“We are all journalists now.”
Chances are you’ve run across that statement somewhere. More and more people are saying it, because it’s true. The line has been blurred. No longer do the professionals have a monopoly on published information. Whether you’re blogging or tweeting or posting things on Facebook, you are functioning—for all practical purposes—as a journalist.
But the question is: Are you a “responsible” journalist? Is the information you are publishing true, or propaganda, or (heaven forbid) an outright lie?
It’s an important question when you consider that we are all, each of us, now living in a virtual sea of information, and information is the stuff people use to make decisions. Decisions that have consequences. Information is a powerful thing.
I believe this point is especially relevant for young people, most of whom haven’t yet compiled enough savvy to recognize that not everything they read is accurate, or even true. Moreover, young people are digital natives, more likely than any other group to both publish and receive information exclusively via the internet.
For this reason alone, I believe that media literacy and a core understanding of journalistic principles are essential to modern education. And to that end, I bring you news of a new trio of resources from PBS Learning Media designed to foster media literacy and responsible citizen journalism in students grades 9 through 12.
Presented as learning modules comprising standards-based classroom exercises and support materials for teachers, the available topics are:
Writing and Reporting/Collaborative Research
A primer on news writing and reporting.
Current Events Awareness/Media Literacy
Consuming news with a critical eye.
Persuasive Writing: Take a Stand
How to state ideas clearly and back them up with proof.
These lessons and more come your way free of charge as part of an exciting new educational effort from the Emmy-winning PBS news magazine series, NOW. We highly recommend that you check it out for yourself.
—Stephen Vincent D’Emidio
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