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"We live in the most complicated landscape in history:" The importance of news literacy

A new nonpartisan national education effort
FBI warns cyber criminals may be using smart TVs to spy on you
Posted at 6:21 PM, Jan 25, 2021
and last updated 2022-01-24 12:02:43-05

Scripps is partnering with the News Literacy Project, a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, to build awareness and educate our communities about news literacy. Through this initiative we aim to help you discern credible information from misinformation in today’s media. To learn more about this project, visit

Update from Lauren Casey:

Students as young as 4th grade are getting early exposure to media literacy at Bedford schools.

"The focus of what we wanted to do was to teach kids not only about producing media, but understanding why we have media, why we do the things we do," Brian Young said. He is an educator and one of the founding members of Lawrence County Independent Schools.

In their unique media program, they work in partnership with the media school at Indiana University.

The students produce their own school announcements and most recently, their broadcast was fully produced by a fourth-grader.

But Young hopes they can continue to build on these skills and eventually cover stories in the community.

"I think that will help, not only in deciphering what is real and what is not real, but it'll help them with their state standards as well with their researching abilities and their writing abilities," Young said.

Anchor and student Mia Robertson said she hopes in her role, she can inspire her younger classmates.

"Just put myself out there, and try to be like a role model for other people so that they'll try to be interested in it and want to do more," Robertson said.

If you want to learn more about the media opportunities at Lawrence County Independent Schools, you can read more on their website.

Previous by Nikki DeMentri:

INDIANAPOLIS — This week marks the second National News Literacy Week. WRTV’s parent company, E.W. Scripps is partnering with the nonprofit News Literacy Project. The goal is to bring awareness that news literacy is an essential life skill and also a fundamental to a successful democracy.

“We live in the most complicated landscape in history and we know that can be confusing, there’s so much information coming at us at all times. And so, it’s critically important to be able to discern what information is real and what information is not real,” Ebonee Rice said. She is the Vice President of Educator Network for the News Literacy Project.

Fact versus fiction: with so many ways to consume news in 2021, it can get confusing.

“How we look at ‘fake news’ is an oxymoron, right? Because we understand that news media and standard based journalism practices means that things are vetted,” Rice said. She said being news literate is an essential life skill.

“It just could not be more important than right now, and we have seen the consequences of misinformation and disinformation being spread online and we see the danger that comes from that,” Rice added.

Throughout the pandemic, news consumption took over hours of our days…as we tried to figure out the latest in the changing world. It also was a time, Rice said, misinformation was at a peak.

“We really spent the last year really just navigating this very complicated ecosystem of not just misinformation online, but also reading that and being consumed with it while you’re at home, while you’re doing your work,” Rice said. That is why she also added it is critical to know where news comes from.

“We should really be getting your news from fact-checked, standard-base news stations that are using standard base news practices to tell stories,” Rice said.

It is also important to know the difference between national, state and local news. Each player has a different focus sometimes of the same topic.

“The importance of localized press, the importance of local newspapers, local journalists could not be overstated and that’s for a number of seasons and one of those differences is having people in the community tell stories of that community, that reflect that community,” Rice said.