How to scrutinize, classify, organize, and evaluate today’s media — as much as possible, online and off? That’s the question.
As we search for ideas that can help young people explore news sources, evaluate their preferences, examine how the media outlets identify and share facts, we mustn’t forget incorporating the opportunity to talk with one another about the perspective that each source brings to its news-sharing. Recently I found Vanessa Otero’s interesting diagram that demonstrates how we can focus on media sources as well as consider their viewpoints and biases.
Evaluating 21st Century news is more complex than it’s ever was in the 20th Century. Reading the news is de-emphasized and watching the news is more prevalent, so we don’t interact much with information sources. The Internet and cable television channels allow opinions or made-up stories to masquerade as news sources — even when those opinions have no credible or factual source. Social media amplifies everything. Truth and expertise are incidental.
Whether or not you agree with the way this particular Venn-diagram arranges specific media sources, it offers a media mapping strategy that can help young people develop a deeper understanding of the news media. We can share this page, but it’s also easy to start with a blank image and let students go about organizing their preferred news sources and then supporting their work. Follow-up time that encourages young people to share their work, comparing and contrasting with the work of others, is critical.
Initially, I discovered Otero’s image on Lane Crothers’ PoliticalProf blog. With the help of my friend and colleague Susan Lucille Davis, I found Vanessa’s original public Facebook post. Quick messages back and forth to Vanessa secured permission to share the diagram, with attribution, here on MediaTechParenting.net.
Ensuring that students have plenty of time for discussion is the most important part. As Otero notes in her original post, “You have to evaluate media based on something other than the fact that one source told you not to listen to another source.”