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Bill would offer media literacy training at MO schools / public news services


JEFFERSON CITY, Missouri – A Missouri legislature introduced bill to add media literacy training to the public school curriculum.

House Bill 74 would set up a committee of lawmakers, educators, media experts, and a child mental health expert to work with the Missouri Department of Education on the best ways to teach digital skills in classrooms.

Jim Murphy, R-St. Louis, the sponsor of the bill, said it was important for children to learn to validate information, both while consuming and producing media, and to understand how media affects thoughts, feelings and behavior.

“They received more information from more different sources than their parents have ever received,” Murphy claimed. “You know, they get it from TV, they get it from cable news, they get it from social media, they get it from games, and it just comes at them at breakneck speed.”

Murphy noted that every time a person posts on social media, someone else is likely to believe what they are posting. He wants educators to help students better learn how to use social media ethically and responsibly.

Combating cyberbullying is part of media literacy.

More than one in four students has experienced cyberbullying in the past 10 years, according to the Cyberbullying Research Center, and surveys related to the pandemic have shown that the number increases as children study from home.

Murphy added that this is another reason he is following the law.

“Children are bullied more on social media these days than in the schoolyard,” said Murphy. “And you know, it’s a mental problem in our schools.”

If the bill is passed, Missouri would follow in the footsteps of more than a dozen states, including Florida, New Mexico, Ohio, Texas, and Washington, which have passed state laws that bring some form of media literacy learning into schools.

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CORRECTION: This story has been updated to correct the list of other US members. July 25, 3021 at 12:35 PM MST

BOULDER, Colorado – While people are struggling to find trustworthy news and information, Colorado News Connection and its Public News Service network are implementing the 8 Trust Indicators, credentials that help the public more easily evaluate their content.

These indicators, created by the Trust Project, are globally recognized standards for holding newsrooms accountable.

Sally Lehrman, founder and executive director of the Trust project, said the goal is to strengthen responsible and transparent journalism and to slow the spread of false, misleading information.

“People worry about it,” said Lehrman. “People are afraid that they don’t really know how to distinguish between something that is really geared to inform them and that is impartial and truthful, and something that is more meant to deceive or incite or real just to make propaganda. “

Earning the trust mark required a rigorous six month process.

The eight indicators describe best practices, standards and guidelines, and show more about the personality of journalists and how stories and sources are selected and fact-checked – between news, opinions and other types of information, and how the public can more easily question, question and verify Assisting journalists in providing the information needs of their communities.

Lehrman added that rating audio-only sources and podcasts can be a little different than online or in print. Listeners may need to memorize an organization and look it up later.

But she said there are some indicators that people can hear. For example, does the story bring in a multitude of voices and perspectives?

“We can look at these eight confidence indicators and find out who is behind the site,” said Lehrman. “Who is the journalist? How is it funded? Is it identified as news? Or is it more obvious?”

The Public News Service’s 37 state newsrooms join over 200 other news agencies, from the Denver Post to PBS Frontline, the Washington Post and the BBC.

Lehrman noted that the Trust Project’s network is global because so many news outlets recognize their own responsibility for transparency and honesty.

“The trust project was just an idea,” said Lehrman. “But what happened is that news organizations all over the world are jumping up and really embracing this idea.”

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CHICAGO – A hedge fund purchase of the Chicago Tribune is in the works – but until it gets official, members of the Chicago Tribune Guild are hoping local, middle-class owners will step in.

Alden Global Capital was the largest shareholder in Tribune Publishing prior to the announcement of the deal and had already started downsizing by offering takeovers to reporters who had worked at the newspaper for at least eight years.

Charlie Johnson, vice president of the Tribune Guild, said he believed the hedge fund would prioritize profit over quality of journalism.

“I think people are concerned that with Alden in full command, the number of newsrooms will continue to decline, either through cuts or attrition,” he said, “and Chicago will still not have any of its really great news organizations for much longer.”

Tribune Publishing isn’t the first newspaper company to acquire Alden Global. Last year, the Denver City Council called the hedge fund for rooting out numerous newspapers, including the Denver Post, calling it “a devastating impact on local journalism across the country.”

Johnson said the deal didn’t pass the antitrust pattern. He added that he hoped the paper can follow a path similar to that of the Baltimore Sun, which is also owned and acquired by Tribune Publishing – not by Alden Global, but by a nonprofit owned by the local Maryland philanthropist and businessman Stewart Bainum, Jr.

“They are local supporters of Baltimore, wealthy people who think the sun really is an important part of civil life there,” he said, “and they will buy it and set it up to operate there in the future and.” serve the citizens of Baltimore. “

He said Chicago is stronger with local journalists telling the stories of its residents, monitoring its politicians and judicial system, and checking where its taxpayers’ money is going. He said he would like every potential owner to share that commitment.

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SANTA FE – With the presidential elections approaching, there is renewed concern that consumers are once again falling victim to fake news on social media. But an expert on the subject says there is a way to guard against the onslaught.

Nolan Higdon is a professor of history and communication at California State University and a contributor to Project Censored. He said the role of the news media in a free society is to examine, inform and critically review political power.

He noted that the coronavirus pandemic was the subject of much “fake news” that often exploited people’s fears and moral outrage.

“Generally it chases real fears – this really is the most successful fake news,” Higdon said. “And who is not afraid during a pandemic, especially when unemployment hits 30%.”

Higdon said he believes President Donald Trump’s repeated allegations of “fake news” and the portrayal of the media as an “enemy of the people” have compounded a bad scenario.

Some communications guards have urged tech giants to crack down on fake news and put in code to combat misinformation. However, Higdon said he believes consumers need to be more savvy.

“We really need to focus on teaching each individual media literacy – that is, how can they sift through information and find out what’s true and what’s wrong, rather than the approach I think we’re going to be making lists and us let businesses and governments determine what is true and what is false, “he said.

Higdon said he also feared media giants like Facebook, Google, and other large corporations have significantly increased their presence in public schools over the past 20 years to get their content into the classroom.

“If we can give a school a bunch of fancy textbooks and MacBooks and the like, it’s going to look like charity to the public,” he said. “But in reality, it gets access to all data for all children attending public school in a given state, nation, or region.”

According to a new study published in the journal Psychological Science, consumers are not incapable of distinguishing what is true and what is false, but often share misinformation because accuracy is not a measure of what they want to share.

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