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Media Literacy: Exercises

Understanding and evaluating news. Includes issues of "fake news", bias, ethics, "alternative facts", etc

Ideas for Practice

Exercise example – (Topic - Social Media or Feeds) - A “Backtrack Journal”  -  By Andy Revkin, Pace University Professor  - The task:

Each week, determine the path one bit of information took to get to you. If it was a powerful photo of a drowned refugee child, did it come via Facebook? Twitter? If so, was it forwarded by a friend from some other friend or feed? Who created the content? Try to trace how information MOVES.

Exercise example – (Topic – Social Media or Feeds - Polarization/Political Bias) Blue feed/Red feed website.  Prior to class have students review site and take notes (provide template?). Students should be prepared to discuss.  Dr. King put students in groups and assigned each group a topics.  Questions to investigate -- What type of images are presented? What kind of language is used?  What are the headlines? Since these are extremes, where would you find more middle ground, less ideological stories; and how do the former contrast with the latter.  Have librarian introduce less strident, more balanced sources like CQ Researcher or Opposing Viewpoints.

Exercise example – (Topic – Journalism - Newspaper  Writing)  – Give students examples of different newspaper writing - straight news story, editorial, feature article, article that is paid content, other.  Each has the same examples.  Have class read and note differences (template of questions?).  Note how/when one might be used in a paper, why one might be better than another, depending on the assignment.  Next class – show students how to search Greenville News (or New York Times, other) and limit search to “editorial” or “feature” type.  Have students pick a current event topic and find one hard news article and one editorial.  How might this type of search be useful? Have librarian introduce resources like Ulrich's.

Exerciser example – (Topic – Information Cycle) - Provide students with a Timeline of Information and discuss how the timeline operates and how the cycle may differ in your discipline.  Have students select topics and find a representative item from as many source-types as applicable.  Discuss when, why a particular source may be appropriate/inappropriate – link.