7. Form and content are closely related in media. Each medium has its own distinctive characteristics. You will get a very different experience of a major event by reading the newspapers, watching TV, listening to the radio, going A media literate person asks: What about the form of this medium influences the content? Is that formal capacity being exploited well, or is it being wasted? What about the form limits the content?
8. Each medium has a unique aesthetic form. Understanding how to "read" the media also means understanding that they are each art forms as well as information transmitters. We pay attention, in writing, to the well-crafted phrase, the vivid quote, the tightly structured argument. We appreciate editing that sharpens contrasts and makes our heart skip a beat in audio, video and film. We understand the power of a camera to shape our own point of view on entering a scene. When we see how media are constructed, we are able to judge their aesthetic value. We ask two sets of related questions: Did it entertain me, keep my attention, involve me - and how did it do that? Did it tell me more about the world, human affairs, and my part in it - and how did it do that?
(Patricia Aufderheide is a professor in the School of Communication at American University in Washington, D.C.; concepts drawn from Media Literacy: Resource Guide, Ontario Ministry of Education, 1989, and the work of many teachers)