As part of the series “How do we make information”, the result of a collaboration between Agence Science-Presse and École branchée, we are now answering the question what is 'a news medium and we also nod to Global Media and Information Literacy (MIL) Week.
Celebrated for eight years now, World MIL Week is being held this year from October 24 to 31, 2020. It is the occasion for the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and all its partners to take stock and highlight the progress made in achieving the objective of “media and information education for all”.
“World Media and Information Literacy Week and its two flagship events, the MIL and Intercultural Dialogue Conference and the Youth Agenda Forum, call for the organization of local events around the world in order to promote the links between media and information education and all disciplines and professions. "UNESCO, 2020
This year's theme, “Resisting disinfodemia,” highlights methods we can use to combat disinformation and strategies to disentangle right from wrong:
"In this way, IME - along with global citizenship education - can help advance the Sustainable Development Goals by equipping citizens with the knowledge, skills, values, and practices necessary to engage as critical thinking citizens in societies. These skills can empower citizens to engage in media development, access to information and knowledge for all, and freedom of expression, all of which have implications for winning the war on misinformation."UNESCO, 2020
The term "disinfodemia" is formed from the words "infodemia" and "disinformation". Infodemia characterizes the unprecedented phenomenon of the spread of information of all kinds about COVID-19 on the web. Medical misinformation, conspiracy theories, rumors of government measures, hijacked photos and videos, attempted scams or hoaxes, false information about the pandemic is spreading faster than the virus itself.
“More than ever, conspiracy theories are popular. The charlatans who sell fake miracle cures are rubbing their hands. Fake news puts on their best clothes. And all of this is particularly worrying at a time when correct and accurate information is nothing more or less than a matter of life and death. "La Presse, April 5, 2020
Sorting out information and disinformation in this ocean of content can be quite an achievement today. People need to be reassured, to know all the answers, to have a feeling of control over the situation. In these times of crisis, it's easy to let emotions get the best of your senses. This is why we find so much content with questionable intentions that can lead to different cognitive biases, thereby altering critical judgment. Some gurus and charlatans therefore take advantage of the situation to influence and rally as many people as possible to their cause.
“Adherence to certain conspiracy theories is often more widespread among young people. This can be explained in particular by the fact that they are more inclined to shun traditional media and to get information on social media. "La Presse, April 5, 2020
News media have unique cogs that set them apart from other players, such as Facebook, YouTube, bloggers and influencers. This is because the information disseminated by the news media has a direct impact on laws, human rights, politicians, the environment, etc. And unlike other platforms and players, they can be held responsible if they spread false news.
At a time when the media landscape may seem saturated, it is particularly important to understand how the news media work and to know the strict rules they must follow.
You can download here an infographic which will help your students to remember what news media is and to distinguish it from social media such as Facebook or YouTube.
At the end of these activities, students will be able to identify and recognize the role and place of the news media in society.
Disciplines and levels targeted
-French (2nd cycle of secondary)
Read and enjoy a variety of texts
- Make a critical judgment: take a step back from the text by relying on cultural and media references which confirm the credibility or admissibility of a source or information.
-ECR (1st cycle of secondary)
- Conditions of autonomy: critical judgment, common sense,
moral responsibility, the ability to choose, authenticity, etc.
- Name benchmarks that support and enrich ethical reflection on autonomy.
- Conversation, discussion, debate.
Suggested digital tools
- Make an infographic: Canva
- Discuss, debate through a podcast: Anchor
- Analyze a speech on social media: YouTube, Twitter,
- Develop a creative scenario: Clips, Sketches
Objectives of the activities
- Make an infographic that highlights the most important rules in journalism.
- Debate on the place and role of social media in our society.
- Analyze the discourse of certain controversial media and reflect on their impact on citizens.
- Create a scenario exposing behavior that goes against the journalistic code of ethics.
☝️ Activity quiz!
Here is a test what your students can do to sharpen their skills in telling right from wrong. For each post, they do need to remember to check the statement, source and image. Good quiz!
☝️ Activities: What is a news medium?
On the menu of this activity sheet:
- Exercise 1: On the Internet, find a journalistic code of ethics. To which federation, association or organization does it belong? Which rule seems most important to you? Explain your choice.
- Exercise 2: Why do you think Instagram, Facebook, YouTube and other social platforms are not considered news media?
- Exercise 3: Setting the scene
- Exercise 4: Read the following three situations involving a journalist. Which of these behaviors violates the journalistic code of ethics?
🔎 ABOUT THIS SPECIAL SERIES
Through eight pedagogical sheets, students will be put in the shoes of a journalist and carry out activities specially created to enlighten them on various facets of news production in the age of social networks.
The design of the various educational sheets was made possible thanks to the collaboration between theScience-Press Agency and École branchée. Each sheet contains a theoretical part on a specific subject relating to the production of information, in addition to activities that tend to develop various disciplinary and digital skills in the student.
Check out the other guides in this special feature:
Sheet #1: Information vs opinion
Sheet #2: How to recognize a reliable news site
Sheet #3: Journalistic sources
Sheet #4: Confirmation bias
Sheet #5: How to recognize hidden advertising
File #7: Scientific information
Sheet #8: Disinformation