The News User Manual — A Great New MediaLit Teaching Tool

Visit the The News User Manual website.

Visit the The News User Manual website.

If you have not discovered The News User Manual as a media and news literacy  resource for 21st Century digital kids and  yes, even for their parents, do check out the website.

Started by two seasoned broadcast  journalists, Jim Kane and Rich Nagle, The News User Manual features ongoing  podcast conversations (sometimes we call them casts) that encourage individuals to ask questions, think about, evaluate, gain understanding of, and develop personal news curating skills. The News User Manual’s mission encourages listeners to ask lots of questions about the news. In one cast they comment:

The thing to remember is to neither believe nor disbelieve what you’re reading, hearing or watching online. Rather, ask yourself how, when, why and where it was reaching you.

How, when, why, and where — media literacy at it’s best!

Jim and Rich began producing the casts before the 2016 election — that is before the national conversation about fake news reached a frenzy. Readers of this blog already know that I am not especially thrilled with the term “fake news.”

The News Users Manual series begins with a few podcast conversations that explain how news works and how our consumption of the news changes over time, especially with today’s digital and social media. The next several casts consider how reading the news with a sense inquiry and questioning who, what, when, where, why — helps people process the news more productively. In subsequent episodes Jim and Rich explore how news affects the bubbles we live in (and how the bubbles affect our news), and lately the two journalist use their podcast conversations to describe how to deconstruct and analyze some of the current and controversial news stories.

My favorite podcasts so far?

By picking three I am by no means discounting the other podcasts because every single episode is a medialit lesson in itself.

The two journalists also maintain a blog site where an especially worthwhile post — for all ages — is Be Your Own News Eater, er, um, Editor.

Every educator, administrator, and parent who is concerned about helping young people (and adults, too) understand more about news needs to find a prominent place to share The News User Manual podcasts within their educational communities. Billed as “A thinking-person’s guide to staying informed in the Internet Age,” the podcasts have the potential to migrate our conversations away from the shouting about fake news and toward a thoughtful consideration of the role of news and journalism in contemporary society and in our lives.

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