Media Literacy Week, 2018
How do social media algorithms determine what you see? How do people try to game the system? Cory Zanoni discusses.
from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, published October 18, 2018
Media Literacy Week, 2018
How do social media algorithms determine what you see? How do people try to game the system? Cory Zanoni discusses.
from the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, published October 18, 2018
Snopes 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.
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
The University of Washington public lecture series, BUNK: The Information Series, brings an impressive lineup of speakers to Seattle.
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.
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
What’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
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
Tom Steyer’s NextGen America organization is working to register 100,000 students in one month at college campuses across 11 states as part of its “Welcome Week” program launching this week.
Why it matters: This is the group’s biggest voter registration effort yet, focused specifically on the most crucial bloc of non-voters, and it’s happening just three months before the 2018 midterm election.
By Alexi McCammond August 14, 2018 Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
We finally have some answers on the alleged DDoS attack on the FCC’s commenting system
Net neutrality, but questions remain about how seriously the Federal Communications Commission considered comments from the public. The FCC’s system for submitting those comments was
Two million of the 22 million comments submitted, some for people who were dead, including actress Patty Duke, who died in 2016. Nearly 8 million comments used email domains associated with FakeMailGenerator.com. About half a million were sent from Russian email addresses. And of the emails that came from legitimate email addresses, the vast majority were form letters originating from the same pro- and anti-net neutrality groups.
Then there was the controversy over athat temporarily shut down the platform on exactly the same day thousands of net neutrality supporters responded to comedian John Oliver’s call to flood the agency with comments.
That supposed cyberattack, after more than a year of speculation,, as a statement from FCC Chairman Ajit Pai revealed on Monday.…
FCC officials declined to comment for this story.
So what does it mean for the controversial repeal of net neutrality? Could the tainted public record on net neutrality help in efforts to restore the rules? To help you understand what really happened and what it all means, CNET has put together this FAQ.
By Marguerite Reardon First published June 29, 2018 Update, Aug. 6, 2018
It’s no secret that public schools, despite getting baseline funding from the State of Washington, vary widely in the money they have to spend. In the ongoing struggle to provide equitable access for all students, school libraries play a critical, and often underfunded, part.
An article from the Seattle Times (May 7, 2016) made these points:
But why such a difference? Wealthier schools have PTAs that raise money for their libraries. Other schools face difficult challenges, especially, of course, poverty: families working long hours for low pay, limited English and mobility, and the shocking reality of increasing numbers of homeless students.
Schools with inadequate funding, in fiscally challenged communities, may not have a PTA to pitch in and provide money for their libraries. They have to find the money for competing, substantial needs. These schools depend on grant money, or donations from partner school PTAs and book fairs. Underfunded school libraries with out-of-date books and materials are the rule, not the exception.
In 2016, teacher librarians requested equitable funding for all schools, with full-time librarians in every school. They asked the state to allocate $10 per student for library materials each year. Well, here it is, 2018. Did they get what they wanted?
Teacher Librarians get what they wish for. Almost.
Good news! After the passage of Senate Bill 6362, starting in fall 2018, each school district will be allocated $20 for each full-time student, per year, for school library materials.
With some school libraries spending $29.88 per student, while others scrimp by on $1.69, the chance of every library having $20 per student is a dream come true, right?
Not so fast. That amount isn’t mandated, so it’s up to each school district to decide whether or not they will comply.
Also, the 2018 Legislature didn’t actually make any new money available: since 2009 it’s been in the budget, under “other supplies.” But now the legislature has made it clear that this allocation is to be used specifically for library materials, and has provided reporting accountability.
What happens next?
Advocates in the school library community, like members of the Washington Library Association, are gearing up to ensure this opportunity isn’t lost in “other supplies.” They’re making lists of what they need to update obsolete print and electronic collections. They’re gathering data on the age of their collections and their sources of funding. They’ll be going to their school and district leaderships with clear and compelling written proposals.
School libraries are a precious resource and are critical to media literacy education. Our children deserve equitable support. Every district should have the means to build excellent library collections that reflect the diversity of their readers, offer a wide range of reading materials, and provide current, high-quality research tools.
Also, did you hug a teacher librarian today?
By Sue D. Cook Thank you to AME board members Shawn Sheller and Kathryn Egawa.
More teenagers are getting their information from so-called flop accounts.
…Luna, a 15-year-old admin on @Flops.R.us, said that she and other teens use flop accounts as a space, away from parents, teachers, or people who don’t take them seriously, to discuss issues and formulate ideas. “Flop accounts are your place where you can get your or other people’s opinions out,” she said.
“Teenagers want an outlet to express their opinions with the same kind of conviction that they generally might not be able to express at home or other parts of their life,” said Hal, a 17-year-old admin on @toomanyflops_.
“Liberal flop accounts point out problematic behavior or spread liberal opinions,” said Bea, a 16-year-old in Maryland who founded the account @hackflops. “Conservative accounts post about feminism and whether the movement is good or bad, whether you can be conservative and LGBT, or Black Lives Matter and whether it’s better or worse than All Lives Matter … I’ve formed my opinions largely based upon what I see in the flop community…
Siva Vaidhyanathan, a media-studies professor at the University of Virginia, said he thinks flop accounts are a good thing. “You have people engaging directly with claims about the world and arguing about truthfulness and relevance in the comments. It’s good that that’s happening,” he said. “If young people are getting more politically engaged because of it, all the better.”
By Taylor Lorenz, July 26, 2018 Read more at The Atlantic
Image courtesy of INSTAGRAM / THANH DO / THE ATLANTIC
According to reports by the New York Times and the Observer, a research firm called Cambridge Analytica collected millions of Facebook users’ personal information without their consent — and people are mad. Many don’t trust Facebook with their data anymore, and they’re threatening to delete their accounts.
But Facebook and its network of apps, including Messenger, Instagram, and WhatsApp, are important communication lines for a lot of people, so deleting your account might not be a realistic option. You can, however, dial back your use and reduce the amount of information you give the site. Here’s how.
Break your habit and limit your use of the platform.
Just by signing up for the service, you’ve agreed to let Facebook track your activity and constantly collect data about you. By reducing the time you spend on the site, interaction with posts, and content you upload, you are also reducing the amount of data Facebook is gathering from you. And remember, this data collection applies to Facebook — and everywhere you’ve signed in with Facebook, including Facebook-owned Instagram and WhatsApp, as well as, to a lesser extent, third-party websites like Spotify.
Log out of Facebook before browsing the web.
Any page that has a Facebook Like button installed most likely uses a Facebook pixel. Even pages that don’t have a Like button can have a pixel. This means it’s possible that Facebook knows most of your web browsing history.
You can prevent this tracking by logging out of Facebook and using Facebook only in “incognito” or “private” browsing mode in your web browser. Once you’ve logged out, be sure to clear your cookies. In Chrome, select Chrome from menu bar > Clear browsing data > Time range: All time (Note: This will sign you out of most websites).
By Nicole Nguyen, March 20, 2018 Read more at BuzzFeed News
Image courtesy of Chesnot / Getty Images
“The tide is turning. The pressure is mounting. The floodgates are open.”—Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.)
“The dam is breaking, as it should.” That’s how Faiz Shakir, the ACLU’s national political director, responded on Tuesday after Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado became the first House Republican to sign a petition to force a vote on a measure that would reinstate net neutrality protections that the GOP-controlled Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rolled back in December.
“Rep. Coffman’s support to undo FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s repeal of net neutrality shows that public pressure is continuing to build on this issue and cannot be ignored this November,” Shakir added. “Other House members should take heed of Coffman’s direction and stand by the overwhelming majority of their constituents, not corporate interests.”
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.
Net neutrality has ended and as a result, the internet landscape will change.
Free Press is urging individuals to take action:
The Senate has voted in favor of the CRA effort to save Net Neutrality!
This is a huge victory, but we still have to get a majority of the House of Representatives on board before we officially save the internet.
We deserve to celebrate, but we can’t lose momentum: The fate of the free and open internet now hinges on the vote in the House.
Now’s the time to flood the congressional switchboard with more calls than it can handle. We must show every representative that protecting the internet from AT&T, Comcast and Verizon is a defining issue of our time.
Tell your rep to support the CRA and sign the discharge petition today.
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.
A new national study says Washington is one of 46 states whose high-school graduation requirements don’t line up with admission requirements for public universities.
But the study doesn’t capture major changes that are on the horizon here.
The audit of state high-school graduation requirements, by the Center for American Progress, looks at coursework requirements in the major subjects and asks whether the requirements to earn a basic diploma also qualify a student for enrollment at a public college.
The report found just four states — Louisiana, Michigan, South Dakota and Tennessee — matched high-school diploma requirements with public-college requirements.
In Washington, however, things are about to change. Continue reading “Report: Washington high-school requirements not enough for college admissions”
Here’s one among the many provocative questions raised by Kendrick Lamar’s Damn winning the Pulitzer Prize for Music: Is Damn the best work of rap or pop ever made? The Pulitzers, whose only stated criteria is “for distinguished musical composition by an American” in the eligible timeframe, have previously only awarded classical and jazz artists. By making an exception for Lamar, the Pulitzers could be seen as saying that he is, well, the exception. That only Lamar’s blazingly intricate 14-track reckoning with vice and Geraldo Rivera can compete with rarefied types like Caroline Shaw (winner in 2013), Wynton Marsalis (1997), or Aaron Copland (1945). That the rest of pop—not to mention the rest of hip-hop—remains of an unmentionable tier, except maybe for Bob Dylan, who won a special citation from the Pulitzers in 2008.
This is a dubious and snobbish thought, yes—but it’s a result of the inevitably thorny logic that always goes along with artistic awards-giving. That it took until 2018 for the Pulitzers to award a work of rap or pop might say something about the evolution of those genres, and Damn really is a work of staggering, arguably historic, sophistication. I look forward to reading the sure-to-come articles positioning it as the greatest pop work ever (even above Migos, who are Better Than the Beatles™). But that discussion will be a sideshow. The rapper’s win is probably more significant to the reputation of the prize itself than to the prizewinner; it almost feels as though the Pulitzers won a Kendrick Lamar, and not the other way around. Continue reading “Kendrick Lamar and the shell game of ‘Respect’”
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.
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”
“I’m 54 years old and my paycheck is $1,980 [a month]. I can’t afford f****** health insurance.”
That’s one of the first things Larry Cagle says on the phone. He is spitting nails. The Tulsa English teacher is one of the leaders of a grassroots organizing group, Oklahoma Teachers United, that they say represents thousands of public school teachers around the state. His group, and both of Oklahoma’s teachers unions, support the walkout and rally happening across the state Monday in support of higher wages and more state revenue.
Teachers are striking even though state legislators passed a pay raise of about $6,000 last week. That vote followed earlier walkouts. The bill, if signed, would bring Oklahoma’s teacher salaries from among the lowest in the nation, to the middle of the pack.
The Oklahoma teachers are not the only ones unhappy.
Continue reading “Teachers are marching ahead of their unions, from Oklahoma to Arizona”
Before Facebook suspended Aleksandr Kogan from its platform for the data harvesting “scam” at the centre of the unfolding Cambridge Analytica scandal, the social media company enjoyed a close enough relationship with the researcher that it provided him with an anonymised, aggregate dataset of 57bn Facebook friendships.
Facebook provided the dataset of “every friendship formed in 2011 in every country in the world at the national aggregate level” to Kogan’s University of Cambridge laboratory for a study on international friendships published in Personality and Individual Differences in 2015. Two Facebook employees were named as co-authors of the study, alongside researchers from Cambridge, Harvard and the University of California, Berkeley. Kogan was publishing under the name Aleksandr Spectre at the time.
Read more from The Guardian. Image courtesy of The Guardian.
Washington state has a new law to protect net neutrality at a time when the feds are getting rid of it.
In a bipartisan effort, the state’s legislators passed House Bill 2282. which was signed into law Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee.
“Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet,” Inslee said at the bill signing.
History was made this month when the Washington State Office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction (OSPI) announced its new media literacy education grant program, funded by recently passed legislation. The grant application package was released September 16, 2019.
The submission deadline is 4 p.m., October 21, 2019.
Grants will be awarded on a competitive basis to educational teams representing Washington’s K-12 system. Teams will be expected to develop and share openly-licensed curriculum unitsfocused on one of three subject areas:social studies, English language arts, or health. A unique feature of these units will be that they will be developed using a media literacy lens to address the content that is commonly considered in one of these subject areas.
Check out this link for a 30-minute recording of the webinar that explains the new grant program, the PowerPoint for the webinar, and a Q & A document.
For more information, contact Dennis Small, OSPI Educational Technology Director, email@example.com
Marilyn Cohen, Action for Media Education (AME) Executive Director, has been honored with the 2018 Jessie McCanse Award, deemed the “Nobel Prize” of media literacy.
The National Telemedia Council (NTC) recognizes individuals whose longtime contributions to media literacy exemplify the high principles and dedication of the NTC founder. The NTC, a national non-profit founded in 1953, is the oldest ongoing media literacy organization in the United States.
AME congratulates the four recipients: Marilyn Cohen of Seattle, Washington, Henry Jenkins of Los Angeles, California, Bill Siemering of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Carolyn Wilson of Ontario, Canada.Continue reading “AME’s Marilyn Cohen honored with National Telemedia Council award”
The Internet has morphed from a tool providing efficiencies for consumers and businesses to an elemental force that is profoundly reshaping our societies and our world.
Former Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen was among the earliest to write about the potential dangers that the Internet poses to our culture and society. Now he takes our stage with his new book How to Fix the Future, looking to the past to learn how we might change our future. Keen discusses how societies tamed the excesses of the Industrial Revolution, which—like its digital counterpart—demolished long-standing models of living, ruined harmonious environments, and altered the business world beyond recognition. Keen is joined onstage by Alex Stonehill, Head of Creative Strategy at University of Washington’s Communication and Leadership Program.
This event will be held Thursday, February 8 at 7:30 p.m. at University Lutheran Church.
Address is1604 NE 50th St, Seattle, WA 98105 in the Ravenna neighborhood.
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $5.
For more information and to buy tickets visit the Town Hall website.