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Fighting fake news with information literacy skills

21 June 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Gus MacDonald
Fighting fake news with IL skills

fake news

News professionals from across the UK media have called for improved media literacy skills to help tackle “fake news”.

A conference looking at the influence of fake news and the ways to tackle it heard from representatives from national and international news organisations, including Sky News, Channel Four news, the Telegraph, as well as academics, charities and professional bodies. A recurring theme for many of the speakers at the Westminster Media Forum Event was a desire to help people understand where their news comes from and how to evaluate it better.

The speakers repeatedly talked about media literacy, but information literacy would have been an equally appropriate term. As CILIP’s Information Literacy Group’s (ILG) recently created definition to help people understand IL states: “Information literacy is the ability to think critically and make balanced judgements about any information we find and use. It empowers us as citizens to develop informed views and to engage fully with society.”

There were repeated calls for training to be incorporated into the national curriculum, giving children the skills needed to evaluate news and news sources. However, a wider opportunity to deliver high quality ­information literacy training, which would encompass media, research, and online skills was not discussed.

Stéphane Goldstein, Executive Director of InformAll and ILG’s advocacy and outreach officer, said libraries and librarians were already well placed to deliver IL skills. He said: “The need for good ­information literacy skills cuts across all aspects life – not just in terms of research and education, but also in the workplace; or when making decisions about our health; or simply making choices about what hotel to book based on reviews, finding the cheapest insurance, and keeping our data safe when we go online.

“There is also a crucial role in developing citizenship by helping people understand the world around them and enabling them to be active and informed participants in society. Part of that is about being able to use judgement to evaluate news sources – something that is increasingly important in a world of ‘fake news’, unchecked online news outlets and social media.

“Librarians across all sectors – in schools, colleges, higher education and in public libraries – have an important role to play in helping students and citizens develop the ability and confidence to make the best use of information; to interpret it judiciously; and to apply critical thinking to the information that they come across in the news.”

Read CILIP ILG’s full definition of Infor­mation Literacy and its impact here.

Published: 21 June 2018

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