Strategic Alliance Links CML To Major U.S. Educational Distributor

Great Plains National to collaborate on standards, e-commerce to serve growing media literacy marketplace.

October 1, 2001 - A new era for the media literacy educational movement in the US begins this fall with the announcement today of a strategic marketing alliance between the Los Angeles-based Center for Media Literacy (CML), known for its comprehensive clearinghouse of PreK-12 teaching resources for media education, and Great Plains National (GPN), one of the country's largest educational product distributors located at the Nebraska Educational Telecommunications & University of Nebraska in Lincoln.

The alliance is designed to respond to the growing demand for media literacy teaching resources and linking those resources to national and state education standards, announced Stephen C. Lenzen, GPN's Executive Director.

"CML will continue its nationally recognized role in screening, evaluating and recommending media education resources to assure teachers, librarians, school administrators and parents that the highest quality materials are being selected," explained Elizabeth Thoman, CML's Founder and President. "We are delighted that GPN can put its considerable experience to work in customer service, order fulfillment, and e-commerce."

Long the leading publisher and distributor of media education resources in the United States, CML is known for its comprehensive print and online catalogue of books, curriculum units, videos, CD-Roms and now DVD discs.

Considered by many to be an "illustrated bibliography" for the media literacy field, the Center's catalog specializes in hard-to-find teaching materials, including innovative materials from Canada, Australia and Europe where media literacy is required for high school graduation. The Center also packages core collections of teaching materials from multiple sources, thus allowing schools to more easily ramp up classroom implementation of media literacy across the curriculum.

CML's quality criteria for selecting materials includes having a sound media literacy pedagogy with a philosophy of "empowerment through education," rather than promoting censorship or "media bashing." The Alliance for a Media Literate America (AMLA), a newly-formed professional organization for U.S. teachers, recognizes CML's clearinghouse role and catalogue as a much needed and valued service to assist teachers in integrating media literacy at all grade levels.

Media literacy focuses on students learning to access, analyze, evaluate and create media so that they will have the tools as adult citizens to function in a world increasingly connected through multi-media. "Our work is critically important, especially in light of the influence that powerful images, words and sounds have with young people today," said Tessa Jolls, CML's Executive Director.

CML is known for publishing the acclaimed curriculum, "Beyond Blame: Challenging Violence in the Media" and Media&Values magazine (1977-1994) which helped to kindle the media literacy movement in the U.S. Founded in 1989, the Center offers teacher training, consulting and public education around media literacy issues pioneering a national model for teacher training through its Felton Media Literacy Scholars Program. CML's website,, features comprehensive information on media literacy history and educational pedagogy along with information on today's critical media topics such as media violence, racism and sexism in media, how to analyze the news and advertising to children.

CML will remain as an independent 501(c)(3) non-profit organization chartered in California; GPN is a non-profit service agency of the Nebraska ETV Network, located at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Author Bio: 

Tessa Jolls is President and CEO of the Center for Media Literacy, a position she has held since 1999. She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and has consulted and published in the organization development and change management fields for major corporations.