3 Powerful Places to Help Keep You Current on News Literacy

Jacquelyn Whiting

Jacquelyn is a veteran public school educator certified in both social studies and library media. She is a Google Certified Innovator and Local Activator for Future Design School. Media literacy and a design thinking mindset are two essential elements she uses to personalize curricula for all learners. You can follow her on Twitter @MsJWhiting and Beyond the Stacks.

Where do I go from here? What else is out there?

We suggest three websites where new content for exploring and practicing news literacy skills is posted and updated regularly.

  1. The first we discussed in the book and briefly in our video chat and that is Allsides. There is so much to like about Allsides that it is hard to know where to start! From the launch page, each story is, in essence, triangulated. Viewers are presented with three stories on each topic, issue, or event. One story has been determined to have a right-leaning bias, another a left-leaning bias, and the third is centrist. Their editorial philosophy as well as the leanings of each of the members of their editorial team are clearly and thoroughly delineated as is the instrument they use for determining bias. All visitors to their site are invited to complete their instrument thereby participating in the ongoing refinement of their definition of the political spectrum. One of our favorite tabs on this site is the Allsides Balanced Dictionary. When working with students we constantly remind them that word choice matters. It matters in search terms and in argument construction. If a researcher uses the term “migrant” that will return different search results than “refugee,” just as “climate change” as opposed to “global warming” will shift results. The Allsides dictionary helps to understand the subtle differences in meaning between terms and the profound impact use and misuse of terms can have on content. In some cases the differences in meaning are spelled out in text and illustrated with cartoons (see Equity vs. Equality); in other cases, Allsides acknowledges that a definition may be incomplete and invites user participation in developing the word (see Activist)
  2. The work of the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) and the report about students online civic reasoning that they released in November 2016 was a watershed moment and heightened call to action for us. As part of their ongoing work, SHEG has a collection of news and media literacy exercises that anyone can do — in and outside of a classroom. They provide practice making meaning and analyzing the credibility of different forms of media from Twitter to Wikipedia to websites.
  3. The News Literacy Project definitely lives up to its name. For educators, NLP offers professional development, news literacy lessons, and access to journalists as classroom guest speakers. They provide educational material for the general public as well including “The Sift,” their weekly newsletter which delivers news and media literacy stories and challenges directly to your inbox.

We invite you to join our call to action: engage in the discomfort of seeing the world through a refocused lens and share how you are doing it. Tweet at us @MsJWhiting and @mluhtala to keep the conversation and sharing of resources going. It takes all of us working together to raise the quality and reliability of information available and to improve the civility and productivity of civic discourse.

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