The news and media we consume on a daily basis play a powerful role in shaping how we think. Whether we’re watching TV, flipping through a magazine or scrolling through endless feeds of news on our phones, we’re constantly absorbing information.
As this content forms our perspectives, the best thing we can do is ensure we’re exposed to different sources and not pigeon-holing ourselves with media content that might limit our viewpoints or, worse, "fake news" designed to radicalize us. In short, fostering news literacy is important.
Libraries have made it their mission to not only educate their patrons, but also broaden their horizons by providing access to such resources as books, research and publications from all over the world.
Librarians also give people information-literacy tools to assess if a source is trustworthy and worth exploring. It’s a mission that we share, here at PressReader.
Reimagining the reading experience
We want to reimagine the reading experience in order to improve media literacy, democratize access to information and support the future of journalism — all for the love of reading.
So, how exactly do we do that? Our global catalog of magazines and newspapers, paired with our translation features, help to reduce the barriers to media.
In this post, we’re exploring why news literacy is such a vital concept, and how we’ve devised our platform to help librarians fight misinformation and empower their patrons with the right resources and technology.
There’s a need for diverse perspectives
When a goldfish lives in a fishbowl, that glass bowl is its whole life. They see and understand everything from the perspective of their environment, without even knowing that there’s a whole ocean out there filled with other fish just like them.
Now, we’re not calling anyone a goldfish, but when someone is only exposed to a particular set of news sources and media messages, the same thing happens. The way these citizens view their society is framed by the content they consume.
Media literacy skills shape critical thinkers
Alternatively, people who are exposed to different perspectives, ideas and sources of news are more likely to develop media-literacy skills and critical-thinking abilities.
With a more dynamic view of how things are, they can take a closer look at what they’re reading and discern whether a source is biased or trustworthy.
These skills are particularly important as social media feeds and internet forums are filled with ideas that could really have come from anywhere, on the same platforms as the content published by reputable sources. Being able to discern one thing from the other is vital.
Information literacy is fundamental
We’ve said it before: media-literacy practices and critical thinking are fundamental for us to have functioning, democratic societies. If people can identify and trust news sources, they’re able to make more informed choices when they vote, engage with their representatives and advocate for themselves and their communities. It gives them the tools they need to evaluate information effectively and make decisions around practically anything they do in their lives.
And it goes beyond that. Having more exposure to news from other parts of the world helps us better understand different ways of doing things. For instance, from one country to another, there may be different corporate policies around parental leave, education or health coverage.
Being able to easily compare these policies can help people bring a proposal to their own employer or government representative. For libraries that want to facilitate this research and learning, a platform that gathers content from around the world and translates it automatically can be particularly useful.
Technology to shape communal media literacy
Designed to help broaden perspectives and give readers a global reach, PressReader has a massive catalog of newspapers and magazines from over 120 countries, in over 70 languages. Once they’re in, library members get access to a diverse range of viewpoints that they can learn to trust.
The automatic translation into 21 languages means that users can read this global content, even if it’s not written in their native tongue. That’s invaluable. Not only does it bring the rest of the world to your town or city, it also allows the immigrants and refugees that use your library to learn more about their new community and its systems — a valuable exchange that’s key to shaping communal media literacy.
For the love of media literacy
As library leaders know all too well, another key component of media literacy is ensuring that absolutely everyone — regardless of their physical ability or mental wellbeing — can find high-quality, trusted journalism. After all, people with disabilities people make up 15% of the world’s population, and they deserve the opportunity to have an informed voice at the table.
PressReader Accessibility was designed with the help of library patrons to make our platform more accessible. A WCAG 2.1-certified accessibility feature for blind and partially sighted readers, it includes features like keyboard navigation, a text-only article view and integrations with popular screen readers.
A tailored experience boosts investment
Another PressReader feature that helps promote media literacy is the ability it gives readers to tailor their experience on the platform. Readers can curate their home feed with a selection of preferred magazines and newspapers, build collections, set up email alerts on specific topics and save content to read later.
This autonomy and connectivity allows patrons to be more involved and invested in their learning.
As we continue to work with library partners all over the globe, we’re excited to find new ways to promote news literacy and empower patrons with the content and resources they need to create a discerning perspective of the world.
Learn more about how PressReader supports libraries fight misinformation and foster media literacy.