Turn Up The Volume On Media Literacy

THE Community Forum strategy compels newspapers to improve citizens’ news or media literacy.

That’s because community-focused publishers and editors should be motivated to help readers repel misinformation, dangerous manipulations, and fake news sources.

Looking for a timely angle?

Next week, one of the non-profit groups seeking to advance media literacy is hosting the seventh annual U.S. Media Literacy Week (Oct. 25-29).

The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) says it will celebrate this year’s theme that defines media literacy as the ability to ACCESS, ANALYZE, EVALUATE, CREATE and ACT using all forms of communication. It welcomes partners.

Newspapers should consider giving voice to the celebration, which the association said was inspired by Canada’s Media Literacy Week (now in its 15th year).

“So each day will focus on one of those words and we encourage participants to organize events, teach a lesson, or create media related to the day’s theme,” the association said. “But don’t worry if you can’t! Media Literacy Week is all-encompassing and it’s totally fine to combine multiple theme words into an event or lesson. “

The association acknowledges there are many different types of media literacy definitions.

“Just like you would evaluate information for a research report for a class assignment, all forms of media literacy encourage students to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act on all types of media responsibly. This includes, but is not limited to, news media, social media, movies, television, music, advertisements, and more,” NAMLE notes in its frequently asked question section.

To learn more, check out the association’s website.

The Relevance Project recommends using THE Community Forum to discuss media or news literacy, borrowing from the week’s suggested result: “To become a successful student, responsible citizen, productive worker, or competent and conscientious consumer, individuals need to develop expertise with the increasingly sophisticated information and entertainment media that address us on a multi-sensory level, affecting the way we think, feel, and behave.”

And this:

“Today’s information and entertainment technologies communicate to us through a powerful combination of words, images, and sounds. As such, we need to develop a wider set of literacy skills helping us to both comprehend the messages we receive and effectively utilize these tools to design and distribute our own messages. Being literate in a media age requires critical thinking skills that empower us as we make decisions, whether in the classroom, the living room, the workplace, the boardroom, or the voting booth.”

In January, the News Literacy Project and E.W. Scripps Co. conducted National News Literacy Week which also sought to raise awareness.

The News Literacy Project is another potential partner for newspapers.

When it comes to news literacy, you can’t have too many collaborators or friends.

Here’s to U.S. Media Literacy Week 2021.

–Tom Silvestri

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