Tips for Building Media Literacy


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Maxwell Bernstein | December 4, 2020

With a vaccine for COVID-19 on the horizon, it is important to be able to parse through news sources and online information to determine what information is beneficial and what is harmful or misleading. 

The ability to parse through information provides one with the ability to make decisions that operate within the confines of reality. Disinformation and misinformation can misguide a person’s worldview, but more importantly, can push someone toward making decisions that are destructive to their well-being. Here are some resources to look at to help build media literacy and critical thinking skills. 

Harvard University has provided four tips for spotting fake news stories at this link.

FactCheck.orgThe International Fact-Checking Network under the Poynter Institute, PolitiFact.com, and Snopes.com are resources for fact-checking information that you might encounter on social media or other websites. 

The Media Bias Chart from Ad Fontes Media provides a transparent methodology and ratings for news sources, making this a starting place to understand the media landscape. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Columbia Journal Review said in regards to a media fact check site run by media analyst Dave Van Zandt and the Ad Fontes Media bias chart that was previously mentioned, “Both efforts suffer from the very problem they’re trying to address: Their subjective assessments leave room for human biases, or even simple inconsistencies, to creep in.” 

Researching and building media literacy skills can provide volition when it comes to making informed decisions and shaping a healthy and informed worldview. Approaching new information with skepticism and corroborating that information with reliable sources is at the heart of critical thinking and media literacy.

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