As professional journalism recedes and anything goes on cable, talk radio and the Web, it’s becoming much more difficult to know what to trust. This guide will equip you to become an information detective. With simple, easy-to-remember rules of thumb, you can build your own BS (Bald Sophistry) meter to spot unreliable information conveyed by any source through any medium from face-to-face to FaceBook, Fox to NPR, and Daily Kos to Drudge. Learning to filter the digital deluge has become a necessary life skill because the value of reliable information — particularly news — has never been greater. News describes change, and technology is accelerating waves of change through every part of society — politics, transportation, manufacturing, retail, privacy and personal health, even liberty, from how we learn to how much we earn.
What hasn’t changed, however, is the power conveyed by knowledge and the danger to self and society caused by ignorance and misinformation. Don’t be fooled.
This book translates the key questions developed by NAMLE into an easy-to-remember mnemonic, the SMELL test, and adapts media literacy principles specifically for news and other information purporting to be factual from any source in any medium. It’s intended for a general audience and might be highly suitable for a high school media literacy course, especially if it has a civic orientation. [learn more]