Lynn Ziegler, one of Action for Media Education’s founding members, died April 14. Lynn had served as AME’s media critic since the early ’90s. Her long career included writing weekly columns on children’s TV and family films for Northwest newspapers. She was a guest on national and regional radio and TV to promote quality programming for children, and was a television news writer and producer for KOMO-TV.
After leaving KOMO, Lynn created a public service announcement promoting healthy nutritional choices for children. Her MTV-style “Nutri-Rap” featured somersaulting fruits and vegetables and “a rainbow of Northwest children giving a thumbs up for good nutrition.” This spot won several awards: a Telly, two PIXI Awards, and two regional EMMYs.
One of her proudest accomplishments, Spongeheadz: U & Me, is a book Lynn described as “the essential parent handbook for the 21stCentury.” Written when TV was dominant, it still contains valuable tips for parents. In her book, and throughout her life, Lynn celebrated diversity; “That’s why you’ll find drawings by children of every color and nationality inside these pages.” Lynn knew that children need to see “faces that look like his or her own” in books and other media.
She greatly valued her strong connection with Native American communities on the Kitsap Peninsula, and worked as an educator and mentor to many Native American youth.
Her experience as an educator led to her involvement with some of the statewide teen health projects sponsored by the Washington State Department of Health and the Northwest Center for Excellence in Media Literacy, University of Washington. These projects trained high school students to teach younger youth about teen health issues such as pregnancy prevention. Lynn was strongly committed to promoting youth empowerment, and these projects included a subject she was passionate about—media literacy education.
Lynn launched one of AME’s first media literacy projects in the early ’90s. The PIXI awards honored high quality children’s television programming. Teams of professionals and parents across the state established the criteria that judges used to choose PIXI award recipients. The PIXI awards project, under Lynn’s leadership, was one of AME’s major activities throughout the organization’s early years.
Lynn was also a member Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME), the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood, Free Press, and the National Academy of Television Arts and Science (NATAS).
We in AME are deeply saddened by Lynn’s passing. She is survived by her children Chris, Jesse, and Alik. Lynn’s staunch advocacy for all children will remain an inspiration. She will be greatly missed for her wonderful sense of humor, her generosity, and her warm and loving heart, expressed in so many ways to all whose lives she touched.
by Marilyn Cohen and Sue D. Cook