Angie Pitt of the Guardian Foundation came to our Newsroom recently to hold a NewsWise workshop for Journalism students. It's the first time the Guardian Foundation has given NewsWise training to students. The aim is for our young journalists to take the NewsWise workshops into local primary schools to teach children about media literacy and how to tell if news is fake.
Student Nadia Leigh-Hewitson spoke to us about her experience of the workshop, “As a Journalism student I have often found it demoralising to talk to people about the news. People are suspicious of the media as a whole because of the sheer level of misinformation, disinformation and ‘fake news’ circulating on the internet. I have even been told that I’m short-sighted for trying to make a career in Journalism as it’s a dying industry because of this saturation of ‘fake news’.
"It was so refreshing to learn that action is being taken to counteract that. I felt that the workshop with Angie put words to my concerns and started to introduce me to the tools that can be used to counter some of the problems the industry faces. It was a bit of a revelation.
"The NewsWise project aims to teach 9-11 year olds media literacy, educating them on how to spot ‘fake news’ and empower them to make informed and active choices about what sources to trust. After explaining the project and the mission of the Guardian Foundation, Angie ran us through a couple of the activities the children engage with as part of the project; one activity involved identifying elements of an online news source that were or were not trustworthy and voting on whether we believed it to be real news or ‘fake news’.
"After the workshop was over, almost everyone in attendance signed up to participate in the project. In teams of two or three we will encourage our assigned school to get involved with NewsWise and help to implement the project at a local primary school. The general consensus from students that attended was that the current situation of widespread misinformation wouldn’t be anywhere near as severe if media literacy were already on the curriculum for primary school children. My team have already contacted our primary school and got an extremely positive response, we are looking forward to working with the teachers and engaging with the next generation of media literate global citizens!”