As the dust settles in this post-election season, the OWHL would like to propose one possible issue for unification: news literacy. Regardless of where you fall across the political spectrum, we all want the ability to access, evaluate, and use facts. As educators, we also want to prepare our students to pursue and analyze the news so that they in turn can become informed, engaged citizens.
So how can we do this in an often contentious, sometimes specious news landscape? Fake news is having a banner year, with Buzzfeed reporting that fake election news stories had more shares on Facebook than those from major news outlets like CBS and Washington Post. Oxford Dictionaries named “post-truth” the 2016 international word of the year. A recent study by the Stanford Graduate School of Education called digital natives’ inability to parse legitimate news from ads “bleak,” “dismaying,” and a “threat to democracy.”
The OWHL has frequently taught website evaluation alongside more traditional research skills. However, with the rise of fake news sites, savvy advertising integration, and media polarization, we are working to update our lesson plans to more actively address news literacy. Here are a few of the things we are reading to guide the way:
The ways to explore and encourage discussion on this topic are almost endless, and we welcome the opportunity to collaborate with faculty. If the issues surrounding news literacy are something you would like to bring into your classroom or to the community at large, please get in touch. Send an email to Liza Oldham at firstname.lastname@example.org or stop by the library to talk.