As you may know, this year I’m encouraging folks to think about critical thinking. (See more at http://lynnlovegreen.com/letsthinkabout-critical-thinking/.) When we read or view stories online, we might assume that they are accurate. This may or may not be true, and we should always check sources and/or facts to be sure. (Resources like snopes.com are good for fact checking.) Now YouTube and AP are also stepping up to help us get more accurate media.
In March, YouTube introduced its Google News Initiative to provide more support for journalism. They recently announced new features designed to help the public access accurate information (https://youtube.googleblog.com/2018/07/building-better-news-experience-on.html). This includes helping people get the facts by providing “information from third parties, including Wikipedia and Encyclopædia Britannica, alongside videos on a small number of well-established historical and scientific topics that have often been subject to misinformation, like the moon landing and the Oklahoma City Bombing.” Another bright spot is a new education program: “Along with the Google News Initiative and Google.org, we have teamed up with the Poynter Institute, Stanford University, Local Media Association, and the National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) to support MediaWise, a U.S.-based initiative designed to equip 1 million teens with digital literacy skills. Six incredible YouTube Creators, including John Green, Ingrid Nilsen, and Mark Watson, will be working with MediaWise to bring awareness to digital literacy and help educate teens.”
It’s also good when legitimate journalists point out erroneous stories. The Associated Press (AP) has a new feature called NOT REAL NEWS, a summary of the most popular untrue stories online in that week. They also point out false claims that people make in the news. You can find them both under AP Fact Checks at apnews.com/tag/APFactCheck.
Freedom of the Press is in our Bill of Rights for a reason; it’s that important. The U.S. has a history of a free, independent press that brings us fair, unbiased news. It’s nice to see that more media and journalists are helping us find accurate information so we can use our critical thinking skills and make up our own minds about what is going on in the world.