From Nov. 6 through Nov. 10, the Newseum will celebrate Media Literacy Week, an event hosted by the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE). Media Literacy Week comes just as social media companies are revealing that millions of Americans are being exposed to fake news and misinformation through their platforms.
As the threat presented by fake news becomes more fully understood, the Newseum is stepping forward with resources, programs and artifacts designed to educate the public about the critical importance of media literacy. As the term “fake news” is often misused to describe news that one disagrees with, the Newseum uses the term “junk news” to describe everything from news that is totally fabricated, to news that is biased or flawed.
On Nov. 6, the Newseum’s vice president of education, Barbara McCormack, will speak at the kickoff event for Media Literacy Week in New York City. She will highlight free NewseumED resources that address junk news, including the “E.S.C.A.P.E. Junk News” poster and “Is This Story Share-Worthy?” flowchart. NewseumED has recently partnered with Facebook to expand access to its tools to students and learners of all ages worldwide. Another suite of media literacy resources, developed by NewseumED in partnership with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), is set to launch in early December and will help students understand how news is made and the role they play in spreading information online.
During the week, all Newseum visitors will walk away with a free bookmark that features the “E.S.C.A.P.E. Junk News” infographic. NewseumED also will be teaching a “Fighting Fake News” class to school groups 12 times during the week both on-site and virtually.
A series of Facebook Live videos will highlight Newseum exhibits and artifacts that explore fake news; including a new display on fake news stories that may have influenced the 2016 presidential election, and how the term was used by candidate Donald Trump to discredit the media. Other artifacts provide important historical context around the issue, showing how propaganda and misinformation has been distributed in the past and the impact it had on events unfolding at the time.
First Amendment experts Gene Policinski and Lata Nott will be available to speak to the media on the recent testimony Facebook, Google and Twitter gave to Congress on how their platforms were exploited by Russian agents to sway the outcome of the 2016 election. When many lawmakers are clamoring for greater oversight of social media companies, our experts can speak to the importance of protecting the free flow of information during politically divisive times.
This month the Newseum is also hosting timely events that address the threat of fake news. On Nov. 11, veteran journalist Bob Schieffer will speak about “finding truth in today’s deluge of news.” On Nov. 17, the Newseum Institute will host “Rebuilding Trust in Journalism,” a panel discussion with news industry leaders on how journalists can maintain their credibility at a time when public suspicion of the media is skyrocketing. Finally, on Nov. 18, former MSNBC and Fox News host Greta Van Susteren will visit the Newseum to talk about her new book, “Everything You Need to Know About Social Media.” All programs are free and open to the public, but registration is required.