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Challenges & Benefits of Being a Media Literacy Entrepreneur

Media literacy practitioners have always been entrepreneurial, looking for opportunities to bring vital knowledge, skills and competencies to people of all ages, all around the world. Much of the rising interest in media literacy education has been the result of tenacious efforts by media literacy entrepreneurs, whose creativity and ambition have led to programs and services in schools, librarians, settlement houses, museums, and in other community organizations.

Other media literacy entrepreneurs have developed games, apps, websites, curriculum resources, podcasts and videos. Perhaps you have been contemplating becoming a media literacy entrepreneur yourself or are already an experienced practitioner.

Join us for a discussion of the benefits and challenges of being a media literacy entrepreneur. Tessa Jolls and Renee Hobbs moderate this exciting program.

COMING UP! PART IV: Challenges and Benefits of Being a Media Literacy Entrepreneur

DATE: Wednesday, September 30

TIME: 12 - 1 pm ET

Click here to register for the Online Meeting



Amy Jussel

Amy Jussel is the Founder of, tapping the same persuasive tools & techniques of industry insiders to flip media and marketing messages in a healthier direction by educating with a "behind the scenes" lens to deconstruct data from all walks of life. (As a former ad agency writer/producer and journalist, Amy has over 30 years of experience in applied science in this realm) Using entertainment as a conduit for media literacy and health sciences, she's created hands-on games, learning tools, and children's books for critical thinking in the digital space that have been a hit with adults and children alike to "m-power" learning.

Jaimie Schmitz

By day, Jaimie Schmitz works as a Learning Media Producer at Bellevue University, and by night (and weekends) is a graduate student working towards her Master of Arts in Education.  She is currently finishing up a fellowship project called The Digital Literacy Initiative which is a media literacy resource for communities that promotes agency and accountability for all members. Jaime believes that a digital society needs active and engaged members. This means holding themselves and other community members accountable for ethical online community standards.

Michael Danielson

An English and Media teacher at SeaPrep in Seattle, Michael Danielson has been the school yearbook advisor for over 20 years, growing the program to a  24-student staff with a computer lab of 15 iMacs. He is a leader in the Association for Media Education (AME), a statewide initiative in Washington that helped bring media literacy to all students across the state. Action for Media Education (AME) is a non-profit organization. They are trailblazers in the development of media literacy programs since our incorporation in 1991. Mike's team includes parents and experts in education, journalism, mass communications, and community health. They see media education as a vital element of literacy due to the barrage of media messages aimed at us every day. 



Lauren McClanahan

A former middle school language arts teacher, Lauren is now a Professor of Secondary Education at Western Washington University in Bellingham, WA where she prepares future teachers.  Lauren’s specialty is digital literacy, and is the co-founder of the new Media and Digital Literacy Certificate at WWU.  Lauren is also the director of the Bellingham Youth Media Project, a non-profit that works closely with teachers to help integrate film and photography projects into their K-12 classrooms. 

Jami Rhue

Jami Rhue is a veteran Library School Media Specialist in Chicago who is now also a business owner. R&M Publications, LLC is her publishing house that is focused on empowering teens and young adults through literacy, author access, and original curriculum. 

Sr. Nancy Usselmann

Sr. Nancy is the Director of the Pauline Center for Media Studies and a Media Literacy Education Specialist. She has degrees in Communications Arts and a Masters in Theology and the Arts from Fuller Theological Seminary. She has extensive experience in the creative aspects of social media, print media, radio and video production as well as in marketing, advertising, retail management and administration. Sr. Nancy has given numerous media mindfulness workshops, presentations and film retreats around the country to youth, young adults, catechists, seminarians, teachers and media professionals helping to create that dialogue between faith and media. She is a member of NAMLE (National Association of Media Literacy Educators), SIGNIS (World Catholic Association for Communicators) and THEOCOM (Theology and Communications in Dialogue) and board member of CIMA (Catholics in Media Associates). She is the author of a theology of popular culture called, A Sacred Look: Becoming Cultural Mystics from Wipf & Stock Publishing. Sr. Nancy is a theologian, national speaker, blogger and film reviewer. 

PART II: Benefits and Drawbacks of Being a Media Literacy Entrepreneur

DATE: Wednesday, July 29

TIME: 12 - 1 pm EST

Access the Slide Deck for the Session 


Michele Johnsen

Michele Johnsen is president of Ignite Global Good, LLC, a strategic communications company and an affiliate of the Center for Media Literacy. Her media literacy trainings and workshops empower people make wiser decisions about consuming, producing and sharing information. Michele currently focuses on leveraging international cooperation and exchanges to develop best media literacy education practices.

Yonty Friesem

I am a faculty at the Department of Communication, Central Connecticut State University and the assistant director of the Media Education Lab, University of Rhode Island. With eighteen years of experience in media literacy education, I combine my creative work as a media producer, passionate teaching experience, and advocacy for digital empathy everyday at CCSU.

Jayne Cubbage

Dr. Jayne Cubbage is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communications at Bowie State University where she teaches courses in the Graduate Program in Organizational Communication.¬† She has previously taught graduate and undergraduate level courses in broadcast journalism and mass communication courses including media literacy, broadcast news writing, mass communication theory and television production.¬† Her research interests include media audiences of color, media literacy and social networking. She published ‚ÄúMedia Literacy in Higher Education Environments‚ÄĚ in 2018.¬†


Check out the Video and Resources from the June 24th Program

Access the Slide Deck Here



Ava Montgomery

Ava Montgomery¬†is the founder of, and Chief Considerations Officer for Conscious Media Consulting, LLC.¬† As its primary business service, CMC, LLC focuses on being a thought-partner for content creators.¬†Ava believes that content creators of the past contributed to enduring, wide-spread social injustices through perpetuation of false narratives and misrepresentations. Therefore, today‚Äôs continuum of conscious content/media creators--regardless of the industry they create for--play a vital role in rectifying¬†historically false and currently manipulated discourses.¬†She is the author of¬†‚ÄúListen-In! Watch-Out! Word-Up! A Guide to Understanding and Developing Conscious Media Literacy Skills‚Ä̬†and a nationally and internationally recognized speaker and presenter.¬†Ava¬†has a Master of Arts degree in Media, Peace and Conflict Studies from the mandated United Nations University for Peace, an international studies university.¬†

Twitter: @ConsciousMediaMaven @CCMLGuide


Josu√© Emmanuel Mu√Īoz¬†

Josu√©‚Äôs career as a student thus far has flourished due to the mentors and educators that nourished Sway‚Äôs creativity, critical thinking, and community consciousness. Graduating from Syracuse University‚Äôs Newhouse School of Public Communication Josu√© understood immediately that their four-year degree on the evolving media landscape should be an accessible conversation for the general public‚Äďespecially to position the next generation of leaders to navigate our chaotic digital landscape with autonomy.¬†Since leaving their full-time position as a social media fellow for social justice media Nonprofit Brave New Films, Josu√© works part-time as a social media coordinator with the LA Neighborhood Land Trust, and as a remote video producer for the Smithsonian Latino Center. The rest of their workday is spent collaborating to spread healthier dialogue with OTWay.Media to help communities grow ‚Äúon the way‚ÄĚ to a loving and literate future.¬†Twitter:¬†@sway_ontheway

W. Ian O'Byrne 

W. Ian O’Byrne teaches literacy and technology classes in early childhood, elementary, and middle grade literacies at the College of Charleston. He is also a former Research Fellow at the New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut. He received his Masters of Education from the University of Massachusetts in the 180 Days Program. He has been involved in initiatives in school districts ranging from online and hybrid coursework, integrating technology in the classroom, ePortfolio systems, and supporting marginalized students in literacy practices. He is currently a member of AERA, NCTE, and currently serves as e-editor for LRA, and the Literacy, eLearning, Communication, and Culture (LECC) Committee for IRA. Twitter: @wiobyrne

Tessa Jolls 

Tessa Jolls is President and CEO of the Center for Media Literacy, a position she has held since 1999. During that time, she restructured CML to focus, grow and change, preparing to meet the demand for an expanded vision of literacy for the 21st Century. Her primary focus is working in partnership to demonstrate how media literacy works through school and community-based implementation programs. She actively contributes to the development of the media literacy field internationally through her speaking, writing and consulting, with curriculum development and research projects, and through publishing and disseminating new curricular and training materials.