This class has increased my media literacy. I don’t believe that I was naive before this class, at least not about the impact that media has on society. I knew that media influences us far more than we would like to believe. I also knew that media outlets distort reality in ways that will likely increase their own profit. I’ve always been skeptical of stories I read online and I usually check for facts and consult multiple sources before accepting the validity of a source. However, I didn’t realize the potential power that I might have in accessing the media. I knew of the potential power that media outlets give to other people but I never thought of harnessing this power for myself. Internet technology and mass media are incredible tools for reaching out and sharing valuable information with people across the world. Many people believe that they cannot make a difference in someone else’s life. Recently, I’ve discovered that is not true, and mass communication is way more powerful than the average person realizes.
A 6 year old girl, Jennifer Kranz, from Gilroy, CA died on February 12, 2014 from DIPG. This is a type of cancer in the brain. I had the privilege of meeting her once, a month or two after she was diagnosed. The doctors predicted that she would only live 9 months. Sadly, she only made it four. Her mother started website and a blog, Love for JLK, to raise awareness. I started following it. She posts daily, and her writings are heart wrenching and thought provoking. Sometimes, they are hard to read, but what she has taught me, along with this class, is that you do not have to be a person of prestige, or wealth, or education to impact the lives of others. So many people in our community have reached out and are trying to help not only the Kranz family, but the families of other children who have cancer. These are people who have never met the Kranz family but are so touched by the blog that they are determined to join the fight against children’s cancers. One shocking fact that I learned from her page is that almost all of the funding for cancer research goes to adult cancers. The impact that this family, that this mother, has had on the community and on me, is uplifting and inspiring. She also raises awareness and money for other causes and is in the process of starting a non profit. Her story, is a perfect example of the power that mass media has.