Editorial: The growing importance of media literacy

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

In this era of fake news, when even the pursuit of truth is politicized, it is heartening to read about Concord High School’s nearly two-decade commitment to teaching students to be skilled consumers of information.

Monitor reporter Ella Nilsen wrote about the school’s media literacy program on Monday, and we believe it is important to isolate and emphasize a few paragraphs from her story for readers who may have come to the erroneous conclusion that the school’s approach is itself slanted.

Nilsen wrote: “At Concord, teachers said they are focused more on teaching students core media concepts rather than wading into political arguments. ‘You have to remember they’re not adults yet,’ said Kaileen Chilauskas, head of the high school’s English department. ‘With the election . . . they were so overwhelmed by the level of inaccuracy. They’re not sure who to trust, who’s going to tell them the right information.’ Students go through core concepts, considering who created a message, why is the message being sent, what information might be omitted from a message and how other people might perceive the message differently.”

In short, the purpose of the program is to teach critical-thinking skills, which belong neither to left nor right but truth itself.

We recognize that the political wounds of a contentious election season remain raw, but it is our hope that people of all political stripes will follow the lead of Concord High’s media literacy program and actively challenge their own assumptions and perceptions in the honorable quest for illumination.