NLP’s president writes, “For the sake of democracy, teach more civics in schools”
The News Literacy Project’s President and COO, Charles Salter, recently placed an opinion piece in The Cap Times, For the sake of democracy, teach more civics in schools:
“We must elevate social studies generally — and civics specifically — in our schools, and news literacy must be central to this curriculum. Why? We live in the most complex information landscape in human history, with disinformation being created more easily and spreading faster online than ever before. A 2019 study by the Stanford History Education Group found nearly 70% of students surveyed could not differentiate between news and advertising on a website. This problem continues into adulthood. And in 2018, the Pew Research Center reported that only 35% of adults surveyed could correctly tell the difference between opinion statements and fact-based news. We cannot hope for our democracy to continue unless citizens have the skills they need to sort fact from fiction — a prerequisite to being fully informed, equal participants in all aspects of the democratic process.”
To read the piece in full, click here.
Young people have a right to news literacy – MinnPost
NLP’s John Silva explained in a piece for the nonprofit news site MinnPost why news literacy education must be integrated into K-12 education across all subject areas and grade levels and be mandated as a high school graduation requirement.
“Adults struggle to navigate this overload of information, yet we assume young people, incorrectly called ‘digital natives,’ somehow know how to do so from birth. The fact is, no one is born with innate technology skills; they must be taught and reinforced through practice. We are failing young people by not preparing them for the problematic information ecosystem they are growing up with and inheriting,” Silva wrote. “This is why young people have a right to news literacy.”
This piece ran in MinnPost’s Community Voices section in advance of NLP’s June 15 NewsLitCamp® with the Star Tribune and Minnesota Public Radio. Silva is NLP’s senior director of education and training.
‘Sunday TODAY’ features NLP’s efforts to combat misinformation
When the Sunday Spotlight on NBC’s Sunday TODAY with Willie Geist chose to explore the misinformation crisis and efforts to combat it, the show’s producers turned to NLP. The May 16 segment Misinformation education: How schools are teaching kids to find the truth featured NLP’s Senior Vice President of Education Peter Adams. Correspondent Joe Fryer also spoke to Georgia high school teacher Erin Wilder and New York City educator and NLP Ambassador Sandra Street and two of their students to find out more about how they’re using Checkology® to learn to recognize misinformation.
Then, in a follow up story for NBC News Now on Monday, Fryer interviewed NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller about how students — and adults — can challenge the credibility of information.
“While students may be digital natives…they are by no means well-equipped to navigate this incredibly fraught information landscape that they have inherited,” Miller told Fryer. “And what we’ve found is that by giving them the tools to discern credible information, to be more mindful consumers of everything that they encounter wherever and however they encounter it. This is incredibly empowering. They are their own editors. They can be their own publishers. We want them to play these roles in ways that are credible, responsible and empower their voices.”
Watch the segments to learn more about the impact of NLP’s work.
Adams joins discussion on how misinformation spreads
NLP’s Peter Adams, senior vice president of education, and Charles Whitaker, the dean of Northwestern University’s Medill School, took part in an in-depth conversation about how misinformation spreads and what newsrooms and social media companies should do about it. The segment News Educators Say Journalists Should ‘Slow Down’ on Social Media aired April 20 on WTTW, Chicago’s PBS station.
Adams begins by sharing advice for news consumers. “Our recommendation is to pause, to slow down because misinformation appeals to our emotions. The most important step is to slow down, not amplify anything that isn’t confirmed, and to try to work your way back to the source. So, ask questions about it even if a lot of people are saying it on social media or repeating it on social media—where did it come from and try to figure out if it came from a verified source,” he says.
He also weighs in on the role and responsibility of tech companies. “I think [social media companies] bear significant responsibility for the spread of [misinformation] not only because they built the biggest amplification machines and disinformation networking machines in human history… but also because they profit from the engagement on their platforms.”
Check out the full WTTW segment on its website.
On April 21, Adams was interviewed by John Howell of WLS-AM in Chicago on a similar topic, why journalists need to slow down and check first before reporting false information found online. You can listen to the segment Lightfoot fake resignation tweet exposes reporting flaws on the station’s website.
Ms. publishes commentary on pioneering women journalists
NLP’s Ebonee Rice shares the stories of pioneering women journalists and how their work helped make the careers of current women journalists possible. She wrote the piece in honor of Women’s History Month.
“For many years, women played less visible roles in national and international media, doing their jobs while fighting for their seats at the leadership table,” Rice writes in the March 16 Ms. magazine piece, A Tribute to Women in Journalism Who Cracked Glass Ceilings.
“But this month reminds us that we need to do more to ensure young women aren’t excluded and that they have the opportunities to help create a better-informed and more news-literate world,” Rice concludes
Conn. Public Radio: How disinformation preys on our values
Connecticut Public Radio interviewed NLP’s Peter Adams for a March 9 All Things Considered segment, Why Disinformation Preys On ‘Our Most Sacred Beliefs And Values. He spoke about why misinformation has become a significant problem, what he thinks social media companies should do to curb it, why he believes legislation is coming to fight it and why all students deserve news literacy education.
“We have to understand how misinformation works — that it’s fundamentally exploitative, that it seeks to capitalize on our most sacred beliefs and values, our patriotism, our desire for equality, for fairness, our religious faith and seeks to use that against us, right, to provoke a strong emotional reaction, kind of override our rational mind, and get us to click share and reshare without thinking,” Adams says.
On the topic of whether legislation to mandate news literacy education is needed, he says, “It’s too vital, and in my view we really owe it to young people because this is the basis for their civic agency. If they can’t differentiate between something that’s true and something that’s false, they can’t make good decisions for their lives, for their families, for their futures and for the country.”
The Sift featured weekly in blog by Valerie Strauss of Washington Post
The Washington Post’s Valerie Strauss features content from The Sift® in her blog Answer Sheet weekly throughout the school year. These are the installments for the 2020-21 academic year.
- Twisting LeBron James’s words, a fake Saturn photo and other news literacy lessons (May 14, 2021)
- Clarity or deception in ‘60 Minutes’ report on Florida’s vaccine rollout? A news literacy lesson. (April 15, 2021)
- No, thousands of people did not die from the coronavirus vaccine — and other news literacy lessons (April 7, 2021)
- No, that’s not Tom Cruise: ‘Deepfake’ videos, phony pictures and tweets — and other news literacy lessons (March 6, 2021)
- A look at phony tweets about Ted Cruz and Trump’s impeachment — and more lessons on news literacy(Feb. 26, 2021)
- No, the CDC did not order people to wear two masks — and other lessons on fake news (Feb. 14, 2021)
- Debunking anti-vaxxer RFK Jr.’s claim about ‘suspicious’ coronavirus vaccine deaths, a phony Elon Musk tweet and more news literacy lessons (Feb. 5, 2021)
- No, a military band did not play ‘Hit the Road Jack’ to Trump — and other news literacy lessons (Jan. 29, 2021)
- No, viral video doesn’t show police removing barriers for Capitol rioters — and other news literacy lessons on insurrection (Jan. 14, 2021)
- No, covid-19 vaccines didn’t kill any trial participants — and more parsing of latest disinformation on the shots (Dec. 16, 2020)
- No, coronavirus vaccines aren’t made from aborted fetuses or created to control the population — and more lessons about fake news (Dec. 8, 2020)
- Learning the real story of covid-19 through comics — and other news literacy lessons (Nov. 27, 2020)
- Bogus crowd photos at ‘Million MAGA March’ and other news literacy lessons (Nov. 19, 2020)
- No, a state trooper in Arizona did not find 50,000 Trump votes in a dumpster — and other news literacy lessons about the election (Nov. 9, 2020)
- When race is relevant in headlines — and other news literacy lessons (N0v. 5, 2020)
- New ‘Media Manipulation Casebook’ from Harvard teaches how to detect misinformation campaigns (Oct. 28, 2020)
- Teaching kids to spot misinformation on social media — and whether enough is being done to get rid of it (Oct. 22, 2020)
- It’s been a week for Trump conspiracy theories. Here’s how to teach students to identify them — and more news literacy lessons. (Oct. 8, 2020)
- How the media covered Breonna Taylor ruling — and more news literacy lessons(Sept. 30, 2020)
- How QAnon is spreading during the pandemic — and more lessons on fake news (Sept. 23, 2020)
- No, antifa supporters aren’t setting fires in the West — and more lessons on fake news about covid-19, Trump and Biden (Sept. 16, 2020)
Adams discusses how to be better informed on ‘Truth for Teachers’ podcast
In the Feb. 21 segment of the Truth for Teachers podcast, host Angela Watson interviews NLP’s Peter Adams on How to be informed media consumer and advocate for truth.
Adams begins by discussing why misinformation is more prevalent and provides a brief overview of how extremists of all kinds have become better networked and influential. He also explains how hate groups and conspiracy theorists have leveraged our polarization to promote their own agendas. The deeply informative conversation goes on to cover several other aspects of the information landscape. These include, among others:
- Why objectivity does not mean staying neutral
- What’s actually news-worthy (“How come the media isn’t talking about this?”)
- The difference between a conspiracy and conspiracy theory
- Intellectual humility and not demonizing everyone on “the other side”
- Looking for disconfirming evidence of our beliefs
- Having open, offline conversations with people who think differently
- What it means to “do your own research”
Life of Gusto podcast: Salter shares insights on truth and misinformation
The Life of Gusto podcast host Augusto Andres interviews Chuck Salter, NLP’s president and COO for a Feb. 21 segment on truth and misinformation. Salter shares his insights into how we arrived at this period where truth itself is under siege, the challenges of navigating our complex information landscape, and most importantly, why civics education is a key component to helping preserve our democracy.
Miller talks news literacy, media credibility on ‘The Trusted Web Podcast’
NLP founder and CEO Alan C. Miller discussed news literacy and its role in democracy on The Trusted Web Podcast, hosted by Sebastiaan van der Lans. When introducing Miller in the Feb. 10 segment, Creating News Literacy with Alan Miller, CEO of the News Literacy Project, van der Lans said, “Alan and I share a passion for a more truthful internet, and we both chose the route of building a whole category as an important way of achieving it, in Alan’s case: news literacy.”
Alan’s advice to listeners includes key first steps for becoming more news-literate, including being mindful of emotions and pausing before trusting, sharing or acting on information. “The first thing is to check your emotions, because when we see something that really inflames our emotions, whether it makes us angry or anxious or even joyful, we tend to let down our guard in terms of our skepticism about what we are seeing.”
Trust in the media
He also addresses the need for news media to work to build the public’s trust through accountability and transparency. “We live in such a hyper-connected time that things move so rapidly and move out on social media, it’s just so difficult to put the horse back in the barn when mistakes are made and then they spread and get amplified so readily,” says Miller.
Miller also stresses the need for the American education system to require the teaching of critical thinking and related news literacy skills, as part of civics education or another discipline. “If we don’t teach this to the next generation, we are denying them the ability to be full and effective participants in the civic lives of their communities and their countries. It’s not only a survival skill that advantages those that are able to discern credible information today, but it’s an essential skill for them to participate in civic life,” he tells van der Lans.
Listen to the full conversation here.
School Library Journal spreads word about educator network
The School Library Journal spoke with Ebonee Rice on Feb. 3 about NLP’s new educator network. “We really understand that educators are the experts and educators are really on the front lines in the fight against misinformation, so we wanted to create a community where educators who are doing this work can talk to each other,” Rice says in the article News Literacy Project Launches NewsLit Nation, a National Educator Network. “The end goal is to incorporate news literacy into the American education experience, allowing people to use best practices to figure out the best way to incorporate news literacy into their specific context.”