ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (May 15, 2020) — The Poynter Institute’s MediaWise program announces its newest ambassador: Dave Jorgenson of The Washington Post. Jorgenson is a video producer, editor and writer for The Post, where he runs its popular TikTok account. With 22 million likes and 486,000 followers, Jorgenson has achieved popularity on the platform, successfully highlighting The Post brand while exposing teen viewers to a variety of reporters and news stories.
The MediaWise Ambassadors program, launched in 2019, has helped put MediaWise on the map by raising awareness and supporting a shared mission — to teach people how to sort fact from fiction online and slow the spread of misinformation. Jorgenson joins a roster of 10 MediaWise Ambassadors ranging from TV network news anchors like “NBC Nightly News” anchor Lester Holt to best-selling authors like John Green.
Jorgenson was introduced to the program last October when MediaWise multimedia reporter Alex Mahadevan interviewed him and wrote a story for poynter.org: The Post’s TikTok guy gets millions of views by being uncool. The MediaWise team later reached out to Jorgenson to teach the MediaWise Teen Fact-Checking Network via video conference.
“I’m excited to become a MediaWise Ambassador as I feel like it is a natural extension of my day-to-day job. Every day on TikTok, I look to connect with a future generation that will be faced with numerous obstacles, including — and importantly — the spread of misinformation. I’m excited to work with MediaWise to inform and prepare people as the internet becomes an increasingly powerful tool for good and bad,” said Jorgenson.
Poynter founded MediaWise, a nonprofit, nonpartisan digital media literacy project, in 2018 with the goal to teach 1 million American teenagers how to sort fact from fiction online. Well surpassing that goal, Mediawise has now reached over 10 million people and expanded its mission to serve more audiences, including first-time voters in the 2020 election.
“The MediaWise project is expanding to new age groups this summer but our core audience is still teenagers, and they spend a lot of time on TikTok,” said Katy Byron, MediaWise editor and program manager. “I’m excited about working with Dave to make media literacy ‘cool’ through TikTok videos that make you laugh but also teach you how to find the facts. Who doesn’t want to have fun while learning?”
Jorgenson will be working with MediaWise on a variety of projects as an ambassador, the first being two videos to publish today on TikTok.
The first video announces that he is supporting the digital media literacy project as an ambassador, which is posted on the @washingtonpost TikTok account.
In the second video, published on the @MediaWise TikTok account, Jorgenson teaches how to fact-check the claim that went viral recently about Zoom sharing your private messages. TikTok supported this second video through grant funds to Poynter.
Here’s a look at the work of MediaWise Ambassadors to support and promote the project:
- All MediaWise Ambassadors contributed to a PSA video asking people to stop spreading misinformation related to the coronavirus pandemic. It reached more than 10 million people across platforms.
- Lester Holt gave an interview to USA Today to launch the MediaWise Ambassador program. He broadcast a package on “NBC Nightly News” about the project as well. Holt also appeared on a segment on the “Stay Tuned” Snapchat show for International Fact-Checking Day to teach MediaWise skills.
- John Green, best-selling author, created a 10-part @CrashCourse YouTube series teaching the MediaWise curriculum, called Navigating Digital Information. It has nearly 1 million views to date.
- Tyler Oakley, best-selling author and influencer, helped launch the MediaWise Voter Project at a teaching event in Iowa with 250 University of Iowa students ahead of the caucuses. He also created a partnered video with MediaWise, The Truth About Jason Derulo.
- Ingrid Nilsen partnered with MediaWise on this video, “Are These Wellness Trends Legit? Deodorant, Detoxes, Matcha,” published on her YouTube channel. She co-led a MediaWise training with 500 teens at the Teen Vogue Summit in 2018.
- Destin Sandlin, host of @SmarterEveryDay YouTube channel, created Why Your Newsfeed SUCKS, which has nearly 1 million views. He did a panel with MediaWise at SXSW EDU in Austin in 2019. Sandlin also helped MediaWise create and promote the online campaign #isthislegit for users to tag suspicious social media posts and ask MediaWise for help.
- Hari Sreenivasan, weekend anchor and correspondent for “PBS NewsHour,” taught more than 250 teens media literacy skills during a MediaWise Voter Project event in New York in March. Sreenivasan recently launched “Take on Fake,” a digital series for PBS that combats misinformation and will highlight MediaWise on the series.
- Savannah Sellers, host of NBC’s “Stay Tuned” show on Snapchat, went back to her own high school with MediaWise in San Diego to teach students there, has done several segments on her Snapchat show teaching MediaWise skills and helped facilitate a MediaWise training event at Google in New York.
- Mark Watson of the @SoldierKnowsBest YouTube channel helps MediaWise tap into the tech/gadget audience on YouTube. He created a video called “The Worst Thing About Product Rumors…”
- Peter Hamby, host of Snapchat’s first original show, “Good Luck America,” and Vanity Fair columnist, went to Iowa with MediaWise in September to teach students in classrooms key digital literacy skills.
- PBS Student Reporting Labs, a teen-focused journalism program of “PBS NewsHour” that teaches thousands of teenage journalists nationwide, will help first-time voters become better informed as part of the MediaWise Voter Project. PBS SRL students co-taught with Sreenivasan and the MediaWise team at the New York event in March. Staffers recently joined MediaWise for a Reddit AMA on r/teenagers, which is a community of 1.7M teenagers worldwide, to answer user questions about misinformation related to the coronavirus.
The MediaWise project plans to add additional ambassadors this year to support its MediaWise Voter Project — its 2020 first-time voter media literacy education initiative. You can stay involved with the MediaWise project and see the work of the partnerships with its ambassadors by following @MediaWise across social: Instagram, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok.
About The Poynter Institute
The Poynter Institute for Media Studies is a global leader in journalism education and a strategy center that stands for uncompromising excellence in journalism, media and 21st-century public discourse. Poynter faculty teach seminars and workshops at the Institute in St. Petersburg, Florida, and at newsrooms, conferences and organizations around the world. Its e-learning division, News University, offers the world’s largest online journalism curriculum, with hundreds of interactive courses and tens of thousands of registered international users. The Institute’s website produces 24-hour coverage about media, ethics, technology and the business of news. Poynter is the home of the Craig Newmark Center for Ethics and Leadership, the Pulitzer Prize-winning PolitiFact, the International Fact-Checking Network and MediaWise, a digital information literacy project for young people. The world’s top journalists and media innovators rely on Poynter to learn and teach new generations of reporters, storytellers, media inventors, designers, visual journalists, documentarians and broadcasters. This work builds public awareness about journalism, media, the First Amendment and discourse that serves democracy and the public good.
MediaWise is a digital media literacy initiative led by The Poynter Institute: Its mission is to teach Americans of all ages how to sort fact from fiction online. The work of MediaWise has been seen by more than 14 million people since the project launched in 2018. The MediaWise program teaches people through in-person and virtual training events, online educational videos, fact-checking content reported by its Teen Fact-Checking Network, and its MediaWise Ambassador program — a group of prominent journalists and influencers who help promote the MediaWise mission. In 2020, Poynter launched the MediaWise Voter Project (#MVP2020) to teach first-time voters how to find reliable information online about the U.S. presidential election, a new initiative supported by Facebook. The foundation of MediaWise was created with support from Google.org, and MediaWise is a part of Google News Initiative. Learn more at poynter.org/mediawise.
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