MediaWise for Seniors

Teaching older Americans how to sort fact from fiction online

In June 2020, the MediaWise program expanded beyond teens and college students to older Americans, teaching America’s 50+ population key digital literacy and fact-checking skills to ensure they make decisions based on fact and not fiction.

Working alongside MediaWise Ambassadors, like former “Good Morning America” anchor Joan Lunden and CNN chief international anchor Christiane Amanpour, the MediaWise for Seniors program focuses on the presidential election as well as health misinformation and the coronavirus pandemic.

Older Americans are increasingly engaged online, with more than 40% of people over the age of 65 actively using social media platforms like Facebook. As the senior population spends more time online, they’re exposed to more conspiracies, scams, hoaxes and false news stories. This misleading information can have real world consequences, impacting how they choose to vote as well as their health and well-being.

MediaWise is a nonpartisan, nonprofit initiative of The Poynter Institute that has already reached 14 million people through online educational content and fact-checking training. Read our editorial standards here.

MediaWise for Seniors Ambassadors

MediaWise for Seniors is thrilled to collaborate with its newest Ambassadors: Joan Lunden and Christiane Amanpour.

“MediaWise for Seniors combines two topics I am very passionate about: media literacy and making older Americans’ lives better,” said Lunden, journalist, best-selling author and TV host. “I am looking forward to working at that intersection, which is not just important for those who we will be educating, but also crucial for our country, the advancement of democracy, and as we have now learned from this pandemic, it’s critical to keeping Americans healthy and safe.”

Lunden will support MediaWise for Seniors through virtual training and other collaborations around the 2020 presidential election.

“I look forward to working with the MediaWise team to bring international awareness to this project, as online misinformation is a dangerous and even life-threatening problem around the world,” said Amanpour, Chief International Anchor for CNN, host of CNNInternational’s nightly interview program Amanpour and host of Amanpour & Company on PBS.

Amanpour will be supporting the MediaWise for Seniors program in a variety of ways over the coming months going into the U.S. election in the fall.

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. Meet the full team of prominent journalists, authors and influencers who support our cause.

AARP partners with MediaWise to teach its members

Poynter and its MediaWise program are partnering with AARP to create two training modules teaching media literacy skills that AARP volunteers will present digitally, and eventually in person, across the U.S. to its members.

Facebook partners with MediaWise to focus on the 2020 election and health misinformation

MediaWise expanded its partnership with Facebook to launch the MediaWise for Seniors program, teaching older Americans how to find reliable information about the presidential election as well as how to spot inaccurate information related to COVID-19. Through this partnership, MediaWise will:

  • Host a series of Facebook Lives with Poynter’s PolitiFact that teach media literacy to an audience of more than 814,000 followers
  • Create two engaging online classes for seniors on Poynter’s e-learning platform, News University
  • Launch a campaign teaching MediaWise tips across social media platforms.

What you can do

Follow MediaWise on Facebook and Twitter to see the latest updates on the project, including when you can sign up for online training.

Feel free to email our team with questions at mwtips@poynter.org.