In the rush to explain the outcome of Election 2016, “fake news” has become one of the main front page topics in mainstream media. One response has been to call for censoring such outlets. However, as the Association of Moving Image Archivists’ Board of Directors recently pointed out, the information and library science field’s focus on media literacy can also be a useful tool for everyone on the receiving end of the news.
The AMIA Board’s note calls attention to an article written by Louise Lief. Lief, writing for The Columbia Journalism Review a month prior to the election, suggests that the journalism world take a cue from libraries in promoting information literacy. Lief’s article centers on how journalists can use such tools to improve both their credibility and the quality of their reporting.
The Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRLU)’s Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education outlines one such framework for developing information literacy tools and skills. The Framework is directed at educators and librarians and emphasizes a holistic interrogation of information. A practitioner considers context, process, authority, and value, while using community, communication, and iterative questions to better understanding.
Or, American University’s Public Affairs Librarian Olivia Ivey gives the tl; dr version: “Says who? Based on what authority? What evidence?”
In the academic world, such principles have been used to help combat plagiarism. The media world—and by extension anyone who consumes media—can use these same principles to navigate the deluge of media information.
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