Enhancing media literacy, “the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, communicate and create using all forms of communication,” is crucial to national and global efforts to combat the spread of fake news and false information,” according to NAMLE. Media Literacy Week highlights the power and essential role of education.
At a time when numerous corporate and tech leaders have heightened their efforts to reduce and regulate the sharing of misinformation, NewseumED, part of the Freedom Forum Institute, fills an increasingly significant gap in education. NewseumED’s quality resources, free with registration at NewseumED.org, render its important work more relevant than ever. Learners of all ages use its tools to cultivate an understanding of First Amendment freedoms as well as essential media literacy skills.
In support of Media Literacy Week, NewseumED will be running daily bell ringer activities throughout its social media channels — each with a video related to a letter in NewseumED’s acronym E.S.C.A.P.E. to evaluate information: evidence, source, context, audience, purpose and execution.
In addition, NewseumED is deepening its community connections through “Finding Facts in the Age of Fake News,” a new library program for adults based on its popular “Fighting Fake News” student class. This 90-minute workshop, taught by volunteer educators, tackles buzzwords, bots and bad actors in media. Participants get clear definitions of current media terms, practical tools to identify fake and flawed news, and practice with real examples. Twenty programs are scheduled for libraries from Maryland to Missouri through March 2019, with more requests coming in weekly. Celebrate Media Literacy Week by “Finding Facts” at the Washington County library in Hagerstown, Md., on Monday, Nov. 5, at 6 p.m.
NewseumED continues to pave the way as leaders in media literacy education. Last month, NewseumED launched its newest EDCollection, or curated set of resources — Fact Finder: Your Foolproof Guide to Media Literacy. In this collection, eight skill-building lesson plans introduce essential media literacy concepts, such as bias and sources, through engaging explainer videos and colorful infographics that help students revisit, retain and apply the key concepts. Three reporting lessons help students take what they’ve learned and apply it to their own content creation, inspired by the issues that matter to them.
NewseumED also spearheaded a digital ad campaign on Facebook in advance of U.S. midterm elections which concludes tomorrow, Nov. 6, on Election Day. The campaign aims to empower potential voters to make informed choices based on concrete and complete facts instead of insinuations, partial truths and deep-seated suspicions. The campaign is composed of a series of 10 colorful graphics that illustrate tips from NewseumED’s Weed Out Propaganda infographic, which uses the acronym S.E.E.D. to help people spot common propaganda techniques: simplification, exploitation, exaggeration and division. More than 130,000 people have visited the related #CantDupeMe landing page on NewseumED.org during the three-week campaign, and many have commented on the importance of an educated citizenry. The ad campaign has prompted hundreds to join the conversation on Facebook, including Brian Eiken, who noted, “This is the most reasonable set of tips I’ve heard in years.”
Over the past few months, NewseumED has also bolstered its efforts to promote and improve media literacy internationally by continuing to enter the global discussion surrounding the critical topic. Last month, Barbara McCormack, vice president of education, made six presentations in three days in Bangladesh. Among those in attendance: journalists, college students and faculty, government officials, diplomats, online activists and civil society members.
“I was impressed with their commitment to educating the public on media literacy to help combat the spread of misinformation,” said McCormack, who also spoke at the Global Media Literacy Week conference in Lithuania in late October. NewseumED staff also have or will travel to Bulgaria, Ukraine, Ecuador, Latvia and Poland for similar sessions.