Why News Literacy is Key In Our Program
Many young adults I see are increasingly isolated in their social circles, which is one reason we founded Segue Center in 2018. This was true even before the pandemic but is certainly more so now. Some do not have peers or consistent friends after they finish school and burrow in at home. Others have a more robust friend group, often online, of peers who share a common interest (generally surrounded around a video game or something similar). Many of the rest of us are seeing during social distancing that online tools can be a genuine source of social connectedness, but the challenge is that such interactions can also divide people into larger and larger echo chambers.
It has become more difficult on social media and in our communities to seek out those who may have different experiences and opinions from our own. The tragic events of January 6 certainly have highlighted that fact to a greater audience. As a country, our divisions are becoming deeper and more entrenched, but it is not impossible to turn this around. It starts at the individual level with a desire to seek out those different perspectives because it does take some effort. We have to choose this path ourselves and do so with intention.
At Segue, we believe that a broad understanding of current events in our community and around the world is key to that choice. Yet we also know that not all news sources are equally informative, and misinformation and rumor can spread more easily than ever before. We have always included time for respectful discussion of weekly news, making sure to look at issues from both sides, and we continue to do so during our remote learning.
We also deliberately teach our members how to be discerning consumers of media – whether it’s printed in the newspaper, we hear it on the radio, see it on TV, or encounter it online. One of our favorite resources for this intentional media literacy instruction is the News Literacy Foundation. This week, we are proud to celebrate their National News Literacy Week, and we hope you join us in exploring some of their activities this week and beyond. https://newslit.org/