Lee Dreyfus, Ph.D.

From Telemedium, The Journal of Media Literacy

Vol 40, No 2. Published Summer 1994

The 1994 Jessie McCanse Award for individual contribution to the field of media literacy was recently announced by the NTC Board of Directors.

Former Governor of Wisconsin, the honorable Lee Dreyfus has champi­oned the concept of media literacy for more than three decades. He saw the media as an exciting new frontier in education and as an opportunity to engage young audiences in active, participatory interaction. Beginning with his own child­hood experiences as a child radio actor and his studies in speech, media and commu­nications, he became involved in such future thin.king activities as an AT&T think tank in 1958 which included Marshall McLuhan, and production with McLuhan, the follow­ing year of "Gutenberg Galaxy", a pioneer T.V. program on media literacy. In 1965, he produced what was undoubtedly the first live satellite teleconference on "Early Bird", connecting an American school class with French children in an exchange across the continents.


As a member of the University of Wisconsin faculty, Dr. Dreyfus initiated the first course in mass communications in the Fall of 1962 and was deeply involved in the developing events that led to the statewide public television network. Through his frequent public addresses dur­ing the past three decades, he has opened the eyes and minds of parents and children alike, to see the impact of the media in our lives, to take a long look at what the future holds, and help envision a knowledge-based way to manage the media in this fast mov­ing world.