For Immediate Release
Contact: Emily Long, Communications Director
Financial Crisis May Be Tied To Lack of Media Education
“Deceptive” advertising misled consumers
New York, New York: The collapse of the subprime mortgage market may have been enabled by a media illiterate public, according to D.C. Vito, Executive Director of the LAMP (Learning About Multimedia Project).
“Without a strong presence of media education in our schools and communities, consumers are easily lured by misleading advertisements,” says Mr. Vito. “When people are not thinking about the media around them, they don’t read the fine print and ask questions. The current situation is one example of how media education, consumer education and financial literacy are all linked.”
Michael Calhoun, director of the Center for Responsible Lending, has denounced ads from online mortgage lenders like lowermybills.com as “the classic definition of a deceptive ad.” However, the ads appear to persist; according to reports from Nielsen Online, the Financial Services industry maintained its position in Q2 2008 as the highest spender in online advertising. Online lending services also appear to remain popular, with current web traffic to eloan.com alone stabilized at around 250,000 unique visitors per month.
“We don’t expect companies to stop advertising,” continued Mr. Vito, “but we do believe in a media environment where consumers are making informed choices. Media literacy is crucial in helping people learn not to take everything they see at face value.”
Efforts by the LAMP to provide media education include workshops in which students break down an ad and then create one of their own, and others where they learn how to recognize persuasion techniques. All of the workshops are provided free of charge to participants, and reached over 130 students last year alone.
About The LAMP:
The Learning About Multimedia Project (The LAMP) is a non-profit organization which strives to provide critical media literacy skills to the inter-related groups of youths, their parents and educators throughout New York City. Free media education workshops and events offered by the LAMP demystify the constant flow of media these three groups encounter, bridge the digital divide, and provide workforce development skills for future generations. The LAMP is incubated by the Fund for the City of New York.