Media literacy

La Salle brings Poynter’s media literacy program to children in Philadelphia

A partnership between La Salle University and Florida-based nonprofit journalism Poynter Institute will bring a series of digital literacy training programs to Philadelphia, with the goal of helping high school and college students uncover real stories from lies that spread quickly online.

MediaWisean initiative led by Poynter with google funding, has a bold goal: to teach 1 million teens the difference between fact and fiction online. He wants at least half of this target population to come from underserved and low-income communities.

Here in Philadelphia, the initiative has found a partner in La Salle, who will host at least four fake news spotting workshops over the next few months. The first training, led by MediaWise instructors, will take place on April 6 on campus, as part of its open house event for high school students accepted into La Salle.

Dates and locations for additional sessions will be announced in the coming months.

“We are thrilled to partner with MediaWise to bring this innovative and important training to our region,” said President de La Salle. Colleen Hanycz. “Explorers navigate the world around them with clarity and confidence. Today, especially in the digital environment, this means knowing how to separate fact from fiction and approach content critically. La Salle wants to equip every teenager with this set of skills.

How big is the problem? Well, presidential rhetoric aside, a 2016 study of Stanford University found that 82% of middle schoolers couldn’t distinguish between sponsored content and news on the web, a sign that most teens lack the context to navigate the news landscape.

Katy Byronpublisher and program manager of MediaWise, said the educational events are interactive and use digital tools teens are already familiar with, like instagram and Snapchat.

“It’s important to us that we speak their language and use real-world examples of misinformation, so they come away feeling empowered to use those skills on their own,” Byron said.


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