April 19, 2022

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (April 19, 2022) –  MediaWise, the digital media literacy initiative of the nonprofit Poynter Institute, has launched a new microlearning course to help Spaniards sort fact from fiction online and clear their news feeds of misinformation.

Spaniards can sign up on WhatsApp to receive 5-minute lessons that have been proven to increase people’s ability to detect disinformation on the internet. By the end of the 10-day course, participants will have a greater understanding of how to identify misinformation, recognize image manipulation, outsmart algorithms, verify credentials, and have honest conversations with friends and family who share false or misleading information on social media. 

The free series was created with support from Meta and in partnership with Newtral, a media and data verification startup, and with El Objetivo, the first Spanish signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN) at Poynter. The efficacy of the program will be evaluated against MediaWise’s time-tested digital-first training for Americans over 50 by the Center for Internet Studies and Digital Life at Universidad de Navarra (UNAV), a consolidated research hub with several national and cross-national projects on digital communication trends and social impacts. 

“This collaboration between Meta, MediaWise, Newtral and the University of Navarra is a great example of how industry and academia can work together to combat misinformation; in this case, by providing seniors with the tools to be more critical of online content,” said Jose Luis Zimmermann, head of public policy in Spain at Meta. “This partnership is just one of the ways we’re taking action against misinformation. We’re also working with over 80 third-party fact-checking partners, including Newtral, Maldita, AFP and EFE Verifica in Spain, to debunk false claims on Facebook and Instagram. When they rate something as false, we show this content lower in the feed, add a warning label, and notify people before they share it.” 

The course was unveiled during a launch event in Madrid, Spain, on Tuesday, April 19. 

Lucía Méndez, editor-in-chief of El Mundo, and Ana Pastor, founder of Newtral, joined the launch as MediaWise’s newest ambassadors who guide users through the course and share their expertise in finding truth and transparency in the world’s top stories. 

MediaWise ambassadors Ana Pastor, founder of Newtral, and Lucía Méndez, editor-in-chief of El Mundo, discuss misinformation during the program launch in Madrid, Spain, on April 19, 2022. (Newtral)

Watch the event replay.

“Journalism has always been about providing confirmed, contrasted and reliable news. The technological revolution has allowed disinformation and lies to sneak in through the back door of journalism. And furthermore, disguised as journalism,” said Méndez. “We, the journalists, have to assume the responsibility of helping citizens in the task of distinguishing what is truthful journalism from what is not.”

MediaWise international training manager Brittani Kollar discussed the importance of responsibly engaging with online content with a panel of fact-checking and communication experts including Charo Sádaba, associate professor and dean of the School of Communication at UNAV; Ramón Salaverría, director of the Center for Internet Studies & Digital Life at UNAV; Itziar Bernaola, director of Newtral Education; and Alba Tobella, co-director of Verificat.  

“In a world that is becoming increasingly smaller, it is more important now than ever before to stop the spread of misinformation before it causes irreparable damage,” said Kollar. “And that starts with everyone taking responsibility for their online experience. We’re thrilled to offer this critical resource to help Spaniards do their part in the fight against misinformation.”

Spain is the fifth country to offer MediaWise’s digital media literacy training alongside the United States, Brazil, France and Turkey. Click here or text CHEQUEAR to +14159157741 to register for the Spanish course. Visit poynter.org/mediawise/international/spain to learn more about the program. 

Media Contact

Tina Dyakon
Director of Marketing
The Poynter Institute

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, first-time voters, and senior citizens. 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 U.S. First Amendment, and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org.

About MediaWise

MediaWise is a social-first digital media literacy initiative of the nonprofit Poynter Institute. The program teaches people of all ages and backgrounds how to responsibly engage with online content in the age of information overload. The fact-checking enterprise was created in 2018 to empower citizens to find trusted sources and make sense of the vast amount of information at their fingertips. We bring simple, yet effective, digital media literacy tools to people where they are — whether they’re on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter or TikTok or in one of the five countries where MediaWise operates — and walk them through every step to determine what’s real and what’s not on the internet. Through MediaWise, everyone can do their part to reduce the spread of misinformation and elevate the truth. Follow MediaWise on social media to learn how to debunk viral claims and be more critical consumers of online information. Explore programs and be part of the solution at poynter.org/mediawise.

About Newtral

Newtral is a media startup founded in January 2018 focused on three areas: the production of programs (for television and platforms), new narratives in social networks, innovation in journalism through fact-checking (data verification) and, in addition, a line of research based on Artificial Intelligence protocols. Newtral Media Audiovisual produces El Objetivo de LaSexta, a television program born in 2013 and pioneer in Spain as the first journalistic project focused on content verification or fact-checking, and whose team of journalists was the first signatory in Spain, in 2017, of the international network of verifiers, Poynter’s International Fact-Checking Network (IFCN).

About Universidad de Navarra

Digitalunav – Center for Internet Studies and Digital Life, at Universidad de Navarra is currently a consolidated research center on digital communication, with several national and cross-national research projects. Digitalunav fosters research on the trends and social impacts of digital communication, focusing on topics such as digital journalism and social media trends, interactive advertising, and emerging business models in media companies. Affiliated since 2014 with the School of Communication, Digitalunav leads the studies on ‘Society and Digital Communication’, one of the current strategic lines of research of University of Navarra. 

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