Free Press Article ‘Professors On Film’ Favors Words to Images

I applaud the Free Press for highlighting a Communication Department course on interpersonal interviewing and documentary filmmaking (“Professors on Film,” Free Press, Vol 11, Issue 3, p. 4) that combines the expertise of Robert Lemieux in interpersonal theory and of Jonathan Slade in media theory. Although I appreciate the attention drawn to a departmental offering, I must comment on a bias the article displays.

In the eyes of this department as well as the administration, Slade and Lemieux are co-instructors who equally share teaching responsibilities in the course. However, reporter Casey Crough privileges the verbal (Lemieux “teaches” and “leads” in “his” class) over the visual (Slade “assists”, “collaborates”, and “offers advice”), a common prejudice among the public, especially those who are weak in their media literacy skills. In television and film, the image almost always trumps the word: how shots are framed, lit, and edited greatly influences how a viewer perceives the spoken word.

I encourage Free Press journalists to continue to improve your media literacy skills as you enter a world where news is increasingly moving off paper and onto video, film and the internet.