The old is new again: States want schools to teach students “media literacy”

State lawmakers around the country are pushing schools to put more emphasis on teaching students how to tell fact from fiction online, a skill they say is critical to democracy.

Lawmakers have introduced or passed bills calling on public school systems to develop lessons for a form of instruction called “media literacy.”

Alarmed by fake news, states push media literacy in schools

We did this when I was a kid in elementary school. We were asked to read a newspaper article each day starting in about 2nd or 3rd grade. By 5th or 6th grade, we were required to write a paragraph summary of a newspaper article (sometimes each day). I grew up infatuated with the “news” and the importance of “news”. We were taught how news worked, how reporters were “objective” and unbiased, and how a free press was critical to a democracy.

Today, of course, we’ve learned that pros play silly games with absurd click-bait headlines (shouldn’t this be titled “Alarmed by this, states push this on school children”?), engage in subject cheer leading instead of objective and unbiased reporting,while sanctimoniously lecturing us while their star personalities (and many more) were arrogant jerks.

Will students be taught to think for themselves (hopefully!) or will they be trained how to be compliant targets of propaganda wars waged in the media and in social media?

2 thoughts on “The old is new again: States want schools to teach students “media literacy”

  1. I remember being taught to see all the graphic sexual innuendos in advertising and placement of objects on a page. How the eye travels across a printed journal or paper. I guess the “click bait” is the modern form of manipulation.


    • Sounds like yours was different than mine, yet at the same school! Ours focused on the news gathering process, the role of the reporter and editor, and the importance of news. I have no recollection of anything about hidden messages or placements on the page. Later in life I did look into topics related to that, such as how color choices are used to influence.

      I used to hold news in high respect but today it is mostly entertainment intended to draw eyeballs to advertisers. Too many reporters also come across as arrogant. That said, I have assisted a number of reporters over the years – BBC, CBS, Voice of America, LA Times, the Oregonian, and most that I worked with were very professional but most of that was many years ago. I also assisted some (not listed!) that were not professional 😦


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