2023 Award Winners

2023 NAMLE Award Winners

Read about the recipients of each of NAMLE’s 2023 Media Literacy Awards below.

Elizabeth Thoman Service Award
Jessi Hollis McCarthy

Jessi Hollis McCarthy was part of the team at NewseumED (Freedom Forum) that created and launched their media literacy curriculum. She specializes in curriculum design to foster understanding through conversation and developing tools to help learners of all ages navigate the challenges of digital citizenship. The core of her work focuses on expanding access to media literacy education by creating interactive virtual and in-person programs for students, educators, journalists, community leaders, and life-long learners. She has led virtual classes on six continents and has travelled to teach media literacy in Jamaica, Ukraine, Sri Lanka, Poland, Slovenia, and Lithuania. In 2018 Hollis McCarthy collaborated with Dana R. Krafft to launch a media literacy program for adult-learners that is available for free to public libraries and civic learning organizations. The program has held classes in 16 states primarily serving small or rural communities. Since 2020, to meet the increased need for virtual programs, she has taught nearly 30,000 people in the course of her work.

Media Literacy Community Award
Yonty Friesem, Ph.D.

Yonty Friesem is an Associate Professor and Founding Director of the Civic Media MA program at the Communication Department of Columbia College Chicago. Yonty also serves as the co-director of the Media Education Lab supporting the global community of media educators by providing an online space to explore new inclusive, interdisciplinary, and innovative pedagogies. 

Yonty’s work and research in media literacy focus on social and emotional learning as part of Yonty’s international effort to shape professional development to be more equitable, trauma-informed and healing-centered. Yonty’s publications in academic and professional journals include the theory of inclusive dialogs via media they call digital empathy, the evaluation of media education impact, and the explorations of digital and media literacy professional development. Yonty co-edited the 2022 Routledge Handbook of Media Education Futures Post-Pandemic providing global survey of media education during the COVID-19 pandemic. In June 2023, Yonty started his 3-year tenure as the co-vice chair of the international steering committee as part of UNESCO informational and media literacy alliance.

Yonty is an award-winning educator, filmmaker, and advocate who established two graduate programs at Columbia College Chicago and co-founded the Illinois Media Literacy Coalition to support educators teaching media literacy. Yonty has a M.A. in Leadership and Management in Education from Tel Aviv University and a PhD from the joint doctoral program in education at the University of Rhode Island and Rhode Island College. For more information, visit their website: www.yontyfriesem.com.

Media Literacy K-12 Teacher Award
Tim Jones

Tim Jones has served in school libraries for 16 years. In 2022, Jones was named Kentucky’s School Librarian of the Year. Jones has used his platform to spread the word to K-12 educators on how to embed media literacy skills across all subject areas using the graphic novel. Over the last several years, Jones has presented at ALA, AASL, and ISTE Conferences, virtually to Peru, at the Boss Librarian Back-to-School Virtual PD, and at multiple state conferences (including TLA, NMLA, and KLA) on the topics of media literacy and graphic novels. He’s won the 2021 KASL Outstanding School Library Media Website Award and the 2022 JCASL Collaboration Award.

His article “Teaching Media Literacy Using Graphic Novels” was published in Booklist‘s July 2022 issue. He’s also been published in the journal Kentucky Libraries. Jones serves on the boards of Kentucky Association of School Librarians (KASL) and Kentucky Library Association (KLA). Jones is co-owner, writer-editor, and social media director for NIMCO, Inc. At NIMCO, he’s designed an Eraselet (a bracelet that erases) with the slogan “Erase Confirmation Bias – Seek Multiple Perspectives” – with more literacy-fostering slogans in pre-development for Media Literacy Week, Free Comic Book Day, and other occasions. In addition, Jones is a state-qualifying former Future Problem Solving coach and an alum of Second City Chicago’s Comedy Writing Program. You can check out his site here and follow Jones on Twitter @MisterLibrary.

Media Literacy Higher Education Teacher Award
Alexis Romero Walker, Ph.D.

Alexis Romero Walker (they/them), Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Media and Communication at Manhattanville College and a Senior Researcher at the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. Alexis does qualitative media studies research that specializes in decolonizing structures dominated by whiteness and heteronormativity both in entertainment media and higher education. Alexis is particularly interested in the ways in which diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice can be implemented through a media literacy framework to impact entertainment media from the inside to result in media that best represents everyone.  

Alexis is passionate about teaching undergraduate students, which is why their research is so centered on confronting institutional structures. Through exercising inquiry, empathy, and critical media literacy in their classes, Alexis works with students on developing skills to be thoughtful media consumers and educated media creators.

Media Literacy Researcher Award
Laura Schreurs, Ph.D.

Dr. Lara Schreurs is a postdoctoral researcher at the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research (KU Leuven) in Belgium under supervision of Prof. Dr. Laura Vandenbosch. She also was a visiting scholar at the Social Media Lab at Stanford University in the fall of 2022. In her research, which has been funded by the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO – Vlaanderen), she developed and tested a new theoretical model, called the SMILE model, which modulates a role for social media literacy in social media effect processes. One area of relevance for social media literacy she is particularly interested in is the positivity bias on social media. Lara’s empirical work address how social media literacy concerning the positivity bias on social media exerts an empowering function. She also researches how adolescents can develop social media literacy through informal parental and peer interactions as well as through formal, customized, interventions.

Media Literacy Youth Award
Pride David

Pride David is a rising senior in Buffalo, NY, and attends the Buffalo Academy for Visual and Performing Arts. She is a teen fact-checker for MediaWise’s teen fact-checking networking. She works as a YouTube host and editor for a digital literacy project to teach people how to spot and debunk misinformation online. Pride has appearances on the WNET group’s “Take on Fake” and two episodes on Season 3 for Nickelodeon’s Nick News and was a fellow of PBS Student Report Labs Academy, which is an immersive 8-day fellowship for video journalism in Boston, Massachusetts. Pride believes that media literacy should be more accessible for everyone to learn and know more about and is dedicated to her mission, hoping to later go into a career in journalism and video production.

Media Literate Media Award
MediaWise, The Poynter Institute

MediaWise empowers people of all ages to become more critical consumers of content online. They teach people digital media literacy and fact-checking skills to spot misinformation and disinformation, with initiatives specifically designed to engage Gen Z, college students, and older Americans. MediaWise’s innovative, digital-first program works constantly to address the ever-changing landscape of misinformation across the internet.

Visit the MediaWise website.

Media Literate Media Award
The Markup

The Markup is a nonprofit newsroom that investigates how powerful institutions are using technology to change our society. They are a new kind of media organization, staffed with an unparalleled roster of quantitative journalists who pursue meaningful, data-driven investigations.

Visit The Markup website.

Media Literate Media Award
The Representation Project

No matter who you are or where you live, intersectional gender stereotypes are hurting you and those you love. Through film, education, and activism, The Representation Project awakens consciousness, spotlights the cost of these stereotypes, and invites everyone to build a more equitable future.

Visit The Representation Project website.