We’re in an age of media overload
Not only is there more useful information than we know how to handle, but far too much of what we watch, hear and read is mistaken, deceitful, or even dangerous. Yet we all can take control and make media serve us — all of us — by being active consumers and participants.
This course will introduce you to foundational media literacy principles that will help you make sense of the digital media environment.
You’ll learn how:
to spot misinformation
to assess credible sources and claims
to explain how the professional news media operate
to use media to participate in your community
Exploring the course concepts
It’s a messy world of information these days. News Co/Lab Co-founder Dan Gillmor outlines how and why we need to meet this challenge.
Here we go!
It’s not just about being better at consuming information. This is about how we need to be active users of media, as consumers and creators, and do that with integrity.
Principles for media consumers
Be skeptical. Exercise judgment. Open your mind. Keep asking questions. Learn media techniques.
We are all media creators
The tools for creating media have never been so numerous or easy to use. That’s why it’s more important than ever to do it correctly.
Sharing with integrity
Sharing is where consuming media overlaps with creating it, and it’s where we can have positive impact by doing it right.
A confusing info environment
Never stop asking questions about where information comes from — and why it’s there.
Trusted media sources in your community
We suggest a few organizations and people at the local level who are likely to have earned your trust, based on their longstanding practices.
We’re going to drill down into the principles we briefly discussed in Part One.
Even trustworthy media organizations make mistakes, and social media is full of misinformation. So we have to start with skepticism — about everything.
While we should be skeptical of everything, we should not be equally skeptical of everything. Judgement can help sort out what’s trustworthy.
Open your mind
We need to read widely, going far outside our cultural and ideological comfort zones. And we need to challenge our own assumptions.
Challenge your own assumptions
A varied media diet is helpful, but it’s not enough. We all need to challenge our own assumptions.
Understand how media works
We’re all media creators. But do you understand how people can use media to inform, influence, and even manipulate us?
Keep asking questions
No single article or video tells the whole story. If you have questions, you may find answers in other coverage.
Take a breath and consider a “slow news” approach, both as media consumers and creators.
We’re going to drill down into the principles we briefly discussed in Part Two.
We’re all creators! Learn more about the responsibilities and rules you should abide by.
Even though you aren’t a journalist, these principles are important for all media creators to understand, and, ideally, to practice.
Navigating social media
When was the last time a friend or family member shared a fake story online?
Building a better community
If we’re online, we’re part of online communities. Here’s how we can participate in ways that make our communities better.
Laws and norms
Cyberspace may be a more open information environment than analog media, but laws still apply.
Privacy and security
We have given up an enormous amount of privacy — and security in key ways — for the sake of convenience.
Despite the online world’s centralization, you can still have at least some control over your digital lives.
So much more
Being media savvy is an ongoing process. We need everyone’s help in making our information ecosystem a better place for us all.