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FIVE WAYS TO FLEX YOUR MEDIA LITERACY MUSCLES

 By Andy Lee Roth and Project Censored

1.  Cut “Junk Food” news from your media diet. If you rely on corporate news, replace one or more of your usual news sources with independent journalism. Try this for two weeks and decide whether you are better informed by independent news than your usual sources. Project Censored maintains a list of independent news sources.   

2.  Follow the money. Corporate news is driven by advertising revenues and shaped by patterns of media ownership. For the news you consume, ask: What economic interests shape this content? The Columbia Journalism Review maintains a useful database on media ownership.

3.  Ask: “Who is treated as newsworthy?” With rare exceptions, establishment journalists rely exclusively on government and corporate officials as news sources. This means elites tend to be the sources and the subjects of most corporate news. For news stories you follow, track who gets quoted as newsworthy sources. Do these sources represent the full diversity of people with relevant information and perspectives on those stories?  For one example of this kind of research, conducted by Project Censored students and faculty, see “Oiling the Dangerous Engine of Arbitrary Government: Newspaper Coverage of the Military Commissions Act”, published in Censored 2009.

4.  Resist “News Inflation.”  We have access to more news than ever before, but it seems to be worth less and less. Project Censored fights news inflation by highlighting important and credible news stories that corporate media either ignore or cover partially. For direct access to “the news that didn’t make the news,” visit our Validated Independent News page.

5.  Seek out & support “Solutions Journalism.”  Corporate media often ignore stories involving good news. However, the news and information that we need in order to fulfill our duties and our potential—as family members, community members, and citizens—includes not only stories of power and its abuses, but also exemplars of human activity, relationships and institutions at their very best. For more on solutions journalism, see Censored 2014: Fearless Speech in Fateful Times and especially the foreword by YES! Magazine’s Sarah Van Gelder.

Since 1976, Project Censored has educated the public about the importance of a truly free press for democratic self-government. We expose and oppose news censorship and we promote independent investigative journalism, media literacy and critical thinking.

 

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And here is the PDF: 5 Ways To Flex Your Media Muscles

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