Weekend conference combines media and faith in communications industry

Staff Writer

We hold power over our society as consumers, said a graduate of Franciscan University during her opening talk at the triennial Media and Faith Conference on Friday.

Pugliese Auditorium was filled with more than 80 people to hear Amanda Melefsky’s talk entitled “Media as our Social Mirror,” which was part of a series of talks held on April 11 and 12 during the Media and Faith Conference.

Melefsky said the media that people consume and pay for is a reflection of society and that every-day people also have a say in what is produced.

“Most of you probably all voted in the last presidential election,” said Melefsky, “and you vote for candidates you feel best support your own convictions. … How many times did you vote in the box office last year? … I think we vote more with our remotes than at polling stations.”

She emphasized the importance of people holding custody over their eyes, ears and minds and being judicious about what they consume. She continued by saying that the media-mirror shapes individual’s thoughts, ideas and personalities on a subconscious level.

“We tend to idolize celebrities and characters while we pursue our own material gain,” said Melefsky. “When we do this, we chase an unrealistic desire that won’t be satisfied. … Do we ever illuminate the inherent dignity of the human person?”

Quoting her fiancé, Melefsky said, “Sometimes we need to choose nothing over something mediocre. … Being deliberate in what we choose will only make the world a better place.”

Melefsky encouraged the young people present to learn the skills of their trade and to never settle for mediocrity. She said to not get lost in the methods of evangelization and to dialogue with people who share different views. She also said to “walk the walk” of prayer and faith.

“It was a good talk,” said Eric Tamburino, junior and multimedia major at Franciscan University. “The thing that jumped out at me the most was the part about anti-heroes. I watch a lot of movies and end up discussing them with people and that (topic) had come up before, so that really grabbed me.”

Franciscan sophomore, Sarah Wampler said, “It was enlightening to … hear what she had to say about being in the field, especially as a graduate from Franciscan. It is interesting to see where (graduates) can go from here instead of just directly into the Catholic media. I really liked when she was talking about our responsibility as Catholics in the media, as artists and as patrons. It was a call to action and a call to reflect on what we are doing.”

Melefsky is a 2005 graduate of Franciscan University and she has worked with DeSales Media Group since 2012. She worked in the production of “Bella” and “The Human Experience.” She currently serves as the show-runner and producer of “In the Arena.”

Many other renowned members of the media industry also spoke at the Media and Faith Conference on April 11 and 12. These speakers included Doug Keck, Ann Rodgers, David DeWolf, Terry Mattingly and Cris Taylor. Many of Franciscan University’s own professors and staff also spoke about their experiences and the value of the media in society.

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