Google and PBS launch a media literacy program to combat misinformation

·Associate Editor
·2 min read

Over the past few years, Google has been trying to repair its reputation as a source for disinformation by launching multiple programs, particularly the Google News Initiative (GNI). Now, the company has teamed with PBS Student Report Labs (SRL) and other journalism organizations on programs designed to strengthen media literacy for students, educators and the public.

Google News Initiative and Student Report Labs are creating educational resources aimed at teaching young people how to talk about misinformation with older family members and friends. "Through storytelling and co-production with students, we’ll explore the media literacy needs of different communities and generations, and how they can connect with each other to find solutions,” says SRL Founder Leah Clapman. As an example, GNI referenced an SRL YouTube video called "What does a school board do?" (below).

Google also teamed with the News Literacy Project (NLP), a nonpartisan national education nonprofit, to again provide media literacy education to students, teachers and the public. Google aims to bring its "Newsroom to Classroom" initiative to more journalists and educators, helping NLP expand it to areas in California, Colorado, Texas, Iowa and Nebraska, "places hit particularly hard by the decline in local news," according to Google. 

Finally, Google News Initiative is expanding its Spanish language outreach by teaming with Poynter's MediaWise project focused on students and seniors. It's joining forces with the team to translate their "How to Spot Misinformation Online" course in Spanish and creating a text-based version that will be delivered via SMS, "which is how many seniors find and share news," the company wrote. 

Google said the efforts will bolster its existing projects like Fact Check Explorer and "about this result" from Search. However, the company has a long way to go to assuage critics in the public and governments around the world that it's beating the misinformation that still plagues its various platforms. 

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