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Media Literacy

Poynter Institute’s MediaWise Announces International Expansion of Digital Media Literacy Program to Address Global Information Disruption


ST. PETERSBURG, Florida (12/13/2021) – When the Poynter Institute launched its MediaWise digital media literacy initiative in 2018, the non-partisan nonprofit organization set itself an ambitious goal. Teach 1 million middle and high school students how to better spot misleading or inaccurate information on the Internet. Now, nearly four years later, MediaWise has reached 21 million people of all ages in the United States and continues to grow its list of robust educational programs.

With the support of Meta, MediaWise announces a global expansion of its online fact checking training. The project will develop an international extension to combat information disruption in three countries.

MediaWise will adapt its highly effective digital-first training to slow the spread of misinformation online and to help older adults in Brazil, Spain and Turkey make informed decisions about the content they are engaging in and on social Share media platforms.

The program will include bespoke curricula and a 10-day WhatsApp micro-learning course for each country to teach adults how to spot conspiracies, scams, hoaxes and hoaxes on the internet and social media.

“The MediaWise program has a proven track record of successfully connecting older Americans to reliable information and helping them spot misinformation online. We look forward to building on this partnership with Poynter to expand the program internationally so that more people around the world are equipped with key digital media literacy skills so they can make more informed decisions about what to read, trust, and read want to share, “said Delphine Reyre, vice president, global policy campaigns and programs, Meta.

Resident fact-checking partners and research institutions will help locate educational resources with real-world examples of misinformation. Celebrities from trusted sources in each country will join an impressive list of MediaWise ambassadors, including renowned journalists such as Lester Holt, Joan Lunden and Christiane Amanpour, to guide users through each lesson, share expertise and encourage the sharing of fact-based information .

It will follow research studies from universities in each country to measure how effective the program is in improving users’ ability to recognize and consume messages more responsibly, explain various types of misinformation, practice fact-checking techniques and discuss misinformation with friends and family.

Participants will explore various topics throughout the duration of the micro-learning course, such as:

“Misinformation is not an isolated problem in the US. Indeed, democracies around the world are coming back in part thanks to viral falsehoods, ”said Alex Mahadevan, MediaWise program manager. “With Meta’s support, we’re excited to bring what we’ve learned in delivering digital media literacy to households across America.”

The pilot project will start in early 2022. More information is available at poynter.org/mediawise-international.


In Brazil, the program is led by Projeto Comprova, a coalition of 33 media outlets developed under the Brazilian Association for Investigative Journalism (Abraji) to curb misinformation. Abraji is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the quality of journalism and defending freedom of expression in South America’s largest country.

“The partnership with Poynter’s MediaWise will enable Abraji to reach an important audience in election year 2022 to combat disinformation and test a new training format,” said Marcelo Träsel, President of Abraji.

Boris Casoy and Lillian Witte Fibe, two of Brazil’s most trusted journalists with careers in print and digital media, television and radio, will serve as ambassadors for the program.


In Spain, MediaWise will work with Newtral to localize the WhatsApp course. Madrid-based Newtral is a journalism, technology and data review media startup and a signatory to Poynters International Fact-Checking Network. The effectiveness of the program is being evaluated by the Universidad de Navarra, a consolidated research center with several national and transnational projects on digital communication trends and social impact of topics such as digital journalism, social media, interactive advertising and new media business models.

“To combat disinformation, we need a deeper understanding of how citizens behave when faced with questionable information in messaging apps,” said Ramón Salaverría, full professor of journalism at the Universidad de Navarra. “This investigation will allow us to know how much media literacy training can help you develop skills to spot false content.”

The Spanish ambassadors will be the journalist and political scientist Lucía Mendez and the radio journalist Ana Pastor.

“Journalism has always been about delivering verified, high-contrast, and reliable news. The technological revolution has allowed disinformation and lies to creep in through the back door of journalism. And disguised as journalism, ”said Lucía Mendez, editor-in-chief of EL MUNDO and columnist. “Citizens must be able to differentiate and discriminate. We, the journalists, have a responsibility to help them distinguish truthful journalism from untruthful journalism. “


Istanbul Bilgi University will oversee the fact-checking efforts and research study in Turkey. The university was founded in 1996 on the principle of “learning not for school, but for life”. With more than 150 programs for associate, undergraduate, and graduate students, the university works to educate people, especially vulnerable segments of the population, on how to distinguish truth from falsehood.

“In a rapidly changing world, it’s really important to be part of the change. Education is probably the best, if not the only proven way to be on the right page, ”said Professor Halil Nalçaoğlu, Dean and Faculty of Communication at Istanbul Bilgi University.

The Turkish journalist, moderator and author İsmail Küçükkaya will act as a program ambassador to raise awareness and support digital media skills.

Learn more at poynter.org/mediawise-international.

About the Poynter Institute

The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a world leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and public discourse in the 21st century. The Poynter Faculty gives seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, as well as in newsrooms, conferences, and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The institute’s website offers 24 hour coverage of the media, ethics, technology and the news business. Poynter is home to the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network, and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people, first-time voters, and seniors. The world’s leading journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentaries and broadcasters. This work creates public awareness of journalism, the media, the First Amendment and discourses that serve democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org.

About MediaWise

MediaWise is a non-partisan, nonprofit digital media literacy initiative led by the Poynter Institute: Its mission is to teach Americans of all ages how to distinguish fact from fiction online. MediaWise content has been viewed more than 57 million times since the project started in 2018. The MediaWise program educates people through in-person and virtual training events, online instructional videos, fact-checking content reported by the MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network, and its MediaWise Ambassador Program – a group of prominent journalists and influencers who help advance the MediaWise mission . In 2020, Poynter launched the MediaWise Voter Project (# MVP2020) to teach first-time voters how to find reliable information online about the US presidential election, a new initiative supported by Facebook. MediaWise for Seniors was announced in June 2020 to bring MediaWise tips to the population over 50 ahead of the general election. MediaWise for Seniors has an AARP-funded resource delivery program for its members and a Facebook-funded program that provides virtual training and a social media awareness campaign to the elderly. The foundation of MediaWise was created with the support of Google.org as part of the Google News Initiative. Learn more at poynter.org/mediawise.


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