Discuss the impact and obligation of using animals in media.
Animals are everywhere. They inhabit our forests, our fields, our imaginations, our dreams, and our stories. Making appearances in advertisements, television programs, movies, books, internet memes, and art, symbolic animals do tremendous work for us selling goods, services, and ideas, as well as acting as stand-ins for our interests and ideas. Yet, does knowing animals only symbolically impact their lived experiences?
Debra Merskin, PhD is Professor of Media Studies in the School of Journalism & Communication. Her research focuses on how marginalized groups and individuals are re-presented in media and popular culture. This includes animals. Her third, and most recent book is Seeing Species: Re-presentations of Animals in Media & Popular Culture. Her web site Animalsandmedia.org is a style guide for professional journalists, documentary filmmakers, artists, and those interested in creating accurate and respectful re-presentations of animals.