The way women are por­trayed in ads, how MTV edits the Jersey Shore, or the fact that all three Amer­ican Idol judges drink Coca-​​Cola on the air is any­thing but acci­dental – according to stu­dents in North­eastern University’s Media and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Stu­dent Asso­ci­a­tion (MASCA).

Three of the club’s (for­merly known as the Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Club) 15 mem­bers recently gave a media lit­eracy pre­sen­ta­tion to ninth graders at the John D. O’Bryant School of Math & Sci­ence in Roxbury.

The North­eastern stu­dents ded­i­cated time during a busy semester and pulled this pre­sen­ta­tion off in two months from begin­ning to end,” said the MASCA fac­ulty advisor, Assis­tant Pro­fessor of Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Studies, Heidi Kevoe-​​Feldman. “I was really impressed with their enthu­siasm for ser­vice learning and desire to make con­tri­bu­tions to the community.”

Using a Power Point pre­sen­ta­tion and exam­ples the stu­dents could relate to, the under­grads explained how the inner work­ings of the media – such as own­er­ship and product place­ment deals – directly affect the way infor­ma­tion is pre­sented in adver­tising and on TV.

Think beyond media as ‘just enter­tain­ment’ and be mindful that at the end of the day, it’s a busi­ness,” explained junior com­mu­ni­ca­tions major Robyn Smith, as she pointed to images of Lady Gaga, Lil’ Wayne and Britney Spears, each of whom are clients of the same product place­ment company.

Our goal is for the stu­dents to realize that they have the power to con­trol and under­stand what they con­sume,” she added.

MASCA meets bi-​​weekly throughout the year to pre­pare for two annual events – the media lit­eracy project, which is pre­sented to a local Boston ele­men­tary or high school, and a net­working event, where a Boston-​​based non-​​profit is invited to meet, present, and net­work with students.

Kevoe-​​Feldman noted that, through greater media lit­eracy, “young stu­dents can see how manip­u­la­tive mes­sages on TV and in adver­tise­ments influ­ence and affect the deci­sions that they make every day.”

The club is com­prised mostly of com­mu­ni­ca­tion studies majors, but is open to all North­eastern stu­dents. How­ever Kevoe-​​Feldman says that in the future, she will “take a much broader and more inclu­sive approach to create net­working events and projects that will appeal to stu­dents from a variety of dis­ci­plines in the Col­lege of Arts, Media and Design and across the University.”

For more infor­ma­tion about joining MASCA, con­tact Chrissy Bar­rows, vice pres­i­dent and public rela­tions chair, at barrows.​c@​husky.​neu.​edu.