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NAMLE Featuring Amanda Knox: A Conversation About Media Literacy

A significant sentence stood out to me during the conversation between NAMLE’s Michelle Cuilla Lipkin and Amanda Knox– “Journalists are story tellers. That comes with perspective and bias.”

This is an important statement because journalists can’t be absolutely objective–I know this because I learned it from Mediactive. The website states: “…itโ€™s impossible to achieveโ€”no human being is or can be truly objective.”

With this train of thought, media literacy becomes an important component to distinguishing fact from fiction and truth from lies.

Amanda Knox’s story intersects with the ideas of media literacy because her story has often been intertwined with various perspectives, various biases and has sometimes floated in limbo between fact and fiction–especially in Matt Damon’s new film Stillwater–as told in this Vox article.

Amanda’s story has been “distorted and exploited”–these were words used by Amanda Knox herself during the zoom conversation.

This statements hold true when I look at specific headlines involving Amanda Knox dating back a decade ago to even now. Although Rudy Guede has been convicted for the murder of Meredith Kerch, Amanda’s name and essence is still being used in headlines, stories, films, and television episodes.

The media certainly owns her story and has molded–perhaps even created–the idea of who she is as a person; especially with names like “Ice Queen” and “Foxy Noxy”. These names used in headlines are clickbait at best, but nevertheless dehumanizing and even an assassination of character.

One vital component of media literacy that Amanda had asked for people to practice is skepticism; be skeptic of what information you read. While we can’t necessarily control what the media does, the public can surely practice skepticism to decrease the amount of shares amongst misleading or false information.

The conversation proved to be a learning experience–having the perspective of someone who has been the center of news articles, film and television plots was eye opening. Often times, we become null to the fact that narratives can hurt those who are at the center of them. Amanda Knox and Michelle Cuilla Lupkin offered some useful thoughts on ways to increase media literacy when creating and consuming media. For instance, being media literate as a creator means being truthful and fair and holding yourself accountable to the ethics of journalism. Part of Amanda Knox’s point of view stems from her mistreatment by news publications and tabloids through misinformation and misleading information. Journalists and creators of media–both old and new–should essentially be held accountable to practicing these elements of media literacy.

Overall, I found her perspective to be reasonable and one I could empathize with. Everyone should be able to have control over their identity and story–after all, that is why we own our very own website domains, to have control over our stories. To feel helpless amongst the flood of headlines and articles assassinating your character and misrepresenting your story, is heartbreaking.

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