How Young People can be Media Literate: An Interview with Danica Čigoja Piper

Gresë Sermaxhaj sat down with one of our Serbia speakers, Danica Čigoja Piper, to discuss her work and supporting young people.

Dr. Danica Čigoja Piper, Assistant professor, Assistant Professor, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, was among the valuable speakers on Media Information and Literacy Programme Event co-hosted by Erasmus+ and International Magazine Youth Time International Movement (YTIM), from 27th August-2nd September 2021 in Belgrade, Serbia.

In this piece, she speaks about why this experience was delightful for her, and how youth can be more media literate towards understanding the news and media in today’s world.

As she underlined during the event, Piper reminds us that one can never reach the last level of being media literate – it does not exist. 

Rather, this is an ongoing process and a social responsibility for all of us, which is why we have to keep thinking and rethinking it repeatedly. 

Let’s hear more from her perspective on the event.


Many Open-Minded Young People in One Place

One thing she has been presenting to young people at this event is media literacy and why it is so important to them, and from my conversations with participants, I know they appreciated her expertise and lessons she shared with them.

On a fresh note, in this interview, among other things, Piper speaks also about her takeaways from this event.

She enjoyed discussing with these young people on such topics and she sees them as true change makers in future!

“This was an event I have been dreaming about for a long time. A gathering of many young people with an open mind in one place. 

“It was challenging to talk about media literacy to a group of people who are already quite strongly oriented towards that field,” she says at the beginning of our conversation, to further add: “I enjoyed it so much that I often thought how phenomenal it would be if all the participants in the event were in one college class. Where I would teach them all, of course!”

This event presented many interactive and very engaging panel discussions, and what caught my eye the most is something Piper stated during a panel discussion she was part of.

There, she emphasised, we are in a stage where we ought to reimagine a few concepts on media literacy and the role of journalism in achieving the greater good.

I wanted to hear more from her on this perspective – what are the key concepts we need to reimagine and how can youth contribute to this situation?  

“We – academics in media studies, young media workers and future media professionals – need to rely on guerrilla digital movements. We must be the drivers of change within the current digital media system,” she elaborates.

If everything is already geared towards a click, Piper goes on, let us use it so that quality journalistic texts and other medical content are hidden behind that clickable content.

We could agree that this is related to how many people are media literate, how people see the news, what they are prone to believe, and why. This leads us all to media literacy and its crucial part in public opinion, and not only.

Below, Piper shares a few tips on how young people can be more media literate.


How Young People can be Media Literate?

She acknowledged it is hard to reach the last level of being media literate, still she shares with our readers a few tips on how young people today can be more aware of the ways media works.

“Media literacy is an ongoing process and a social responsibility for all of us. We can find different tools for that in our daily lives. Read, listen, and watch as much as possible.”

“You will easily learn how to spot valid and objective media reporting. At the same time, make a schedule for media usage during the day. You cannot give all your time to media content.”

She emphasises we have to try to develop a discipline, as a specific media diet.

Piper has heard a great motto that she tries to follow in her media and academic world, and wants to share it with our youth audience from all over the globe.

“Do what is necessary, then do what is possible, and then you can do the impossible. Try that,” Piper concludes.


About Piper

Assistant Professor, Zayed University, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates Danica Čigoja Piper (1988) defended her doctoral thesis in cultural and media studies at the Faculty of Political Sciences, University of Belgrade in Belgrade, Serbia. 

She has completed a master and bachelor studies at the Faculty of Media and Communications (FMK), Singidunum University in Belgrade, where she was working as a Teaching Assistant and an Assistant Professor. 

She has published several scientific and research papers in the field of media studies, cultural studies and communication studies. She served as an Assistant to the Dean from 2016 to 2018 (FMK) and as a coordinator of the Accreditation Team (FMK). 

She worked as a journalist at the Student Cultural Centre in Belgrade, FMK radio and MONDO Portal. She has also completed internships at RTV Studio B and in the newsroom of the Serbian Public Broadcaster. 

In addition to her academic career, Danica is still a regular contributor to several print and online media titles. She is the winner of the award given by the Delegation of the European Union in Serbia, for the best contribution on European integration (2011).

Below you can read more from Piper’s lecture given on the first day of our event

First Things First: Day One Of The Media Information & Literacy Programme

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