teaches youth about how mass media can enforce stereotypes in Africa and their own communities – and empowers them to make local change. Students explore the power of imagery…


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April 10th, 2014

Commercial or a PSA? The latest hybrid video from Dove

Now in its tenth year, the Dove “Real Beauty” campaign has released a series of digital, print and video ads touting “a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety.” The ads feature women in a variety of shapes, ages and colors, which is refreshing – the women who show up in a Dove ad probably never thought they’d be models. The ads are in stark contrast to the slew of others selling a moving target of beauty and perfection. However, the problem is that the campaign is so slick, it’s easy to forget that what you’re looking at is, in fact, still an ad trying to sell something.

The latest installment in Dove’s series of hybrid commercial/PSA videos was released this week, but unlike some of Dove’s past efforts, it’s about as subtle as a lone neon sign. Take a look:

The result is that Dove now has video of women talking about how a Dove product made them feel gorgeous and changed their entire outlook. While the video makes a worthy (if tired) point that true beauty comes from the inside, that doesn’t change the fact that Unilever, Dove’s parent company, is still part of the problem in selling and exalting impossibly high standards of beauty through its other brands like Axe, Slim-Fast and Noxzema. The “Real Beauty” campaign isn’t about women being happy or feeling better. It’s about finding a market and cash flow in women who pride themselves on confidence and personal strength, and identify Dove as being empathetic to their concerns. Very sneaky, Dove.

–Emily Long

Follow The LAMP on Twitter: @thelampnyc
Follow me on Twitter: @emlong

April 9th, 2014

Fair use, the Media Breaker and media ownership – in pictures

Last Friday, Emily Long, The LAMP’s Director of Communications and Developments gave a keynote presentation at the Webvisions conference here in NYC. As you can see, one attendee, Gary Schroeder, got a little creative with his note-taking as he watched Emily speak:

sketchnotes_emily long

Artwork by @gary_schroeder

Many thanks to Gary for this, and be sure to follow him on Twitter!

April 7th, 2014

Call for proposals: Redesign of thelampnyc.org

Nonprofit media education The LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project) requests proposals for redesign of its website, thelampnyc.org

lamp_logoSummary: The LAMP seeks an overhaul of its current website to one that employs responsive design and solid information architecture to communicate The LAMP’s programs and purpose, increase online giving, supports The LAMP’s multiple social media channels, and which is optimized for mobile platforms and search engines. The website should also feature a clear architecture for information for user groups including donors, potential students, media literacy enthusiasts, LAMP staff, K-12 educators and parents – all groups who either want to learn more about The LAMP or who are already engaged with the organization.

Technical benchmarks:

  • - Improved load time for pages (currently ~4.7 seconds)
  • - Improved SEO and credibility ratings
  • - Increased engagement opportunities for site visitors
  • - Increased pageviews (currently 2,656/month) and unique visitors (currently 1,472/month)

 
Additional requirements:

  • - Copy of site source code
  • - Easy-to-use platform
  • - Options for site support following deployment
  • - Engaging, modern design
  • - Simple and clear navigation
  • - Style guide to use post-deployment to retain uniform look/feel of site

 
Proposals should be submitted no later than April 25, with decisions made by May 16. Questions and proposals can be sent to Emily Long, Director of Communications and Development for The LAMP, at emily@thelampnyc.org.

April 3rd, 2014

What the rest of the world thinks of American education woes

opt-out5

A mantra for many parents this month.

Earlier this week, The LAMP was invited to the U.S. Department of State to do a presentation for a delegation of international media literacy experts and practitioners. Members of the group came from Bosnia, Jordan, Australia, Vietnam and many other countries. The LAMP has been doing work like this with the State Department for quite some time, but this particular week was a bit different.

As I spoke with them about The LAMP’s work in schools, the conversation eventually moved towards the topic of equitable education. They were aghast at how it can be possible that here, in a place as wealthy as New York City, there can be schools still operating on dial-up connections to the Internet, and where hundreds of students may share just a handful of computers. Between myself and one of the State Department’s Program Officers, we were able to flesh out a more complete picture of the education system here in the United States: one which is highly decentralized, with disparate funding even within the same school district, and one in which the quality of a public school is fairly proportionate to the average income level of the immediate community.

For many of the delegates, it’s unthinkable that we don’t have a standard national curriculum, and that the Common Core standards initiative is being shot down by many as the attempt of a too-big, socialist government to curtail liberties. Critical thinking skills are part of basic education, they pointed out. Isn’t that a liberty we should celebrate? They asked about why there isn’t more funding for media literacy here in the U.S. I explained that at least part of it has to do with measurement. Again, incredulity – why get hung up on metrics? Media literacy education works. We need it. And while we squabble about metrics, our kids are getting a sub-par education.

This conversation has stuck with me for most of this week as education headlines have been abuzz both with the news that New York City schools will add 4,268 new pre-k seats beginning this fall, and with reporting on parents opting out their children from taking Common Core-based standardized tests. Mostly, the discussion served to put things in perspective. It’s easy to live in a bubble in New York City, and perceive that all the news that’s fit to print is taking place somewhere within our five boroughs. It’s easy to ignore how we must appear to people in other countries rife with their own problems, but filled with families that care no less about their children than we do about ours.

Of course, my shift in perspective did not come with a magic bullet to save American education. It’s not surprising that a small group of people failed to solve the myriad and complex problems around getting an education in one of the world’s richest countries, but I also didn’t expect to get such a kick in the butt about how badly our partisan-based politics and budgeting wars are failing our kids.  There are no right or wrong answers in any of the education debates, but it’s worth pulling back for a moment, taking a deep breath and looking at our system through the eyes of the rest of the world.

– Emily Long

Follow The LAMP on Twitter: @thelampnyc
Follow me on Twitter: @emlong

March 31st, 2014

Getting up close and personal with New Yorkers at Grand Central Terminal

A few weeks ago, interns Christin Gest and Becca Schneider wrote about a news literacy workshop we ran with students from the United Nations International School (UNIS). Since they typically spend their days focusing on issues far beyond the boundaries of New York City, we thought it would be interesting to take them local. And we mean really local – like, around the corner from our office, at Grand Central Terminal. They broke up into two teams and created their own news stories, one asking what people would change about New York City, and another asking about increased police presence in Grand Central following a bomb threat. We’re pleased to share both stories here:

How would you have answered if we interviewed you that day? Tell us in the comments below!

March 28th, 2014

The LAMP at RE/Mixed Media Festival 2014 (+ discount code!)

RMMF logoThe LAMP is super stoked that the Media Breaker is a partner in this year’s RE/Mixed Media Festival at The New School on April 26 and 27. The Media Breaker is of course a perfect fit for a two-day festival devoted to remix, which will feature hands-on workshops, performances, panel discussions and much more. This year’s artists and speakers include artist/composer/writer DJ Spooky, cartoonist R. Sikoryak, music video historian Stephen Pitalo, bestselling author David Shields and a whole bunch of other media and artistic visionaries that we’re excited to meet.

And we want you to be there too, hearing, watching, learning, making, debating and playing with remixed media. From now until April 1, registration is at 50% off, but use the code LAMP2014 and you’ll get another 25% off for a total savings of 75% from a full-price ticket! You can also click here to register to have the discount applied automatically.

Let us know you’re coming by posting to our Facebook wall, and we will see you in April!

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