Lately we’ve been grappling with some complicated conversations, like how fake news, credibility and audience engagement are connected and what businesses should be doing to protect their trustworthy reputations. But we’ve also been considering these challenges from the consumer’s perspective and were relieved to learn there’s a movement already underway.
It’s easy to think of “fake news” as something others spread, or a “meme” your great uncle would fall for, but it is increasingly and unsettlingly common. In fact, thirty percent of students in grades six through 12 admit to sharing fake news through their social media channels. Without an education in critical thinking, these teenagers are more likely to grow into gullible adults, susceptible to fiction at best and outright lies at worst.
So, how do we create a generation of information-savvy individuals who are cautious, critical and devoted to following credible news sources?
Our partners at the PR Council alerted us to the News Literacy Project (NLP)— a nonpartisan national education nonprofit whose mission is to work with educators and journalists to increase awareness of fake news to middle school and high school students. NLP helps young people determine what information they should trust, share and act upon, and is committed to empowering youth with the knowledge necessary to actively participate in our robust democracy.
Consider getting involved:
• NLP’s checkology® virtual classroom is an innovative space where students discover how to effectively navigate today’s challenging information landscape by mastering the core skills and concepts of news literacy. Sign up today to check it out: http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org/services/checkology
• Conduct an employee or client training about NLP’s mission
• Host an after-school program that brings students, journalists and teachers together to build digital media projects and present their findings to their peers: http://www.thenewsliteracyproject.org/services/after-school-program
• Fund the downfall of fake news! Donate to this non-partisan initiative and help the next wave of journalists, PR professionals, writers and thinkers: https://act.myngp.com/Forms/6853916782416101376
• Secure four local or national stories about NLP
…and ask yourself these questions from the NLP when you’re not sure if your news is real or fake.
• Check your emotions – what’s your first reaction?
• Determine the purpose of what you’re reading, watching or hearing
• Be aware of your biases
• Consider the message
• Search for more information
• Go deeper on the source
• Then go deeper on the content itself