AMID the efforts to curb the pandemic with the roll-out of vaccines, the World Health Organisation has also expressed its concern towards misinformation that has been taking place online.
Termed infodemic, a portmanteau of ‘information’ and ‘epidemic’, it typically refers to false or misleading information – this time leading to vaccine hesitancy.
In addition, there have also been calls to make media and communication studies a compulsory subject, starting from secondary school, to teach the public the danger of fake news.
Asia Pacific University of Technology and Innovation (APU) Media and Communication studies lecturer Nur Leila Khalid concurs with the sentiment.
“This would be a good move as more children are being exposed to media at a younger age,” she says, noting that with the rise of social media, sharing news without verifying the source has become more normal among the netizens.
Thus, it is understandably important that professional journalism should be promoted together with media literacy. Media literacy is a skill set that enables people to dissect media content, critically analyse it or even identify underlying messages, its ownership and regulation, as well as how it is presented.
APU Bachelor of Arts in Media and Communication studies programme leader Fahizah Shamsuddin acknowledges that media literacy is something that needs to be integrated into the public consciousness.
Such knowledge can be applied to any case studies or field studies encompassing communications, public relations, advertising, journalism and research.
“APU students gain media literacy education from modules such as contemporary media studies, crisis communication and journalism,” she adds.
Such training could encourage students to think independently and question what is being “fed” to them, while also emphasising the skills and knowledge to comprehend and manage an environment dominated by social media.
Nur Leila further explains, “In academic training, key media topics include ethical considerations in the media, as well as the history and theory of verification in journalism.
Important media literacy soft skills include:
> Being willing to make an effort to understand and filter the content being delivered
> Having a full grasp of the messages, including its purposes
> Being able to distinguish emotion when responding to content and acting accordingly
> Developing heightened expectations of media content
> Thinking critically about media messages
> Knowing the internal language of various media and understanding its effects
APU also emphasises well-balanced theoretical and practical aspect training in their media and communication studies.
In addition, its media literacy training provides students and lecturers alike a common approach to critical thinking, increasing their ability and proficiency to communicate and disseminate their thoughts.
Upon graduation, well-equipped graduates of such professional training can opt for careers in journalism, copywriting, communications, brand management, campaign development, advertising and promotion or media sales.
On career prospects, Fahizah says, “Communication is one of the fastest-growing fields in today’s career market. Many of the current in-demand media jobs did not even exist 15 years ago.
“Today, organisations need skilled communicators to help them get their messages across to the public. Whether working among business executives, bureaucrats or digital-age creatives, our students and alumni are ahead of the curve,” she says.
The data speaks for itself, as according to the latest Annual Graduate Tracer Study by the Ministry of Higher Education, 100% of APU graduates are employed upon graduation.
The Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in Media and Communication studies offered by APU is more than just a media and communications studies degree, as enrolled students will have the option to apply for the United Kingdom (UK) Chartered Management Institute (CMI) L5 Award in Management and Leadership.
Apart from this, students can also choose to opt in to the APU-DMU Dual Degree Scheme, which means they will receive two degree certificates and transcripts upon graduation – one from APU and another from UK’s De Montfort University.
For more information on the programme, visit www.apu.edu.my.