Media Literacy Champions Launch
We launched our 18-month programme to train 100 teachers as ‘Media Literacy Champions’ with BellingCat, Demos and PSHE Association
The Student View, a media literacy charity training secondary school pupils how to spot misinformation and as local news reporters, has launched a major new project to train 100 teachers as ‘Media Literacy Champions’ this week (14 November 2022).
The 18-month ‘train the trainer’ programme, supported by the European Media and Information Fund, brings together media literacy experts from The Student View, investigative journalists from Bellingcat, an independent international collective of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists, education specialists from the PSHE Association, the national body for PSHE education and data analysts from Demos, Britain’s leading cross-party think-tank.
Recent studies show that according to their teachers, 60% of English children from low-income communities have weak or no media literacy skills, leaving them more vulnerable to being misinformed online. While teachers in more affluent schools were more positive of their students’ abilities, with 53% of teachers in these schools saying their students were media literate, believing they are more equipped to critically analyse the news they consume and the effect on their lives (Teacher Tapp 2022). The National Literacy Trust (2018) estimates 98% of children and young people in the UK cannot spot the difference between a real and fake news story. Furthermore, 75% of journalists come from the highest social class based on the occupation of their parents (National Council for the Training of Journalists, 2021).
As part of the new programme, secondary school teachers will be trained by media literacy experts from The Student View to deliver workshops to 2,000 students to coach them as news reporters to improve their critical thinking and media literacy skills. Researchers and investigators from Bellingcat will share their innovative approaches to open-source data, including social media, to enable students and teachers to spot misinformation and generate original investigations about their local community. Analysts at Demos will support the programme by creating a robust process that captures and measures impact in order for the programme to be scaled and reach more students in the future.
The multi-agency team will work to:
- Close the Media Literacy Gap: by targeting our interventions in low-income communities where children have weak or no media literacy skills.
- Diversify Journalism: by offering fellowships to young people from communities that currently have little representation in the journalism sector, to gain the skills and experience to have a successful career in journalism.
- Revitalise ‘Local News Deserts’: by creating pop-up newsrooms where young people become journalists, reporting on stories that matter to them and their community.
Bejay Mulenga, Executive Director of The Student View, said: “Currently the vast majority of children and young people in the UK do not have the media literacy skills they need to thrive as 21st century citizens. The Student View is a UK media literacy charity, using journalism to equip young people with the media literacy skills they need to hold power accountable. In the next 10 years, our aim is to ensure school children across the UK experience high-quality media literacy education. This new grant from the European Media and Information Fund is a big step in helping us make this vision a reality.”
Founder of Bellingcat, Eliot Higgins, said: “The Bellingcat team is excited to have the opportunity to work with schools to introduce young people to the world of open-source investigation. Our goal is not only to educate young people, but also empower them with the tools and knowledge needed to have real impact in their own lives.
“If the last eight years of Bellingcat’s work has shown anything, it’s that people from a wide variety of backgrounds and experience can contribute positively to communities focused on accountability, from the local level all the way up to global events. Our hope is that we’ll enable a new generation to be part of that, and equip them with skills and knowledge they’ll take with them through their whole lives.”
Polly Curtis, Chief Executive at Demos, said: “We’re delighted to be supporting this fantastic project, which couldn’t be coming at a more important time.
“The spread of misinformation remains a serious threat to the wellbeing of our democracy. As the ways in which we consume information continue to evolve at pace, so too must our collective ability to identify false information.
“That’s what makes this project so essential. We need to be exploring new ways to train young people in media literacy to ensure future generations can navigate the digital information age with confidence and security.”
Chief Executive at the PSHE Association, Jonathan Baggaley said: “In a fast changing landscape where news converges with social media it is critical that young people are taught media literacy skills. Teachers must be equipped to do this effectively, through areas of the curriculum such as PSHE education, which can play a vital role in helping young people to recognise misinformation and the impact it may have on their personal decisions and wellbeing. We believe that this project will have a big impact on the schools involved and provide a platform for broadening this learning to all young people, thereby helping to improve the landscape itself.”
Any secondary school teachers interested in joining this ground-breaking project can get in touch with our team on firstname.lastname@example.org
Note to Editors
About Student View
The Student View (TSV) empowers young people, aged 11-21, to use media literacy skills to improve their lives and the lives of others within their community. Media literacy skills include critical thinking, being able to identify the difference between fact and opinion, identifying mis, dis and malinformation, understanding how to find information sources to trust, and knowing how to stay safe online. With these skills, young people can access trusted information to help them to make choices and decisions about their lives, individually, within their community as well as at a national level, for example their voting decisions in elections.
Through our workshops and pop-up newsrooms’ we examine the social media landscape together, train young people on how to spot misinformation and explore the differences between fact and opinion. As part of the workshops we encourage young people to become junior reporters, investigating a local issue that is important to them. The Student View works with journalists from across the industry, who volunteer to share their expertise with the junior reporters as they complete their research and write their new story.
In addition to the work TSV does directly with young people, we also work at a national level, campaigning to improve the lives of children and for functional media literacy skills for all.
In 2019 the organisation was named the world’s best media literacy programme by the Global Youth and News Media Prize.
To find out more about TSV, visit our website.
Bellingcat is an independent international group of researchers, investigators and citizen journalists using open source and social media investigation to probe a variety of subjects, including conflict, crime, and human rights abuses. We operate in a unique field where advanced technology, forensic research, journalism, investigations, transparency and accountability come together.
About The PSHE Association
The PSHE Association is the national body for personal, social, health and economic (PSHE) education – the school curriculum subject dedicated to supporting children’s physical and mental health, relationships, careers and economic well being. We are a membership association and charity, supporting a national network of over 50,000 teachers and schools with guidance, training and teaching materials. Our mission is to raise the status and quality of PSHE education so that all children and young people benefit.
Demos is Britain’s leading, independent, cross-party think tank. We do policy work differently: we start by listening to people who are ultimately affected by the policy and believe that involving people will produce better policies that have more legitimacy.
CASM, Demos’ digital research hub, is a centre of excellence in digital policy. CASM works to articulate, measure and advocate for an internet and technologies that protects and promotes democratic values and human rights.