Critical Media Literacy

Engaging Media and Transforming Education

Research Guide Attribution

Dr. Jeff Share teaches critical media literacy to undergraduate and teacher education students. To learn more about Dr. Share, click here or contact him via email (

Andrea Gambino is a Ph.D. candidate in Social Sciences and Comparative Education. Her research focuses on secondary teachers' practices of critical media literacy. Connect with her via email (

Monica Hagan provides research assistance in Education at UCLA, including CML. Please contact Monica Hagan, UCLA Education Librarian, via email (

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Source: Media Edge.

Defining Critical Media Literacy

The goal of critical media literacy is to engage with media through critically examining representations, systems, structures, ideologies, and power dynamics that shape and reproduce culture and society. It is an inquiry-based process for analyzing and creating media by interrogating the relationships between power and knowledge. Critical media literacy is a dialogical process for social and environmental justice that incorporates Paulo Freire's (1970) notion of praxis, "reflection and action upon the world in order to transform it" (p. 36). This pedagogical project questions representations of class, gender, race, sexuality and other forms of identity and challenges media messages that reproduce oppression and discrimination. It celebrates positive representations and beneficial aspects of media while challenging problems and negative consequences, recognizing media are never neutral. Critical media literacy is a transformative pedagogy for developing and empowering critical, caring, nurturing, and conscientious people.

 - This definition was written collaboratively by the steering committee of the Critical Media Literacy Conference of the Americas, 2021. Members of the steering committee include: Neil Andersen, Allison Butler, Renee Childs, Andrea Gambino, Noah Golden, Nolan Higdon, Michael Hoechsmann, Amina Humphrey, Raúl Alberto Mora, Reina Robinson, Jeff Share, James P. Stancil II, Alison Trope, Alicia Olguín, Yolanda Gayol, Mary Grueser.

Available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, and Mandarin

Institutes, Museums, Research Groups & More!

Association for Media Literacy, AML. Canadian nonprofit organization, since 1978, of professionals, parents, and media members who develop a critical understanding of the nature of media, their techniques, and their impact.

Center for Media Literacy, CML. Website with resources and archive of articles and lessons for teaching media literacy.

Center for Media and Social Impact, CMSI. Research center and lab that creates, studies and showcases media for social impact; at the School of Communication of American University.

Common Sense. US nonprofit organization providing lesson plans, research and articles about media.

Critical Media Project. CMP (University of Southern California). Free media literacy web resources for educators and students with many video clips from popular media about age, class, disability, gender, LGBTQ, race & ethnicity, and religion.

International Council for Media Literacy, ICML. Bridges scholarship with action through The Journal of Media Literacy; formerly known as the National Telemedia Council.

Mass Media Literacy. Massachusetts website with resources to teach critical media literacy.

Media Education Foundation, MEF. Produces and distributes documentary films and other educational resources to inspire critical thinking about the social, political, and cultural impact of American mass media. In Resources, see downloadable Discussion Guides, Lessons & Ideas, full transcripts of each film, and more.

Media Education Lab (University of Rhode Island). Resources, lesson plans, and events that bolster interdisciplinary approaches to research and practice relating to communication, media studies, and education.

MediaSmarts, Canada's Centre for Digital and Media Literacy. Developer of digital and media literacy programs and resources for Canadian homes, schools and communities since 1996; formerly known as Media Awareness Network.

National Association for Media Literacy Education, NAMLE. Largest nonprofit membership organization dedicated to advancing media literacy education in the United States.

Project Look Sharp (Ithaca College). Offers free teaching units, lesson plans, and resources for teaching media literacy.

UCLA Center for Critical Internet Inquiry, C2i2 (University of California, Los Angeles). Center for interdisciplinary, intersectional research. Committed to reimagining technology; championing social, racial, and economic justice; and, strengthening democracy with culture-making and public policy work.

Library Catalogs

 UC Library Search

Catalog of all library items, online and in print, in all 10 UC Libraries. 
After search, Sort by: Date Newest


Critical pedagogy
Educational technology
Fake news--United States
Information literacy
Internet and youth
Internet in education--Social aspects
Mass media--Study and teaching
Mass media and education
Mass media and youth
Mass media criticism
Mass media in education
Media literacy
Media literacy--Political aspects--United States
Media literacy--Study and teaching
Minorities in mass media
Popular culture--Study and teaching
Racism in mass media
Social media
Visual literacy--Study and teaching


critical media


Catalog of books. periodicals, recordings, and other items held in libraries worldwide.  Students local to UCLA may use the Interlibrary Loan Service at the UCLA Library to request sources found in WorldCAT libraries (or any non-UCLA Library).  Subject headings above may be used when searching WorldCAT.

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Collections: Courses, Lessons, Podcasts, Reports, Videos

Global Citizenship Education (GCED) online campus (UNESCO - APCEIU):

  • Critical Media Literacy: Free 3-week self-paced course of theoretical and practical understandings of media, information literacy and ethical issues/actions with media to promote global citizenship. 
  • Teaching Media Information Literacy (MIL) in Class to Prevent Hate Speech: Free professional development course for teachers interested in using MIL with students to deconstruct and challenge stereotypes and prejudice reproduced in the news, social media, and the Internet.
  • Global Citizenship Education Online:  E-learning platform with free online courses, lessons, and resources to support educators interested in global citizenship education. 

  • Along the Line (The Media Freedom Foundation). Weekly podcast from Project Censored provides analyses on critical issues and current topics.

  • CodeSw!tch (NPR). Podcast series challenging the notion of a post-racial society through the lenses of human experiences at the cross-section of race, ethnicity, and culture. 

  • CounterspinFAIR's weekly radio show by Janine Jackson provides a critical analysis of news stories and mainstream media. 

  • Mediacracy: voiceED Radio Canada. Neil Andersen and Carol Arcus (Association for Media Literacy) analyze culture and current events from a media literacy perspective. 

  • On the Media (WNYC Studios). Weekly investigative podcast with Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield discussing how the media influences our world views. 

  • Reveal. First investigative public radio show and podcast in the USA. Al Letson discusses a range of topics to challenge contemporary social issues. 

Key Databases with Films, Articles, News

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Gender Studies Databases

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