Stopping Misinformation at the Gate

With Peter Adams - Senior Vice President of Research and Design at the News Literacy Project

Episode description:

Welcome to In Reality, the podcast about truth, disinformation and the media with Eric Schurenberg, a long time journalist and media executive, now the founder of the Alliance for Trust in Media.

There are two ways to fight misinformation: One is to debunk falsehoods after they have surfaced. The other is to help create media literate news audiences, who can recognize false claims before they take root. Debunking, necessary though it is, inevitably hands the initiative to manipulators and propagandists. Media literacy, on the other hand, helps news consumers debunk their own news feed. It simply scales better.

Today’s guest has spent the past decade and a half engaged in the media literacy cause. A former educator, Peter Adams is the research director of the News Literacy Project, a 15-year-old non-profit that trains middle-school and high-school teachers to impart the media literacy and critical thinking skills their students need to navigate today’s incredibly challenging information ecosystem. Peter and Eric discuss the penetration of news literacy training in school systems, how to deal with bias in news sources, the impact of collapsing media business models on the news environment, and the responsibility of news consumers to curate their own media diet.



Origin Story of the News Literacy Project

Role of the Research and Design Team

Penetration of NLP’s Curriculum in School Systems

Definition of News Literacy and Its Components

Evaluation of Non-Traditional Sources of News

Understanding Bias in News Coverage

Challenges Faced by Mainstream Media

Political Bias in News Coverage

Impact of Changing Business Models on News Coverage
Addressing Partisan Bias in News Literacy Education

Responsibility of News Consumers in Curating a Healthy News Diet

Discovering News Outside of Filter Bubbles

Peter Adams’ News Sources

Overview of NLP’s Products and Resources



Eric Schurenberg (00:01.965)
Peter, welcome to In Reality.

Peter Adams (00:04.868)
Great to be with you.

Eric Schurenberg (00:06.31)
It is great to have you. I have been following the News Literacy Project for a couple of years, and I’m very familiar with it. And so are any experts or people who are interested in the work you do, but not everybody knows about it. So tell us a little bit about the origin story of the News Literacy Project, what it does.

Peter Adams (00:29.264)
Sure. So the News Literacy Project is an education nonprofit organization that works with the public and especially with educators to help people navigate today’s information environment. So to just distinguish fact from fiction, to understand what they can trust, what credible information looks like and why it matters in their lives. NLP was founded by a career investigative journalist named Alan C. Miller.

who spent 30 years at the Los Angeles Times, nearly, mostly in the Washington Bureau, and following a visit with his daughter’s middle school, realized that generation really didn’t have an appreciation for what distinguished quality journalism from everything else they were seeing. Kind of terrified him and alarmed him as someone who held accuracy and fairness and all the ideals of quality journalism so sacred. And so,

He took a buyout from the Times and with some initial seed funding from the Knight Foundation, who is still a funder of NLP, developed a curriculum for news literacy. So one of the very first news literacy curriculum out there. Back in 2007, 2008, he developed this curriculum and launched NLP. And we’ve kind of been off and running ever since.

Eric Schurenberg (01:54.446)
You are NLP’s research director. What does that mean? What do you do?

Peter Adams (02:00.176)
So the team I head is actually the research and design team. My team develops all of our student and teacher-facing content and our public-facing content. So we have a team that folks on my team who develop lesson plans for our website resource library. My team populates our Checkology virtual classroom, which is probably our core resource for educators. It’s a virtual learning environment, an e-learning environment.

We produce a weekly email newsletter for educators called the SIFT that helps them sort of keep up with trends in journalism and misinformation and debunking and social media platform moderation. And then we have a version of that newsletter called Get Smart About News for non-educators. That comes out of my team.
My team runs a website called Rumor Guard that takes recent examples of misinformation and not only kind of summarizes why they’re false and explains that, but then unpacks that and helps them understand, you know, how that example fits into misinformation patterns and tropes that they can learn to recognize at a more general level. And then my team also does our teacher professional development and webinars and public events conversations with folks. So we get up to a lot and I get the honor of heading that very busy team.

Eric Schurenberg (03:22.778)
That sounds great. I wanna talk about rumor guard in a second. So let’s come back to that in particular, the rumors that are the focus of your attention right now, but let’s just to place NLP in the education environment. How much penetration does your curriculum have in school systems? What are the success stories that sort of measure your success?

Peter Adams (03:48.54)
Sure, so we have thousands of educators across the US and also around the world who have created accounts on checkology and use it with tens of thousands of students a year. Since we launched checkology in early 2016, we launched it in spring of 2016.

I’d have to pull you the cumulative numbers. I don’t want to cite you a faulty number. I didn’t pull those up for the interview, but pretty dramatic impact with students in terms of reach. We also do a pre and post assessment for checkology. So teachers who opt into that instrument, their students take a pre-assessment survey before they begin and then they take.

Those questions again when they finish a corresponding lesson so we can measure some growth and impact. My team also is very committed to kind of iterative design. So if we see something that’s not performing as well as other lessons, we take another look at that lesson, we take a look at the question and how we’re asking it, and try to make those changes and fixes so we can continue to make bigger improvements year over year.

Eric Schurenberg (05:08.538)
Okay. At the Alliance for Trust, we think a lot about news literacy and what it means. And to us, it means understanding who the players are in the current information ecosystem, and then using that knowledge to distinguish between trustworthy sources of news and untrustworthy sources. That’s our sort of nickel definition. What else goes into it from your point of view?

Peter Adams (05:37.892)
So I think that’s a lot, I mean, there’s a lot there to unpack, right? So I think something that Alan has sort of baked into NLP’s organizational DNA from the beginning is this conviction that the standards of quality journalism, the standards and practices that newsrooms, the quality newsrooms aspire to take seriously, also can function on the consumer side as a kind of yardstick to measure credibility, right? So if we help people understand, you know, what the aspiration to be fair looks like and to really reflect on that and think about it in a nuanced way to help them understand even conventions of style. A lot of people misunderstand why a given news organization will or won’t use a specific term to describe something, often out of just a very granular concern for accuracy help them understand the ideals of transparency and the importance of that, of accountability, of correcting the record, helping them understand how news organizations make decisions around what to cover and how to gauge news values and how to source stories, who they talk to and why and what a responsible news organization looks like in terms of how those things show up in the end product.

So there is a lot there. I think also helping folks understand the role that a free press plays in a robust democracy and why that matters. Also really helping them understand the stakes of misinformation. This has been, you know, an increasingly big role of our work and an increasingly big part of our work. Just helping them understand that, you know, falsehoods, even if they don’t fall for them, do have a downstream effect. So, you know, their neighbors, other people in their community, other people in their networks may believe those. So, you know, you may, you may be someone who feels that they don’t fall for falsehoods online. And even if that’s true, they can still affect you, right, because they other people do believe them. They vote in your community, they vote in your state elections, and so on. And so it’s everybody’s it’s everybody’s problem. And it’s everybody’s issue.

Eric Schurenberg (07:56.161)

Peter Adams (07:56.928)
and just really sort of helping with that. And then we’d like to help people also have kind of productive conversations about these things, non-combative conversations, and help sort of ameliorate some of the polarization that’s going on.

Eric Schurenberg (08:10.514)
Okay, all right, good. That is comprehensive. Given Alan’s background as an investigative journalist for some mainstream publications, it’s easy, and of course, I too have a background in established institutional journalism. It is tempting to have news literacy boil down to trusting mainstream established media and then to be mistrustful of everyone else. You know, it is an easy thing for me to default to, but for younger people who prefer to get their news from TikTok say, it can’t be the solution simply to say, stick to the Washington Post and the New York Times and Reuters and shut out everything else. The information environment is more complex than that. How do you evaluate the non-traditional sources of news?

Peter Adams (09:10.444)
Yeah, so I think again those same aspirations. So for us, it’s less about, we get asked this question all the time, what do you have a list of credible sources that we can give to students? And we say, no, we want students to make those determinations themselves. But what we will give you is that, the characteristics of credible information. So nobody disputes that credible organizations and credible information should be transparent, transparent at the level of an individual report, you know, where you’re getting your information should be clearly attributed and sourced, but also transparent at the organizational level. Nobody thinks that credible information shouldn’t be accountable, that organizations that purport to produce credible information shouldn’t correct the record, shouldn’t, you know, own errors, shouldn’t respond to their audience when they say on, say, social media that a headline is unfair, or misleading, there should be a demonstrated concern for those values. No one thinks it shouldn’t be accurate, certainly. No one thinks it shouldn’t be fair. So if we can really help students understand what those ideals look like, then they can, again, they can recognize them in practice.

I think that it is true that institutional news media have the sort of longest demonstrated history of having a concern for those ideals. It doesn’t mean that they perfectly live up to them. But I think they certainly do more so than a lot of alternative outlets or outlets that don’t necessarily have those concerns, that have a sort of open partisan orientation. And we wanna help students understand that. It doesn’t mean that opinionated commentary doesn’t have a place in your information diet, it doesn’t mean that John Oliver’s entertaining commentary doesn’t have a place in young people’s information diet. A lot of them think that he does, you know, better quote unquote reporting than news organizations. And, you know, we kind of always remind folks that he actually bases all of his stuff on standards-based news reporting, but he’s adding a lot of commentary that’s entertaining and interesting and provocative.

And that has a place, but we want students to know what they’re looking at when they see it. Right? So one of our foundational lessons that we call Infozones helps students differentiate between news and opinion and advertising and entertainment and raw information. You know, just a raw security cam video that they might come across on TikTok isn’t news. It’s raw information. You’re getting this out of context. It has a role. It has a place. But you should also remember that there’s a lot missing. Right? And so we’re actually really, really careful with what students consider news to be. And we sort of try to define that very clearly for them and help them think for themselves about what to trust.

Eric Schurenberg (12:10.09)
I wanna double click specifically on something you mentioned a few minutes ago about how certain organizations may use terms to describe various terms to describe goings on in the news and others may choose not to. And there, you know, an example for many years was Reuters reluctance to identify Islamic violence as being acts of terrorism. And there are other examples around how to treat falsehoods that originate in political discourse. Can you give me an example of where that might be happening today and where NLP has helped explain that to its audience?

Peter Adams (13:05.36)
Sure. So we… talk a lot with educators about bias. You know, they, that is the kind of number one topic, not just among educators, but I think the broader public, uh, when it comes to thinking and talking about journalism. And so we, we really try to add a lot of nuance to that conversation, right? To think about, you know, what counts as bias and who decides, everybody’s fond of saying this, this news organization leans right or this is skewed left.

But, but what does that really mean in practice? What is the center and who decides is the center static and fixed or does it float with the national conversation over the course of years? I think are all productive things to think about. A slice of that is our style decisions, right? So as you mentioned, you know, the conversations in newsrooms about when and how to use words like terrorism, when and how to describe something a politician has said as a lie, right? A lie is something that’s false that the person knew was false when they said it.

Peter Adams (14:08.312)
And so there is a concern, I think, and that is a particularly interesting conversation that has been kind of resurfaced in recent years because some newsrooms have sort of pointed out to use that word, we have to know that the person knowingly said something false and didn’t just mistakenly say something false. Even if we think it’s almost certainly the case, is that good enough to call something a lie? And does it add anything to the coverage, right?

Or can the public sort of… decide for themselves. Of course, there are segments of the public, especially, you know, people who have strong partisan feelings that will take to social media and condemn a news outlet for not using it. But I think that, you know, what counts and what we try to sort of bring people’s attention to is the fact that those conversations are happening in the first place. You may not agree with where the New York Times or Reuters or any other outlet comes down on what to call a given act.

But the fact that they have had those conversations, that they sometimes publish editors’ notes or columns to explain them, the fact that those kind of conversations and considerations are happening is the sign of credibility in the first place. But there is an attempt to use the word thoughtfully and accurately. And I think that’s reflected in AP style guidance. So if you look at the AP style book, you can see.

Peter Adams (15:34.628)
these very clear explanations and when they update style, it is a very clear explanation as to why, right? And incredibly thoughtful. And I think if more people sort of engage with that or just sort of dabbled it, followed the AP Style Guidance accounts on Twitter and social media that they would benefit from that.

Eric Schurenberg (15:56.662)
You’re referring to the sound guides put out by the Associated Press. You mentioned earlier that traditional mainstream media, high integrity media is not perfect. They are human institutions. But lately, they’ve been particularly challenged. The business models have changed, not for the better. And so… some once proud institutions, including Alan Miller’s own LA Times recently had layoffs, Texas Tribune, Baltimore Sun just sold for a song, local news is in free fall. This affects the ability of these institutions to cover the news. It affects their news mix between opinion and straight reporting. How do you deal with that and instructing of the audience for the news literacy project to evaluate the news that comes across their newsfeed.

Peter Adams (17:03.812)
Sorry, how do we teach them to just sort of take a?

Eric Schurenberg (17:07.312)
Yeah, to what extent does understanding the challenges that the information environment or the traditional mainstream media are facing now affect the quality of news?

Peter Adams (17:18.32)
Sure, yeah, I think, I mean, there’s a lot there, right? So we often talk to educators more than students directly, really try to help educators understand the vicissitudes of the attention economy, right? And just how competitive it is, how advertising revenue has plummeted for all sorts of reasons. Ad tech, huge ad tech companies are siphoning up, enormous amounts of revenue that much of what used to go to larger media organizations. The rates for advertising have dropped and news organizations have to constantly sort of navigate, you know, a thoughtful, accurate headline with a headline that’s going to get attention amid everything else that’s in front of people. Right. And so if you stray too far toward sensationalism, then you’re sort of denigrating your credibility and your brand.

Eric Schurenberg (18:07.926)

Peter Adams (18:15.016)
You certainly don’t want to stray into sort of clickbait territory, although we’ve seen organizations do that, right? Sports Illustrated has done that, Newsweek has done that. Once, you know, once great publications that have sort of sullied their reputations by doing that. Others, you know, if they sort of maintain their more traditional approach, may not get the traffic that they need and may not get subscribers. I think the same is true with the blend of, you know, the mix of opinion content and straight news. Certainly opinion sells, right? And people online love having their biases reflected back to them. I think in many ways they love being outraged. And so outrage mongers and people who are willing to just reflect people’s worldviews back to them, pundits, online opinion influencers, partisan influencers, certainly have a, you know, develop a large following doing that work. And it’s tough for news organizations to sort of swim in those waters successfully and maintain their ideals.

So we try to help students, you know, and educators think about those issues very clearly, right? That news organizations do need revenue to operate. And there are various models to try to provide that revenue – all of which tend to come with some potential conflicts of interest that then require policies to mitigate or minimize and that just to think, just be thoughtful about that, right? And to recognize those realities and also recognize that a lot of local news organizations, especially, are shuttering, that we’re losing local news media and the long-term effect on democracy could be disastrous.

Eric Schurenberg (20:08.382)
Yes, yes, very true. In addition to the challenges of the changing business models for mainstream media, you could argue, and many have, that those newsrooms also have their political biases. You probably read Peter Bennett’s account of his ouster from the New York Times for having approved a conservative senator’s op-ed on the opinion pages.

I’m right now reading Marty Barron’s book about the clashes that he had with somewhat dogmatic progressive forces in his own newsroom. How do you allow for biases in the, and what do you tell your audience about that kind of political bias in the news feed that may be coming from traditional news sources?

Peter Adams (21:06.672)
Sure. So I think bias is a concept that people both tend to oversimplify, but also sometimes complicate unnecessarily in different ways. So I think people tend to think that bias in a newsroom is a systematic kind of top-down thing that every news organization has some sort of systematic secret agenda or tactical reason behind every decision they make behind every story they do that senior level editors, you know Go to go to individual reporters and tell them to spin this way or do this that way And that’s just not at all how it happens, right? So I think the public thinks that bias is both overt and intentional.

And I think for the most part at legitimate news organizations bias and coverage is much more incidental, you know, a byproduct of Oversights and things people don’t realize are not in the reporting or are in the reporting And are also highly debatable, right? So People point often to the same coverage. You can see it now in coverage of the israel hamas war People who have strong feelings about those events see a very strong and very clear bias in the coverage against, you know, where their sympathies and their loyalties lie.

And I think that’s true across the political spectrum as well, right? People on the left are infuriated by mainstream coverage and think that it’s biased against their policies and their positions and misrepresents the politicians that they favor and people on the right feel the same way. And I think we could all, you know, be better served if we had a more nuanced more thoughtful approach to that. So what we do is try to help educators teach students to look at different types of bias first.

So you have an initial perception of bias, recognize that you yourself are also biased. You’re bringing your biases to the coverage. And so give yourself a gut check and then ask yourself, what type of bias do I think I’m seeing?

Allegations of partisan bias kind of dominate the conversations, but there’s also the potential for demographic bias. There’s the potential for something we call neutrality bias, which is being neutral when the facts are clear, so kind of false balance or both sidesism. There’s the potential for corporate bias. There’s a bias toward big stories or big scoops and a news organization might move too fast. And once you figure out the type, then think about how is it actually showing up in coverage? Is it a matter of tone? Is it the way it’s framed? Is it…

Peter Adams (24:02.992)
How it’s sourced. And so I think if we think in terms of those types and forms and really kind of vet our perceptions initially, we can come out on the other side with, you know, feedback for news organizations that’s much more substantive and actionable. So if you’ve done the legwork, if you take an instance of what you believe to be bias, reflect on it, control for your own biases, think about the type of bias you think you’re seeing in the form it’s taking and still feel that there’s something there, then you have something substantive and specific to say that’s much more likely to get the attention of the news organization that published the piece. So that’s how we tend to approach that.

Eric Schurenberg (24:48.674)
Okay, well thank you, that’s very helpful. I want to press a little bit further on, on partisan bias in media. Part of the news literacy projects approach in dealing with educators, for example, is to be strictly nonpartisan. This is definitely part of your, you know, your business model, if you will.

And yet it is also seems clear to me anyway, that there is, and there’s a lot of research behind this that suggests that there is a kind of asymmetry in disinformation that believing, for example, that there was a conspiracy to steal the 2020 presidential election, despite evidence to the contrary, is a litmus test for membership in many conservative circles. And the cognitive habits that you encourage among your audience would be skeptical of other conservative talking points like vaccine hesitancy or QAnon or, you know, in addition to Stop the Steal. How do you convince school administrators that you at the News Literacy Project are not basically doing advanced work for progressive leanings?

Peter Adams (26:10.756)
Mm-hmm. Yeah, this, I think, is something that a lot of educators have to grapple with in these politically polarized times. You know, parents are really looking carefully at what students are learning in the classroom and often with a determination to find partisanship and partisan bias, which has made it really rough, I think, on classroom teachers all over the country. You know, we, again, Alan, as a journalist, you know, was was deeply committed to nonpartisanship in his work and in his reporting, kind of following the facts where they lead and being as impartial as possible and brought those values to NLP early on.

But when we get that question from districts and from educators, we encourage them to look at our materials first and foremost and help us understand where, if anywhere, they feel that we’ve missed the mark, that if they feel like there is a lesson or a resource or an infographic or something that we published or produced that has some sort of partisan bias, we are happy and eager to take a look at that. We want to be accountable for our own work. People can also look at our board, which has representation from across the political spectrum from our funders, and we’re happy to have those kinds of conversations.

We also have a pretty strict firewall between our funders and our content. So we won’t take money to spin a lesson one way or the other. We don’t invite funders to the table to design our lessons. We have projects that we want to build, and we look for funding for those things. And so that’s another sort of value that I think Alan instilled early on, is the independence and the importance of our independence and our judgment.

We’ve walked away from significant funding in the past from funders who wanted to use NLP to do reputation repair, wanted to use NLP to produce something that we just weren’t willing to do. And so, you know, we often have to have those conversations now, I think, as we reach out to schools and districts and help them understand who we are and what we do.

Eric Schurenberg (28:29.342)
Yes, yes. It must be much more difficult now than it was in the early days of NLP because schools have become such a front line in the culture wars here. I’d like to shift to the sort of demand side of falsehood, disinformation, if you will. You mentioned earlier, and I think it’s an extremely important point in today’s information environment, to understand that curating a healthy news diet, to use your phrase, is your responsibility as a news consumer now, that you’re no longer sufficient to be a passive consumer of three broadcast networks and a local newspaper. Part of that responsibility is understanding your own biases and how you can be manipulated however much you think you can’t be.

How do you advise news consumers to understand how to minimize their own biases and their own susceptibility to attractive falsehoods?

Peter Adams (29:43.064)
Yeah, that’s a great question. I think there’s a lot there, right? I think there’s a piece of the public being aware of how the tools they most often use work and their potential to echo chamber them, to put them in a kind of filter bubble.

If you like and engage with specific content on TikTok or on Facebook or on Twitter, you are, or X rather, you’re likely to get more of that, right? And so to really understand how that works, I think is important. And to step outside of that intentionally is also important. So I think that people should build a social media feed that has some thoughtful, informed voices with whom they disagree in it. And then you will see those voices. And to grapple with that with honesty and with reflection. So I think it’s altogether too easy for people today to say that, oh, you know, the Republican Party this or the Democrats that, and just write off people whole cloth and their views, but to really understand, you know, where it’s coming from. Even things where people’s beliefs and attitudes depart from the facts. So you mentioned like, you know, anti-vaccination sentiment, right?

Some of that sentiment I think is due to a concern over government overreach and regulations. Government’s requiring vaccines, governments working with social media companies to establish content moderation policies. And I think those kinds of concerns are legitimate, right? What’s not legitimate is our false assertions about the safety of vaccines that I think we have to push back against, right? And I should add, NLP does not include

Peter Adams (31:34.736)
Climate change denial as sort of something we need to sort of give equal time to as part of our nonpartisan stance, part of our nonpartisan stance and part of our values as an organization is affirming fact-based information and that includes the fact that climate change is real, that it’s largely driven by human activity, that vaccines are safe and that the 2020 election was not stolen. And so we’re not afraid to say that.

Peter Adams (32:03.232)
We don’t think that’s actually a partisan statement. It shouldn’t be considered a partisan statement. It should be just a matter of consensus. And it’s important for us to sort of get back to the place where we can have those assumptions and then talk about policy and then talk about other things.

Eric Schurenberg (32:21.326)
One of the problems in having a healthy news diet, a well-rounded news diet is not just recognizing falses when they cross your radar screen, but also seeing things that are just not covered in your filter bubble, in your world. And I think about, for example, a recent story in the Times about how few Republicans are aware of Trump’s.

Eric Schurenberg (32:50.558)
legal battles, which are sort of the subject of relentless coverage in mainstream publications like the Times and the Washington Post. And conversely, I wonder if progressives are aware of the growing concern about transgender practices in places like Tavistock in London.

I wonder about how you handle that. If you, it’s one thing to verify news that crosses your newsfeed. It’s another thing to discover news that you’re not even hearing about.

Peter Adams (33:36.364)
Yes. So again, there’s a lot there, right? I think first, that goes back to sort of building a very media diet, right? And being deliberate about your news consumption. I think we lose a lot when we turn our news consumption over to algorithms entirely that say, you know, I’m a big believer in following credible sources of information on social media when I see a public opinion poll that says… that a high percentage of Americans get news on social media. I don’t think that’s automatically worrisome.

I get a lot of news on social media, but are you deliberate about it? And do you also get news from other places? Do you deliberately read a Sunday paper? Do you look at an evening newscast? Do you listen to a broadcast on a regular basis? Do you have news apps on your phone that you open to get news? Or do you just let news find you? I think there are a lot of pitfalls when you just let news find you because algorithms are not optimized for credibility and for, you know, civic discourse. They’re out, they’re optimized for engagement and ads. And so, you know, they can be powerful tools to stay informed, but they can’t be your only tool. I think too, there’s a lot of rhetoric online about, you know, things that quote unquote, the media refuses to cover or isn’t covering enough.

And then those people will tell you all about that thing in great detail. And my question is always, how do you know so much about it if the media is not covering it? And they’ll say, okay, well, some people are covering it. And if you sometimes, if you just stop and search, there’s actually often a lot of coverage. You just didn’t happen to see it. You didn’t happen to hear it. It was on just before you got in the car or it was the article you didn’t click on, the thing that didn’t make it into your feed. And so I think that’s really important as well. But I would agree that people need to actively de-echo chamber themselves, right, again, and look for voices that they tend to disagree with and to read a variety of coverage from a variety of sources.

Eric Schurenberg (35:36.146)
All right, Peter, you have teed up my next question, which you must get asked all the time, which is where do you get your news?

Peter Adams (35:44.252)
Oh, gosh, I get a number of sources. I read several national papers, also listen to my local NPR affiliate here in Chicago, read the local papers here in Chicago, also follow a lot of digital first news organizations across the web and individual reporters, read a lot of tech news as well. So organizations that cover issues in social media moderation. And then, you know, I’m a big, big believer in reading fact checks from standards based fact checking organizations. So I think if you can keep up with the falsehoods that are circulating online, you can begin to recognize those trends and tropes and sort of inoculate yourselves to the to the appeal of those when they make their way across your feed, whether in overt forms, like an overt falsehood, or even just narratives that are floating that you can recognize that are related to a conspiracy theory or a falsehood that is underpinning that.

Eric Schurenberg (36:56.094)
Okay, let’s end with giving the listeners an opportunity to learn more about NLP and its products like Chackology and WummerGuard. Where should they go and how are the products differentiated for different audiences?

Peter Adams (37:17.648)
Sure. So the best place to go to start is our homepage at And that’s kind of your roadmap to everything else we have. Educators who are interested in the News Literacy Project’s resources should definitely check out the Checkology virtual classroom. That lives at That is a free e-learning resource with something like 18 lessons now about a variety of topics, and then a lot of practice sets and challenges that students can work through to master those concepts and apply those concepts to real world examples of information that we’ve curated for them. Those are our big public, sorry, our big educator resources for the broader public.

We have Rumor Guard, which helps folks kind of stay abreast of misinformation like I was just talking about. So we publish two or three pieces a week on that explain not just what a prominent falsehood that’s a piece of viral misinformation in recent days, but also kind of how to think about that and what that means, right?

So the larger question of what you can learn from that and learn to recognize so that you are not exploited or duped by that in the future, by that tactic, by that technique. Or you can help your friends and family do that as well with Rumour Guard. You can sign up for email alerts from Rumour Guard. You can even now sign up for text alerts from that will ping you when a significant rumor is circulating and we have a new entry as well. And then we do have those two email newsletters as well, the SIFT for educators and Get Smart About News for the broader public, which are absolutely… great sort of concise digests of news literacy relevant stuff each week.

Eric Schurenberg (39:12.194)
Great. Peter Adams, thank you so much for being on In Reality, and thank you for the work you’re doing at News Literacy Project.

Peter Adams (39:20.356)
Thanks so much, Eric. It was great.


Produced by Sound Sapien

Created & produced by: Podcast Partners / Published: Feb 20 2024

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