With such a connected world, we all can access to information with just a few clicks of a mouse. However, it can be overwhelming and hard to determine if the information you are receiving is accurate and timely. With the internet, anyone can put “information” out into the world without any truth or accuracy to what they write or say. One of the ways to protect yourself from misinformation is learning how to judge if the news you are reading or listening to is trustworthy or accurate. An easy way to do that is remember the acronym ESCAPE, created by NewseumED (newseumed.org).
E – evidence – Ask yourself if you can verify names, numbers, places. Check with multiple, trusted sources.
S – source – Who was all involved in the story? (author, publisher, funders, social media) Look to see the authors biography and the list of their other work. Could the author be an “online troll” or does the publisher write “parody stories?”
C – context – Is this the whole story? What else is driving it? (current events, trends, political goals or financial pressures). Ask yourself it what you are reading is “too good” or “too bad” to be true. Is the article “ragebait”, designed to get to visit their site because the readers are angry on a hyperpartisan level?
A- audience – Who is this written for? What is being used to appeal to the reader? (images, presentation, language, content).
P – purpose – Why was this written? To convey news? Do you know what the publishers mission or goals are? Is it to convey information, make money or do they have an agenda?
E- execution – How is the information presented? What style, tone, and image choices are used? Is proper grammar or spelling used?
Everyone needs to learn how to hone their News & Media Literacy skills. Being vigilant about the information we consume will help us make informed decisions about everything we do, from the groceries we purchase, financial decisions, our health decisions, and who we elect.
Over the course of the next few weeks, the Chilton Public Library will be putting out information and resources to help the community strengthen their News & Media Literacy skills. If at any time you need assistance with finding information or confirming it, please feel free to contact the library for assistance (920-849-4414). The library believes that an informed community is a strong community.