Why news education?
A constant stream of fraudulent news stories in our daily media diet has given rise to troubling cultural trends and alarming political movements in recent years across the world.
False claims, deceptive factoids, exaggerations, propaganda, hoaxes, rumors, questionable advertising, radical extremism, and other types of misleading content, often called misinformation and disinformation, are now being masqueraded as journalism.
In today’s digital world, we are flooded with an abundance of all types of information. All of us must understand the complexity created by information overload, which makes it hard to identify problematic media messages and recognize reliable information circulating in the community.
We need to learn how to actively and effectively navigate through the internet and understand the intricate web of factors affecting our perceptions — from culture to ideology, from psychology to behavior, and from business models to computer algorithms.
At ANNIE we strive to develop teaching and learning materials to discuss news and journalism through inquiry-based, hands-on instructions.
Together we would like to rethink what news and journalism education should look like in the digital age.
Going beyond fact-checking
Teaching fact-checking tools and techniques is an important part of our overall curricula but in reality, the proportion of misinformation among all the media content people consume every day is relatively small.
Many of us spend a lot more time going through personal messages, entertainment content, and other types of information that are simply not fact-checkable or cannot be evaluated by their factualness.
As educators, we need to go beyond fact-checking. We take cues from the ideas in the field of civic education, media literacy, political science, communication, epistemology, cultural studies, sociology, and other relevant areas — anything that might help our learners become more discerning is what we would like to incorporate into our methods.
We call it news education but it actually covers a wide range of topics such as computer science, statistics, digital forensics, cognitive psychology, marketing, politics, and, of course, media and journalism studies, among others.
We don’t have specific target age groups. News education instructions can be developed even for kindergartners (by adopting fairy tales, for example). The operational premise in our curricula are:
- Imagination leads to empathy
- Ethical thinking leads to behavioral change
- Analytical mindset leads to knowledge acquisition
- Logical reasoning leads to critical thinking
- Better communication skills lead to mutual understanding
The following video shows how the founder of the network, Masato Kajimoto from HKU Journalism (Journalism & Media Studies Center at the University of Hong Kong), envisions ANNIE.
We have a short-term goal and a long-term goal.
- We will continue what we have been doing over the years — developing teaching and learning materials collaboratively with partners in Asia.
- Meanwhile, in the long run, we would like to find ways to incorporate our pedagogical models into formal education; in particular, as part of teacher certification.