2014 Medium & Light Award Goes to Father John Pungente SJ, Media Educator


Fr. John Pungente, S.J., with the Medium and Light Award presented to him by the Marshall McLuhan Initiative

Father John Pungente, S.J., with the Medium & Light Award presented to him by the Marshall McLuhan Initiative   (Photo courtesy of the Marshall McLuhan Initiative)

By Alex Kuskis, PhD

Father John Pungente, SJ was awarded the 2014 Medium and Light Award, which recognizes the religious dimensions of the life and work of Marshall McLuhan, for his work in religious communication and “longstanding dedication to media literacy. The award was announced at the recent MEA Convention at Ryerson University by Howard R. Engel, Director of the Marshall McLuhan Initiative at St. Paul’s College at the University of Manitoba. Mr. Engel commented: “His work for media literacy in the context of his own Ignatian spirituality bears eloquent testimony to finding God in all things, including the media.”

The inaugural award, in 2011, was presented to the late Father Pierre Babin, OMI (1925-2012), in Lyons, France, the 2012 award went to Dr. Thomas W. Cooper, Professor of Communication at Emerson College, Boston and Dr. Eric McLuhan was the recipient in 2013.

In a recent interview with the Catholic Register, Pungente called Marshall McLuhan a media genius and recalled learning from him when he was studying theology in Toronto. “His work was most influential in the development in the key concepts of media literacy, which I helped devise and which I used around the world in one form or another,” said Pungente. “I feel honoured in winning the award and being placed in the company of past winners like Pierre Babin and Eric McLuhan, Marshall’s son”. See interview at http://tinyurl.com/o5j8d2b .

John J. Pungente, SJ, has worked in media education for over 50 years. He has co-authored Media Literacy: A Resource Guide (1989), Meet the Media (1990), More than Meets the Eye: Watching TV Watching Us (1999) and Finding God in the Dark: The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Go To The Movies (2004). He has contributed to international journals and books on media education. He has degrees in English, Film, and Theology as well as two honorary doctorates for his work in media education.

Pungente is creator and host of the award-winning Bravo! television show – SCANNING THE MOVIES – which premiered in 1997. He is producer of the award winning video A HEART TO UNDERSTAND, and the 1996 award winning teaching kit, SCANNING TELEVISION. SCANNING TELEVISION 2 (2003) has also received a number of awards.

Since 1985 he has given over 300 presentations across Canada and Australia, in Europe, Great Britain, the USA and Japan. He serves as a consultant to media professionals including CHUM Television and Warner Bros. Canada. Pungente is president of the Canadian Association of Media Education Organizations (CAMEO) and Director of the Jesuit Communication Project in Toronto where he continues to promote media education. (Source: http://tinyurl.com/nktxa8n )

The Jesuit Communication Project: http://jcp.proscenia.net/

Eight Key Concepts for Media Literacy by John Pungente: http://tinyurl.com/ndz7tm2 

Medium&Light_AwardMedium & Light Award

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