Skip to main content
Library Logo WOU Home Library Home

FYS 207: Illustrating Social Issues: Media Literacy


Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create and act using all forms of communication. In its simplest terms, media literacy builds upon the foundation of traditional literacy and offers new forms of reading and writing. Media literacy empowers people to be critical thinkers and makers, effective communicators and active citizens"

-- (National Association for Media Literacy Education).

Media Literacy is a 21st century approach to education. It provides a framework to access, analyze, evaluate, create and participate with messages in a variety of forms — from print to video to the Internet. Media literacy builds an understanding of the role of media in society as well as essential skills of inquiry and self-expression necessary for citizens of a democracy.

-- (Center for Media Literacy)

Sources of (Media) Information

As the flow of information transitions from one category of media sources to another, it raises many interesting questions:

  • As social media platforms become the go-to for news organizations and internet sites seeking "breaking" information, how does it affect the accuracy of their reporting?
  • How is misinformation filtered so that what we see, hear and read isn't "fake news"? Who determines what is newsworthy?
  • How does "clickbait" and misleading information (both visual and textual) affect our perceptions of news and our own biases?

According to 2018 study of information dissemination by researchers at MIT, false information spreads at an average of 6x the rate that true information does, and reached between 1x-100x more people! Additionally, the vast spread of false information didn't appear to be due to "bots," but rather the novelty (how unique) individuals felt the information was, as well as the emotional response it elicited.


Vosoughi, S., Roy, D., & Aral, S. (2018). The spread of true and false news online. Science, 359(6380), 1146–1151. doi: 10.1126/science.aap9559

Information Timeline Graphic by adstarkel. Used under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


Media Bias Chart

Chat or Zoom with WOU Library