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International “Grandparents” of Media Literacy


As part of the International Media Literacy Research Symposium


This program will elucidate new research questions that help people interrogate the past, present, and future of media literacy education.


DATE: June 27, 2024

TIME: 1:30-4:30 pm

LOCATION: SALA DE REUNIÃO, Ponte Delgado Library, San Miguel Island, Azores 


Facilitators: Anya Schiffrin, Michael RobbGrieco, Renee Hobbs, and Yonty Friesem

Hosted by the Media Education Lab


Join us to consider the histories of media literacy education we have located and shared, and the ones that are still to be developed. In this program, we first situate media literacy history in relation to the work of educators and journalists working nearly 100 years ago in the United States as people who recognized the need to support high school teachers with tools for advancing critical engagement with news, information, propaganda, and cultural discourse. 


Then, we reflect on our own personal histories as they intersect with the global history of media literacy education as a means to appreciate the diversity of lived experience that we bring to the work. People have unforgettable life experiences that profoundly shift the nature of their relationships with mass media and popular culture. We will each identify some of the theorists, educators and media professionals in our lives whose work inspired and energized us and consider how biographies may help students acquire an interest in media literacy history. 


Finally, we will consider the scope of historical inquiry on media literacy thus far, and work collaboratively to generate new questions for historical research to inform our field. To conclude, we will discuss how we may contribute to a scholarly project in media literacy history addressing the question: How can our specific local/regional history matter across cultural and global boundaries?




Anya Schiffrin

Dr. Anya Schiffrin is the director of the Technology, Media, and Communications (TMaC) specialization at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and a Senior Lecturer in Discipline who teaches on global media, innovation and human rights. Since 2016, she has become focused on solutions to the problem of online disinformation, earning her PHD on the topic from the University of Navarra. As  well as her research on AI  and online misinformation, Schiffrin has written extensively on the media literacy movement in the 1930s and the founding of the Institute for Propaganda Analysis at Columbia University. 



Michael RobbGrieco

Dr. Michael RobbGrieco serves as Assistant Professor of Teacher Education at Sacred Heart University in Connecticut, USA. Mike's work focuses on democratizing power in media and education through pedagogy, research, and practice of media literacies. Originally from Baltimore, MD, Mike taught public high school Englishand ESL for six years in New Hampshire after earning a Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of New Hampshire and a BA in English from Bucknell University. He earned his PhD from Temple University in 2015, writing about the history of media literacy in an examination of the Center for Media Literacy's Media&Values magazine, 1977 - 1993.