Education, Events, Fake News, Social Media, Technology

Download our handout “You already teach media literacy if…”

Teachers and parents can be at a loss on the topic of media literacy.  We know it’s important—our young people are bombarded with messages constantly. How can we help them understand what they’re seeing, reading, and hearing? Let alone creating and sharing themselves! How can we help them evaluate the messenger as well as the message?

Click the image below to open it in a new window.AMEMediaLiteracyInfoGraphicThis guide for teachers and parents has been created as part of Media Literacy Week by two AME board members, Ethan Delavan (high school IT director) and Janith Pewitt (high school classroom teacher). Michael Danielson, board chair (teacher and EdTech director) designed the publication.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of all 14 ideas.

Guess what, you’re already teaching media literacy!

 

Education, Events, Fake News, News, Social Media

WA Governor Jay Inslee proclaims Media Literacy Week, Nov. 5-9

For the first time, the State of Washington has issued a proclamation to raise awareness of Media Literacy Education and commemorate the 4th Annual Media Literacy Week, which is observed locally, nationally, and internationally.

Educators, students, parents, and adult advocates invite you to participate in a week of student activities, discussions, idea sharing, and celebration of work that promotes media literacy in communities around the world as an essential life skill for the 21st century.

Media Literacy Week is hosted by The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE), with hundreds of organizations, schools, educators, partners, and supporters in the U.S. alone. See how you can participate!

Thank you to Governor Inslee and the Washington State Legislature for your continued support of media literacy education for students of all ages.

To download or view the proclamation, click on the image below or click here.

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Fake News, News, People, Politics, Social Media

Lies, lies and more lies. Out of an old Tacoma house, fact-checking site Snopes uncovers them

374272d8-cc2f-11e8-bed9-4cc6adde09f1-1560x1021.jpgSnopes CEO David Mikkelson says the fact-checking website really took off after Sept. 11. “Conspiracy theories were running rampant.” (Greg Gilbert / The Seattle Times)

Snopes, the country’s most popular hoax-debunking site, is run by its founder out of a 97-year-old house in Tacoma. And is it ever busy, with 47 of its “Hot 50” posts having something to do with politics.

Here, in a 97-year-old frame house in the city’s North End, is the headquarters of America’s most popular hoax-debunking website.

The command center for Snopes.com is an upstairs bedroom with shelving and a laptop placed atop some books and a cardboard box.

These are busy times.

Is This a Photograph of Christine Blasey Ford with Bill Clinton? False.

Did Protesters Vandalize Brett Kavanaugh’s House? False.

Is This a Photograph of a Wasted Brett Kavanaugh? False.

Is This a Photograph of Christine Blasey Ford Partying? False.

All those viral hoaxes, spread by social media, have created a market for fact-checking sites, with Snopes, started in 1994, being the champ.

It gets 32 million visits a month on desktop and mobile, according to Similar.Web.com, an industry site that measures web traffic. Its closest competitors are The Straight Dope (4 million monthly visits) and FactCheck (3 million).

From his bedroom office, David Mikkelson, Snopes publisher and CEO, runs a site employing 16 people across the country, half of them fact-checkers and the rest on the business and web side.

Read more at The Seattle Times

By Eric Lacitis, Seattle Times staff reporter   Oct. 10, 2018

Education, Events, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media

UW Lecture Series on Media Literacy

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The University of Washington public lecture series, BUNK: The Information Series, brings an impressive lineup of speakers to Seattle.

  • Author and political scientist Cornell Clayton will speak October 9, “Off the Rails: Populism and Paranoia in American Politics.”
  • Renee Hobbs, a leader in the field of media literacy education, will speak November 28, “Mind Over Media: Teaching About Propaganda.”

The lectures are free and open to the public, but reservations are required and you must act quickly to reserve a seat.

See the full schedule of speakers.

Media Literacy Week, November 5-9, 2018 — It’s less than a month away!

Media Literacy Week activities and events raise awareness about the importance of media literacy education for today’s students, and showcase the amazing work of educators, students, and organizations across the US. Now in its fourth year, Media Literacy Week is sponsored by the National Association of Media Literacy Education (NAMLE).

NAMLE has named Ethan Delavan, Action for Media Education (AME) board member, as Washington’s Media Literacy Week chair. AME is a NAMLE partner in this annual event.

For updates on Media Literacy Week in Washington, check the AME blogFacebook, or Twitter.

Education, Events, Fake News

You can be a part of Media Literacy Week, Nov. 5-9

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From the website of the National Association for Media Literacy Education, NAMLE

Media Literacy Week is designed to bring attention and visibility to media literacy education in the United States. Inspired by Canada’s Media Literacy Week now in its 13th year, the National Association for Media Literacy Education leads the efforts to coordinate a media literacy week in the United States to showcase the work of amazing media literacy educators and organizations around the country.

The mission of Media Literacy Week is to highlight the power of media literacy education and its essential role in education today.

Whether you are an individual teacher, an employee at an organization, or a researcher, you can get involved with Media Literacy Week. Between November 5 and 9, plan your own Media Literacy Event for your community. It’s up to you to decide what you want to organize, but if you need help planning, feel free to reach out to medialiteracyweek@namle.net.

Some ideas to get you started:

  • Gather teachers for a professional development workshop
  • Organize a screening and panel discussion at your school or in your community
  • Create a film festival of youth media projects developed in your classroom
  • Take your students on a tour of a local television station
  • Host a webinar about news literacy
  • Partner with your local maker space and explore new forms of reading and writing with emergent technology
  • Explore a community issue and have youth come up with civically-minded creative solutions
  • Debate the ethical opportunities and challenges of what “free” or “private” means online

Share your plans with NAMLE and we will post your event on the Media Literacy Week website. Send us your logo and we will add you to the list of partners.

We hope you will be a part of the 4th Annual Media Literacy Week in the United States.

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media, Technology

Media Literacy Project: Why should we trust journalists?

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Professional journalists face more scrutiny in today’s crowded information marketplace because readers confuse them with bloggers and a cadre of online opinion scribes.

Journalism’s essence is a “discipline of verification,” according to Bill Kovach and Tom Rosenstiel of the American Press Institute. This means that journalists pursue verification of facts as the first order of business. If the journalists do not follow these standards, their careers and reputations are on the line.

Readers should understand there are important differences between professional journalists and everyday bloggers. Journalists are held to higher standards. They are required to get specific training through journalism degrees and are held to employment standards that ensure they serve their audiences by providing relevant and reliable stories that matter to their communities.

Read more at The Free Press

By Kevin Krohn and Austin Moorhouse   July 14, 2017

 

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Resources

Information, propaganda, misinformation, and disinformation: A guide to evaluating information

hearing-clipart-hearing-ears-clipart-1.pngWhat’s the difference between propaganda and disinformation? Why is misinformation different from disinformation? Not completely sure?

Parents, teachers, and anyone interested in media literacy can sort out what’s coming at us in today’s news cycle with the help of this website from the Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries.

Two short videos, Evaluating Sources for Credibility, and Quick Check for your Sources: The TRAPP Method are a good place to start, and could generate lively classroom discussions.

Is someone trying to provoke you to a desired response, using information based in fact? Or is the information just wrong or mistaken? What if it’s a calculated, deliberate lie?

Find out now! Check out the guide from Johns Hopkins Sheridan Libraries

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media

New WordPress policy allows it to shut down blogs of Sandy Hook deniers

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The crackdown on hate speech continues:

WordPress has taken down a handful alt-right blogs, according to several complaints from affected blog owners and readers who claim the sites were removed from WordPress.com, despite not being in violation of the company’s Terms of Service. Some site owners also said they were not notified of the shutdown in advance and have lost their work. The removals, we’ve learned, are in part due to a new policy WordPress has rolled out that now prohibits blogs from the “malicious publication of unauthorized, identifying images of minors.”

Yes, that’s right: the company has created a new rule to specifically handle the Sandy Hook conspiracists, and boot them from WordPress.com.

While some of the affected sites had already been flagged for other violations, many were hosting Sandy Hook conspiracy theories and other “false flag” content.

Read more at TechCrunch

By Sarah Perez    August 16, 2018

Education, Fake News, News, Politics, Social Media

The death of truth: how we gave up on facts and ended up with Trump

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Media literacy education teaches us how to evaluate sources and understand how information can be manipulated. This excellent article from The Guardian is well worth reading.

For decades now, objectivity – or even the idea that people can aspire toward ascertaining the best available truth – has been falling out of favour. Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s well-known observation that “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not to his own facts” is more timely than ever: polarisation has grown so extreme that voters have a hard time even agreeing on the same facts. This has been exponentially accelerated by social media, which connects users with like-minded members and supplies them with customised news feeds that reinforce their preconceptions, allowing them to live in ever narrower silos.

Read more at The Guardian.

Education, Fake News, News

The News Literacy Project: A resource for teachers

Teachers looking for tools to educate middle school and high school students about important news literacy skills can check out The News Literacy Project (NLP). This nonpartisan education nonprofit offers consulting services, professional development opportunities for educators, a virtual classroom experience and other resources.

Continue reading “The News Literacy Project: A resource for teachers”

Fake News, News, Take Action

Take action: Prevent Sinclair Broadcast Group and Tribune Media merger

You may have seen a viral video of friendly local news anchors across the nation reading from a frighteningly Orwellian script. The video is making millions sit up and ask:

What the hell is happening to local news? The answer is Sinclair.

Sinclair Broadcast Group is the nation’s largest broadcaster. It mandated that all its news stations read a statement from the same script, one that seemed to denounce independent, unbiased reporting in favor of an oddly pro-Trump sounding, fake news agenda. It’s even created turmoil in our local KOMO News station, owned by Sinclair Broadcast Group.

Sinclair’s latest project is a mega-merger with Tribune Media, a move that would allow biased, inaccurate, sensational reporting to reach more than 70 percent of the U.S. population.

We urge the FCC to listen to communities and block this despicable deal.

The FCC must deny the Sinclair-Tribune merger. Sinclair has consistently proven itself to be an unworthy steward of the public airwaves — promoting racist commentators, spreading Trump propaganda, slashing newsroom staff, and forcing bigoted must-run content on local stations — and should not be rewarded with a merger that will allow the company to double down on its bad behavior.

Take action to stop this merger and allow news reporting to be fair and accurate, with balanced media-ownership protection policies in place. Make your voice heard here.

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Fake News, News, People

Sinclair made dozens of local news anchors recite the same script

Image from fro nch via YouTube

On local news stations across the United States last month, dozens of anchors gave the same speech to their combined millions of viewers.

It included a warning about fake news, a promise to report fairly and accurately and a request that viewers go to the station’s website and comment “if you believe our coverage is unfair.”

It may not have seemed strange to individual viewers. But Timothy Burke, the video director at Deadspin, had read a report last monthfrom CNN, which quoted local station anchors who were uncomfortable with the speech. Continue reading “Sinclair made dozens of local news anchors recite the same script”

Education, Fake News, News

This is what students think about ‘fake news’ and the media

In yesterday’s edition of News Hour on PBS, there was an interesting segment on children and fake news. Here’s the description:

In an era marked by cries of “fake news,” teaching media literacy skills to young consumers is more important than ever. How do schools teach students consuming and sharing news responsibly? PBS Newshour’s Student Reporting Labs talks to students about how they experience news and what they think about journalism today.

To watch the segment, click on the image below. To watch the entire episode, click here.

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Fake News, News

Learning to spot fake news: Start with a gut check

Which of these statements seems more trustworthy to you?

1) Americans are drowning in a tsunami of ignorance! There is a conspiracy at the highest levels to replace all knowledge with propaganda and disinformation.

2) A recent Stanford University report found that more than 80 percent of middle schoolers didn’t understand that the phrase “sponsored content” meant “advertising.”

For most of the NPR audience, this shouldn’t be a tough question. The first sentence is a florid, mislabeled statement of opinion with an unverifiable, overgeneralized, ideological claim (“conspiracy at the highest levels”).

The second is more measured in tone and limited in scope. And, it has a link that goes straight to the original source: a press release from a reputable university.

But these days, statements of all stripes are bombarding us via broadcast and social media. The trick is classifying them correctly before we swallow them ourselves, much less before we hit “Like,” “Share” or “Retweet.”

And that is the goal of an educational initiative that will be adopted by 10 universities across the country this spring.

Read more at NPR.

Image courtesy of NPR.

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Education, Fake News, News

Fake news, fake data

Some people have called 2016 the year of fake news. False articles with gripping headlines about everything from the demise of Taco Bell to Hillary Clinton’s selling weapons to ISIS took social media by storm. Millions of people clicked, read, and shared these stories that had no basis in fact.

But it’s not just the articles that can be false. Many fake news sites use bad data or misleading graphs. Even mainstream media outlets are guilty of creating graphs that exaggerate or understate results. Bad graphs and inaccurate data can cause readers to draw the wrong conclusions.

These invented stories supported by bad data are part of a new trend. Fake news websites—many with official-sounding names and professional-looking designs—are multiplying. Experts warn that fake news sites are weakening the public’s ability to distinguish between fact and fiction.

Read more at Scholastic.

Image courtesy of Scholastic.

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Fake News, News, Places

Fake news fills information void in Las Vegas shooting

As law enforcement and news organizations raced to piece together what happened during the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history Sunday night in Las Vegas, web denizens less wedded to the truth rushed in to provide details of their own—which quickly went viral.

Links to the 4chan website that falsely identified the shooter and called him a leftist and Democratic supporter were showing up on the top of Google search results, according to tweets by Buzzfeed News reporter Ryan Broderick.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

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Fake News, News, Social Media, Technology

To test your fake news judgment, play this game

Fake news has been on Maggie Farley’s mind further back than 2016 when President Trump brought the term into the vernacular.

Farley, a veteran journalist, says we’ve had fake news forever and that “people have always been trying to manipulate information for their own ends,” but she calls what we’re seeing now “Fake news with a capital F.” In other words, extreme in its ambition for financial gain or political power.

“Before, the biggest concern was, ‘Are people being confused by opinion; are people being tricked by spin?’ ” Now, Farley says, the stakes are much higher.

So one day she says an idea came to her: build a game to test users’ ability to detect fake news from real.

Voilà, Factitious. Give it a shot. (And take it from us, it’s not as easy as you might think!)

Read more at NPR.

Image courtesy of NPR.

Fake News, News, Social Media, Technology

Twitter may introduce feature to let users flag ‘fake news’

Twitter is considering a feature that would let users flag tweets that are false or inaccurate, in an attempt to combat the spread of disinformation on the platform.

The new feature, reported by the Washington Post, would allow Twitter users to report a post as misleading, in the same way they can currently report individual tweets as spam, or abusive or harmful.

The move would follow Facebook, which introduced a way for users to report “fake news” in December last year. That tool allows US users of the site to report “purposefully fake or deceitful news” to the site’s moderators. In the UK, however, the same option only allows users to block or message the poster, offering no way to bring the posts to the attention of the administrators.

Read more at The Guardian.

Image courtesy of The Guardian.

Education, Fake News, News

New ideas to fight fake news – and Knight money to do so

Three months ago, the Knight Foundation asked people to submit their ideas for ways to battle fake news and bolster factual journalism.

And boy, did they.

More than 800 responded.

On Thursday, the foundation and two partners announced 20 winners, each to receive a $50,000 grant to further their work.

They include Baltimore-based Veracity.ai, which wants to curb the financial incentive for creating fake news via automatically updated lists of misleading websites.

Another winner is Who Said What, based in San Francisco, which aims to help people more easily fact-check audio and video news clips through a search tool that annotates millions of those clips.

Read more at Philly.

Image courtesy of Philly.

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Education, Fake News, News, Technology

Humans can’t expect AI to just fight fake news for them

Here’s some news that’s not fake: Not everything you can read on the internet is true. Trouble is, it can be hard to know truths from untruths, and there’s evidence untruths travel faster. Many hands have been wrung in recent months over what to do about made-up news stories created to convert social media shares into page views, ad dollars, and perhaps even political traction. The modest first results from an effort to crowdsource machine learning technology to help stem the flood of falsity are a reminder that machines may help us grapple with fake news—but only if humans take the lead.

Late last year, Facebook’s director of AI research Yann LeCun told journalists that machine learning technology that could squash fake news “either exists or can be developed.” The company has since said it tweaked the News Feed to suppress fake news, although it’s unclear to what effect. Not long after LeCun’s comment, a group of academics, tech industry insiders, and journalists launched their own project called the Fake News Challenge to try and get fake news-detecting algorithms built out in the open.

The first results from that effort were released this morning. The algorithms the winning teams created might help rein in online misinformation, but as tools to speed up humans working on the problem, not autonomous fake news killbots.

Read more at Wired.

Image courtesy of Wired.

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Fake News, News

Fake news is unbelievably cheap to produce

Judging by the state of Facebook feeds everywhere, fake news is now a very real problem—and one that appears to have equally real consequences by shaping political and social situations. Now, a new report puts some numbers to the costs of running a fake-news campaign, revealing that a key part of the problem may be that doing so is incredibly affordable.

There are some obvious steps required in launching a fake-news assault. First, you need some fake news—it needn’t be based on fact, but it better have a compelling headline or take the form of an easy-to-digest video, and it ought appeal to the existing biases and ideologies of potential viewers. Then, you need to push it out via social networks, using bots or real humans that you’ve coerced into doing your bidding. Finally, you’ll need likes and shares (again performed by either bots or real people) to ensure that the content saturates the feeds of your targets—and, with any luck, warps their perception of reality.

Read more at the MIT Technology Review.

Fake News, News

Here’s who fake news affects most

The concept of fake news came to the forefront during last year’s contested US presidential campaign as numerous political stories containing made-up information surfaced on the internet.

With the existence of social media, such misinformation, designed to attract advertising dollars or promote a political cause, can be spread faster and further than ever before.

But fake news has implications far beyond the world of politics. Fact-checking and sourcing become even more important for legacy media conglomerates, while social-media platforms are increasingly under fire for the content that gets published on their platforms. Brands also have to be more careful with where they spend their ad dollars as fears creep in that their ads can appear on the wrong story.

Read more at Business Insider.

Image courtesy of Business Insider.

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Fake News, News

Teens think they’re really good at spotting fake news

fake news teensWe wanted to poll some actual high schoolers, and the social app After School verifies its users are actually in high school through their Facebook and other factors. Teens from all 50 states answered poll questions run in the app – just over 39,000 teens in total.

A study from Stanford last year showed that middle and high school students aren’t very good at determining fake news – especially more nuanced things like noticing bias in a source, or understanding the difference between sponsored content and a regular article. (If you want to test your own ability to sniff out fake news, try one of our quizzes to see if you’re actually as good as you think.)

After the 2016 election brought the scourge of fake news into the national conversation, some schools started teaching kids media literacy and how to spot false stories on social media.

The polling standards here are not exactly scientifically rigorous, considering this survey’s results came from a bunch of kids on an app answering a poll. So take this with a grain of salt.

Read more at Buzzfeed.

Image courtesy of Buzzfeed.