Fighting fake news: ABC and UTAS partner for Media Literacy Project | radioinfo

Fighting fake news: ABC and UTAS partner for Media Literacy Project

Friday 15 December, 2017

When we heard that Joce Nettlefold was leaving her role as local content manager in Hobart to work on a media literacy project, we wanted to know more about what the ABC is planning to do in the field of media literacy in this age of fast moving social media and fake news.

This is the answer.

Led by Dr Jocelyn Nettlefold (Joce now has a PhD), the Media Literacy Project is a partnership between the ABC and the University of Tasmania. It will expand scholarly knowledge about media literacy and inform the production of more segments and features by the ABC which teach audiences how to be critical of content they consume.

The focus will be particularly on young Australians.

ABC Managing Director Michelle Guthrie has told radioinfo the ABC is also planning a host of other activity in 2018 "to help all Australians to better navigate the news, including a special National Media Literacy Week."

'There is an urgent need for more contemporary knowledge about how to equip young people to navigate the current media and communications landscape. We continue to learn more about the impact of the misleading, manipulated and fabricated content spread at speed among peers on technology platforms,' says Nettlefold.

Australia's first nationally representative survey on young Australians' news engagement practices in November found a third of respondents felt they could distinguish fake news from real news, one third felt they could not make the distinction. The other third were uncertain about their ability.

This survey also found media education opportunities should be more frequently available in schools to ensure young Australians meaningfully engage with news media. 

While the Media Arts component of the Australian curriculum provides systematic media literacy policies, Nettlefold says it is being underused. 

Early in the new year, the ABC-UTAS Media Literacy Project will assess teachers' capacity and confidence in this field to identify what resources or support they need to help young people understand the politics, biases and commercial imperatives embedded in technologies, platforms and digital media. 

According to Nettlefold, 'media organisations, governments and scholars need to understand more about the complexity of the phenomenon at hand-in terms of its global scale, the nuances between behaviour on different communication platforms (both closed and open) and the fact that information consumption is not rational, but driven by powerful emotional forces.'

'This calls for greater collaboration around information disorder and for media organisations to produce more segments and features about critical information consumption.'


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