Making Sense of Media events
Ofcom’s Making Sense of Media programme provides a range of events including conferences, seminars and webinars, to share knowledge, expertise and awareness of our work.
By doing so, we aim to encourage the building of strong, long-lasting and collaborative relationships across all those with an interest in media literacy issues.
As part of the local, community-based approach we're taking to some of our media literacy work, Ofcom is pleased to be hosting a series of in-person events in the UK's nations and regions. The events will be taking place in Cardiff (14 June), Manchester (15 June), Edinburgh (16 June) and Belfast (17 June). You can register for each event online.
At each event we will present Ofcom’s overall approach to media literacy, as well as a deep dive into a particular area of our work. We will have guest presenters, and allow time for small-group discussions and Q&A sessions.
The event was an opportunity to showcase and discuss the latest findings from our media literacy reports which were published on 30 March. Over 160 people from a wide range of organisations joined the virtual event.
Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom’s Group Director for Strategy and Research, opened the event with an overview of the progress that has been made across our five priority areas of work: initiate, evaluate, establish, research and engage. Highlights include our recently completed review of community organisations to help identify what works (and just as importantly, what doesn’t) when delivering skills programmes, and furthering our understanding of the measures that online services already use to promote and support media literacy through their design.
Yih-Choung also noted that we have had a great response to our call for membership of our working groups in January, and we’re setting these up in the coming months. Anyone interested in participating in a working group should contact firstname.lastname@example.org
The first presentation focused on media behaviours and attitudes. Caroline Cason and Adam Capstick discussed adults’ and children’s use of video sharing platforms, live streaming, social media, messaging and gaming. The presentation covered negative experiences among children when online, noting that children aged 8-17 are more likely to be bullied via technology than face-to-face. But also that children aged 13-17 were more likely to feel positive, than negative, about being online.
Luca Antilli and Louisa Thompson then spoke on online knowledge and understanding. Luca explained that we have expanded our approach to measuring critical understanding, making use of mocked-up online scenarios which, alongside our existing confidence and awareness questions, capture how internet users think and act in these situations. A key finding to emerge was that both children and adults who had trouble recognising a fake social media profile were more likely to consider the imagery, such as profile pictures and pictures posted, while those who could correctly identify the fake profile were more likely to consider textual aspects.
The final presentation focused on digital exclusion, with Eleanor Johnston and Caroline Cason presenting key findings from our digital exclusion review and children’s media literacy research. Eleanor set out how we recognise digital exclusion as being comprised of three aspects which are frequently intertwined: access, ability and affordability. We saw that half of those without home internet access stated they were not interested in getting online, but other barriers included perceived complexity and cost.
A Q&A session followed each presentation, with interesting and insightful questions and comments from attendees.
Yih-Choung Teh closed the event, noting that there are further opportunities to engage with us, including a series of in-person events in Cardiff, Manchester, Edinburgh and Belfast in mid-June, and an event to coincide with the publication of our Online Nation report.
On Friday 21 January, we hosted our first Making Sense of Media event of the year, Turning the wheel: Next steps for Ofcom’s approach to media literacy.
The event was an opportunity for Ofcom to share our approach to online media literacy, and to hear the thoughts of attendees on these plans. Over 140 people from a wide range of backgrounds and organisations joined the virtual event.
The event was opened by our Chief Executive, Dame Melanie Dawes, and chaired by Yih-Choung Teh, Ofcom's Group Director for Strategy and Research.
On Friday 7 May, we hosted a virtual event to showcase our key findings from our adults’ and children’s media literacy reports which we published at the end of April. The event focused on three topics -
- Adults’ and children’s media use
- Online knowledge and understanding
- Digital exclusion
We were joined by over 140 people with a range of interests in media literacy, and we would like to thank everyone who attended for a very engaging and valuable discussion. For more information please see the reports below:
- Adults’ Media Use & Attitudes report
- Adults’ Media Lives report (PDF, 372.6 KB)
- Children’s Media Lives: Year 7 report (PDF, 4.0 MB)
- Children and parents: media use and attitudes report 2020/21 (PDF, 4.3 MB)
The event was organised for our MSOM Network members. If you’re not already a member, find out how you can join the network.
On 30 October 2020, the Making Sense of Media team hosted a virtual event for our Making Sense of Media Network entitled “News: consumption, engagement, and misinformation”. The event marked UNESCO’s Global Media and Information Literacy week, for which this year's theme was “Resisting Disinfodemic: Media & Information Literacy for everyone & by everyone”.
In the first session Alison Preston shared key findings from our recent research on news consumption and attitudes, both more broadly and in the context of Covid-19-related misinformation. This was followed by a Q&A with attendees that was chaired by Kate Davies.
The second session was chaired by Professor Rasmus Nielsen from the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism at the University of Oxford, and saw a panel of speakers talk about initiatives to improve media literacy in the context of misinformation, and how these initiatives could be evaluated. The speakers included Claire Levens from Internet Matters, Katy Minshall from Twitter, Antonio Silva from the Behavioural Insights Team and Alberto Fernandes from Ofcom.
Kate Davies led the Adults’ Media Literacy research event on Friday 31 July 2020. During the session we shared highlights from our Adults’ Media Literacy tracker and Adults’ Media Lives qualitative study on the topics of Critical Understanding, Trust, and Digital Divides, alongside some more recent findings from our ongoing Covid-19 tracker and qualitative interviews.
On 10 and 12 June 2020, we hosted our first virtual Making Sense of Media Network event. The Wednesday session was attended by 35 senior individuals representing government and industry as well representatives from our own Making Sense of Media advisory panel. The session was repeated to the wider MSOM Network on 12 June, hosted by Kate Davies, which attracted over 60 attendees.
The Teens Talk Tech event included videos that Year 9 children from four UK schools recorded with their peers, with the aim of teaching us about a range of topics: what they enjoy doing online, what concerns them about participating online, what they think needs to change, and how. Their accounts gave us a fascinating glimpse into the online lives of Year 9 schoolchildren.
On Tuesday 4 February 2020, we hosted a breakfast meeting at the British Library to launch our latest Children’s Media Literacy research. We covered the findings from the latest wave of our long-running Children’s Media Literacy Tracker, the longer-term trends over the last five years, as well as showcasing our ground-breaking Children’s Media Lives video evidence. The session concluded with networking over breakfast.
Our Making Sense of Media (MSOM) event brought together experts and practitioners at the British Library to discuss and debate the latest insights and challenges in online media literacy. We showcased our latest MSOM research, including key findings relating to online harms and media literacy (see the presentation slides section below), and announced our MSOM Advisory Panel – made up of 11 industry, third sector and academic experts – who will debate and inform the direction of our media literacy work.
A researcher's perspective (PDF, 134.8 KB) Amy Orben, University of Oxford.
The behavioural science of online harm and manipulation and what to do about it (PDF, 1.4 MB) Aisling Ni Chonaire, The Behavioural Insights Team.
Data collection and use (PDF, 726.3 KB) Ian Macrae, Ofcom.
Audience perspectives on misinformation and low trust. (PDF, 1.7 MB) Nic Newman, Reuters Institute for the study of journalism.
Engaging vulnerable communities (PDF, 200.2 KB) Dr Idil Osman.
We hosted our first Network Social Event on Monday 18 November 2019 at our London office. We were joined by 50 network members and the Making Sense of Media Advisory Panel. The event was a great opportunity to meet other members of the network, learn some more about Ofcom’s Making Sense of Media research and engagement programme and share experiences of working on media literacy related activities.
To stay up to date on future events like these, please visit our Making Sense of Media Network page for more information on joining the Network.