With all the buzz about fake news Thing 14: News Literacy is a very timely topic and one that deserves much attention. After reviewing the list of reading and tools I have decided that this item deserves double the time so I will be breaking this into two sections. For part 1 I will read a selection of articles and in Part 2 I will explore some of the various tools. I will summarize and reflect on the articles here.
One of the things that often trips me up is when students ask me to define a term that, while I feel I know what it means I don’t have a concrete definition ready to go. In reading the intro to this “thing” I determined I had better have definitions ready for:
- News Literacy: The ability to use critical thinking skills to judge the reliability and credibility of news reports, whether they come via print, television or the Internet. Source: Stonybrook University Center for News Literacy Glossary
- Satire Sites present news with a comical, often exaggerated spin Source: Joyce Valenza Blog Post
- Clickbait Miriam-Webster provides a good definition a better explaination as to the why is available at Urban Dictionary
- Fake News This one I believe the students could define for themselves. It would benefit us to show them examples such as Snopes fake news archive.
Time Lapse Warning: Reading the article I am about to mention will NOT freeze time. After following the links and watching the videos you will realize 2 hours have passed. I suggest you read the article yourself as my summary does not do it justice.
In her November 26, 2016 blog post titled Truth, truthiness, triangulation: A news literacy toolkit for a “post-truth” world Joyce Valenza stresses that in a news landscape with challenges facing even professional journalists “We need to teach the important lessons of everyday civics for new consumption and production landscapes”. She discusses a survey given to students from Middle school to college and how the students were found to lack the skills needed to navigate our currently world. The TedEd video will be useful in opening a conversation with students. The variety of links provided were very helpful in forming my thinking before working with students. . The biggest take-away: We need to do more than teach our students that there are GOOD and BAD websites. The playing field has expanded and we need to teach them how to critically analyze news.
The article News Literacy: What Not to Do looks at news literacy as it relates to American journalist. The article makes the excellent point that rather than teaching news literacy as a lower level journalism class it “needs to be thought about as teaching a different set of skills—more focused on those who consume news and not those who produce it.” Their final statement forms a foundation of our teaching.
News literacy programs must focus on building learners’ critical thinking and creative communication skills. When this happens, news consumers will be better able to understand, appreciate and critique the news while using the tools they’ve been given to evaluate its fairness, transparency and accuracy.
While here I also spent time examining Snopes. This is a tool that I believe should be added to any news literacy toolbox.