Here’s what the MediaWise project is all about and how you can get involved

MediaWise, a project with several media organizations, including the Local Media Association, is ramping up efforts to help younger consumers better understand the accurateness of the content they are consuming.

Chris Krug, an executive with more than 25 years in the media industry, is leading the charge on the LMA side for this project.

We caught up with Chris to learn more about this project.

First, tell us what the Mediawise project is all about?

MediaWise is a joint project that involves a group of caring media organizations that believe in assisting the next generation of news consumers to become better informed and thoughtful about the content they consume and share on social media and elsewhere on the internet.

With financial support from the nonprofit Google Foundation, we are pulling together the collective resources of Google, Local Media Association, the National Association for Media Literacy Education, the Poynter Institute for Media Studies and the Stanford (University) History Education Group to host local events that teach young people – ages 12 to 19 – to sharpen their scrutiny of the news, content and information they consume.

SHEG is working on the centerpiece of this effort, building out an enhanced civic online reasoning curriculum that it will roll out nationally in 2019. We have a collective goal to reach 1 million tweens and teens before the end of 2019, and seek to ensure that 50 percent of the audience we reach represents underserved and underprivileged areas in urban, suburban and rural markets.

These are the organizations taking part in MediaWise.

And what is LMA’s role in the project?

Content credibility is one of the greatest challenges that legacy news outlets face. Our newsrooms across the country are inundated with questions about the news – stories that they are covering and stories they are not covering.

Local Media Association always has cared about the holistic wellness of its members and partners, and has partnered on the MediaWise project as a means for newspapers and local news outlets to reaffirm to their audiences the value of quality local news and content. As its part in promoting the MediaWise mission, LMA has developed audience-focused content and attributes that would allow a local news outlet to host a MediaWise event in their community or in cooperation with local schools and school districts.

What we’ve created allows newsrooms to positively interact with the community and to demonstrate how to better scrutinize and fact-check stories through the applicable techniques and tips Stanford History Education Group has developed through its research.

The news industry is steeped in talented people who sort fact from fiction on a daily basis as part of its job. By demonstrating to the public the ways that they can properly evaluate the news and content they consumer, participating news outlets not only can re-establish the value of high quality journalism in their communities, but also engage with the public around a subject that is critical to our democracy and freedom.

As well, quality news operations always have looked for meaningful ways to give back to the people they serve, and there is perhaps no better way to do this than to train the next generation of news consumers how to check a story before they pass it on to their friends, families and social networks.

What’s happened so far with the project?

The LMA team has built out an extensive kit of assets and resources that has been designed specifically for its members and partners to utilize at the local level. This includes a run-of-show outline, a PowerPoint presentation, and documents that detail the challenge that MediaWise seeks to address as well as the gravity of the disconnect young people have in distinguishing fact from fiction in today’s internet-driven news world.

The work on this was extensive, as everything that we’ve created connects specifically to the research Stanford History Education Group has conducted.

All of these assets are now available under the resources tab at LocalMedia.org/mediawise. We are in the process of working with select media outlets on pilot programs across the country. At this time, we are working with news outlets across the country to uniquely tailor a MediaWisepresentation to their markets.

The events portion of this project is pretty interesting, where LMA members can use the research to share with the public. How will this part of the project work and how can companies work with you on this part of it?

The opportunity to re-engage the community is so critical for legacy news media. With the pressures on the industry over the past 10 years, we’ve all seen some of the regular connectivity that we once had with our communities badly diminished.

Programs such as Newspapers In Education, public forums and other community events that were focused on betting the places where we serve our customers have been trimmed or eliminated because of other urgent operating priorities. In this regard, MediaWise creates a unique chance for news leaders to re-establish relationships with their communities and directly interact with the people they serve around a subject that is critical to the future of our businesses.

MediaWise creates a forum in which young people who may not yet be aware of their local news outlets to understand the difference between quality news and the junk that passes for news in social space and elsewhere on the internet.

We have created what we believe is a flexible program that would require no more than an hour of time in which editors can discuss the value of quality news, conduct fact-checks on contemporary news items, and answer questions about how to become better consumers – and distributors – of content that brings value to the public discussion.

As our part, LMA is committed to providing the guidance, tools and – where possible – the resources to make these events meaningful to their home audiences.

Where can people find more information about this project and connect with you?

We have created a portal within the LocalMedia.org site that allows easy access to the assets and information we’ve created to promote the local events: LocalMedia.org/MediaWise. To help coordinate an event, reach out to me at ckrug@watchdog.org, or to Lindsey Estes at lindsey.estes@localmedia.org.