ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (Jan. 19, 2022) – Ninety-five percent of Americans believe misinformation is a problem, according to a poll conducted by The Pearson Institute and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. The majority of those surveyed say social media giants, its users and some U.S. politicians are responsible for its reckless spread.
While the nation attempts to wrestle the infodemic with strategies for accountability, the vast majority of the proposed solutions are for English speakers, leaving a serious gap for the country’s 41 million people who speak Spanish at home.
The Poynter Institute’s MediaWise has developed educational resources to provide tools to Spanish-speaking people in the United States over the age of 50 to be more critical consumers of online content. The MediaWise en Español program, supported by the Google News Initiative, will build off the success of the nonprofit’s highly effective digital media literacy program for senior citizens and provide the older Spanish-speaking population with an on-demand, online course and educational resources on social media at no cost.
“Misinformation has no language or age barriers, and amplifies how vital quality information is for the world,” said Ashley Alese Edwards, US Partnerships Manager, Google News Lab. “The Google News Initiative is proud to partner with MediaWise and Noticias Telemundo on this important project and other efforts aimed at strengthening news literacy and stopping the spread of harmful misinformation.”
Research from a Nielsen study centers Hispanics as a vulnerable target of misinformation due to a greater dependency on the role social media and messaging apps play within the community to connect with friends and family around the world. The report reads, “much of the content, both user-generated and shared, is in Spanish, Spanglish or colloquial Spanish, challenging conventional fact-checking and content moderation procedures to keep up.”
“In recent elections, false and misleading information online has influenced people’s perceptions of where candidates stand on certain issues,” said Miriam Valverde, MediaWise en Español program manager. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, false information has also led some people to question the safety and value of evidence-based public health measures.”
The MediaWise en Español program will offer media literacy tips and training to empower older Spanish-speaking adults to spot misinformation online, including on the most popular social media platforms. The program will feature a microlearning course on WhatsApp and an informational video series on YouTube with internationally-recognized journalists from Noticias Telemundo and MediaWise’s newest ambassadors, José Díaz-Balart and Julio Vaqueiro.
“We understand that these programs are more likely to have a positive impact if they are delivered and supported by someone people trust,” said Aaron Sharockman, who oversees media literacy and fact-checking initiatives at Poynter. “José and Julio are serious journalists who have built meaningful relationships with their audiences over more than 40 years combined. They are the ideal partners for this innovative and important work.”
Noticias Telemundo is a leading news provider in Spanish with award-winning news productions, documentaries, investigative reports and news events such as political debates, forums and town halls. The news network has a combined 11 million followers across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and Noticias Telemundo is the most-watched Spanish-language broadcast channel on YouTube with over 870 million views and more than 5 million subscribers. This year, Noticias Telemundo has reached an average of 3 million adults over the age of 50 every week across its news shows.
“Noticias Telemundo is deeply committed to ensuring the Hispanic community has the most accurate news and information, and this partnership is another important step to narrow the Spanish-language misinformation gap,” said Gemma Garcia, Noticias Telemundo’s senior vice president for digital news. “MediaWise en Español is a critical piece in our fact-checking efforts to combat misinformation at a time when fact-based news and information is critical for the Latino community.”
For more information, visit poynter.org/mediawise-en-espanol.
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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 First Amendment, and discourse that serves democracy and the public good. Learn more at poynter.org.
MediaWise is a nonpartisan, nonprofit 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. MediaWise content has been viewed more than 57 million times by more than 6% of the U.S. population 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 the MediaWise 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. MediaWise for Seniors was announced in June 2020 to bring MediaWise tips to the 50+ population in advance of the general election. MediaWise for Seniors has a program funded by AARP to provide resources to their membership and a program funded by Facebook bringing virtual training and a social media awareness campaign to the senior population. The foundation of MediaWise was created with support from Google.org as part of Google News Initiative. Learn more at poynter.org/mediawise.
About Google News Initiative
The Google News Initiative works side-by-side with publishers and journalists to build a more sustainable, diverse and innovative news ecosystem. Through programs, products and partnerships, we strive to advance the practice of quality journalism and strengthen publisher business models in the digital age.
Since 2018, our $300 million funding commitment has supported more than 7,000 news partners in over 120 countries and territories around the world. We’ve provided training for over 400,000 journalists on skills including digital verification, data visualization, and machine learning through in-person trainings. And we have worked to bring together industry leaders around the world, cultivating a diverse news community to spur innovation and tackle pressing issues like media literacy and misinformation.
About Noticias Telemundo
Noticias Telemundo is a leading news provider for U.S. Hispanics. Its award-winning television news broadcasts, airing from the Telemundo Center, include the newscasts “Noticias Telemundo” with Julio Vaqueiro, “Noticias Telemundo Fin de Semana” with Vanessa Hauc, and “Noticias Telemundo Mediodía” with Felicidad Aveleyra. The “Noticias Telemundo Digital Team” provides continuous content to U.S. Hispanics via its growing online and mobile platforms. “Noticias Telemundo Investiga” produces investigative reports and in-depth documentaries. “Noticias Telemundo Planeta Tierra” offers environmental and climate change related information. In addition, “Noticias Telemundo” produces award-winning news specials, documentaries and news events such as political debates, forums and town halls.