Local Media Association pilots MediaWise event in Rockford


November 15, 2018

ROCKFORD, Ill. – Rockford Register Star Executive Editor Mark Baldwin and Chris Krug from the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity led a one-hour MediaWise event attended by a group of about 75 students from Boylan High School and Rockford Lutheran on November 15 at Rockford Lutheran High School.

MediaWise is a partnership between the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, the Stanford History Education Group, Local Media Association and National Association for Media Literacy Education, supported by Google Inc.The initiative seeks to reach more than 1 million students across all socioeconomic strata by the end of 2019, arming them with tips and insights necessary to better scrutinize the factual accuracy of the content they consume online and via social media.

The group was bright and engaged as Baldwin anchored the presentation, which included three examples of A/B comparisons of fake/accurate news stories of his choosing, in approximately 40 minutes.

Baldwin, an ardent supporter of news literacy who will serve as president of the Associated Press Media Editors in 2021, allowed the students to participate throughout the presentation of materials, which included core elements of Stanford History Education Group’s curriculum, fact-checking basics from PolitiFact and lessons learned over his 40-year career in journalism.

That allowed for a 10-minute Q&A period in which the students asked meaningful questions about how news is reported, bias, story selection and what’s on Baldwin’s regular news-consumption list.

Overall the group came away from the event seeming to be sharpened by the experience.

“Engaging in a deep discussion of media literacy with bright, curious students always energizes me and always opens my eyes to something I didn’t know,” Baldwin said. “This group of students was acutely aware of the challenges posed by the digital age. Fortunately, they’re willing do the critical thinking required to distinguish between credible, fact-based news reporting and all of its lesser cousins.”