Media literacy in a time of great upheaval

If, today, we talk more than ever about media literacy, it is not by chance. Indeed, we live in an era where we are immersed in an unprecedented flow of information all day long. While some information is more truthful than others, recognizing the right information is not easy and requires a certain amount of media literacy. During the Press and Media Week, the subject was the subject of a panel discussion. 

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If, today, we talk more than ever about media literacy, it is not by chance. Indeed, we live in an era where we are immersed in an unprecedented flow of information all day long. While some information is more truthful than others, recognizing the right information is not easy and requires a certain amount of media literacy. During the Press and Media Week, the subject was the subject of a panel discussion. 

Alexandre Chenette, teacher and pedagogical advisor, Ève Tessier-Bouchard, director and producer of youth content for Les Coops de l'information, Karen Prevost-Sorbe, academic coordinator for CLEMI in France, and Gilles Van Kote, managing director of Le Monde newspaper, had the opportunity to discuss the subject. The webconference, moderated by André Lavoie, a freelance journalist, was offered by the Centre québécois d'éducation aux médias et à l'information (CQÉMI) as part of the Semaine de la presse et des médias.

From the outset, the panelists agreed that "getting informed is navigating a complex jungle" and that "without the right tools, it is very easy to get lost. Furthermore, learning to inform oneself is a long-term process that must be taught in a positive, empathetic and very tolerant manner by taking the time to listen to divergent opinions and ideas.

What are the tools for finding, sorting and absorbing information?

The school would have an important role to play in the media awareness of children. From a very young age, they spend most of their time there. According to the panelists, it is the best place to address the subject of information and thus make them aware of good information management. It is not a question of telling children what to think or how to think, but rather of giving them tips and techniques to recognize a reliable source, true information and thus fight against the scourge of the 21e century in terms of information: the fake news.

At the same time, it is impossible to deny the power of social networks on our lives and those of our children. According to a study conducted for the media outlet La Croix In January 2021, in France, 66 % of people under 35 years old say that the Internet and social networks are their main source of information on a daily basis. In QuebecOne-third (33 %) of Quebec adults use social networks as their main source of news information, and the percentage rises to 67 % among 18 to 24 year olds.

In this sense, the question of media awareness takes another turn and becomes: How is it possible to increase the presence of traditional media on social networks, while avoiding misinformation and the circulation of fake news? How can we make the media stand out as more credible in this mix of news that are the news feeds of social networks?

Karen Prevost-Sorbe then talks about the importance of knowing and understanding the concept of visual literacy when it comes to getting information from visual media such as Tik Tok.

What is visual literacy?

Visual Literacy wants each image to evoke in each person an understanding based on his or her previous experiences and knowledge. According to the panelist, in order to awaken visual literacy, we must take the time to return to the essence of the image, to understand what it evokes in young and old alike. It is by opening the debate, by exchanging and sharing that this awakening will take place. 

Let's not wait for another global pandemic or another war with an endless stream of information to teach children how to select information, the panelists said. We need to do this before, because media literacy is a long process, which must be done preventively, which must be done before an internationally publicized event. Children should have the resources to step back from the news. 

It is possible to review the discussion:

Media literacy in a time of great upheaval - SPM 2022

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About the Author

Fatimazzahra Benchekri
Fatimazzahra Benchekri
Fatimazzahra is a master's student in educational technology at Laval University. Passionate about reading and writing, she has decided to devote her time to writing in a field in which she feels she is growing, education. With a background in journalism and political science, Fatimazzahra sees education as an ever-changing field where anyone is welcome to share their ideas and motivations.

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