Fall Meeting Tackles the New Abnormal

Today is Election Day, which seems a fitting time to look back at HVLA’s Fall Meeting, held on October 20, 2020. Editor-at-Large for The Daily Beast, Molly Jong-Fast spoke about the media and teaching news literacy in the current political climate. As Molly pointed out, we are actually living in a Golden Age of Journalism. Investigations into Harvey Weinstein, President Trump’s tax returns, and other stories that have had real impact in our world have all been researched and reported by journalists. Yet, at the same time we find ourselves “at the mercy of the algorithm”, existing in filter bubbles, using platforms designed to prioritize engagement with a particular site over quality information.

As librarians, we are well-versed in this problem from the position of educators. Molly brought the perspective of a journalist to the table and offered the following key points: teach kids that the way things are reported shows bias, equip them to identify legitimate vs. illegitimate news sources and where those sources fall on the political spectrum, to check other sources, and read critically. She also offered up some of her favorite more conservative outlets with good journalism for those looking to balance out a more liberal media diet- The Bullwark, The Dispatch, and The Economist.

After Molly’s talk, and some on-the-spot reader’s advisory by the group for Molly’s daughter, we split into breakout rooms to share what’s worked for us when teaching news literacy. Natasha Goldberg has generously shared her breakout session notes; access them here.

The board is hard at work planning our next gathering- a (hopefully) festive and cathartic informal gathering in early December. Stay tuned for details!

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