To combat the spread of disinformation a new consortium will offer a digital tool to help teachers incorporate journalism into media literacy classes.
A teen practices photojournalism.
It is difficult for young people to navigate through all the information and disinformation on the Internet and discern what sources are credible and fact-based. But they need those skills and that knowledge to become responsible and informed producers, consumers and distributors of digital media.
To enhance youth media and news literacy in Europe and beyond, News Decoder is helping to launch an ambitious new multinational project called “Promoting Media Literacy and Youth Citizen Journalism through Mobile Stories” — or ProMS.
The project will create an international English language version of Mobile Stories, a Swedish publishing tool and platform developed by journalists Lotta Bergseth and Jenny Sköld that guides students through the process of identifying and creating trustworthy news content on the Internet while building journalistic ethics.
“The ProMS project aligns directly with News Decoder’s commitment to creating more open access journalism and media literacy education resources for youth all around the world,” said News Decoder Managing Director Maria Krasinski.
Seven partner organisations from six European countries will collaborate to scale up this tool that equips young people with the skills and knowledge to become responsible and informed producers, consumers and distributors of digital media.
“We are thrilled over this opportunity to explore how Mobile Stories’ publishing tool can be used by and have an impact on students in other European countries and settings,” Bergseth said.
Teaching teens to verify before they trust
Founded in response to the rapidly changing ways we communicate and consume information, Mobile Stories has reached more than 10,000 students in Sweden since its launch in 2015. The ProMS consortium will work together to expand the Mobile Stories community across the European continent and the globe.
The English version will be piloted in schools in Finland, Ireland and Romania before widespread dissemination in the second year of the project.
In addition to widening access to the platform, ProMS will promote cross-border media literacy by enabling collaboration between schools in different European countries within the tool.
“News Decoder’s mission is to promote global citizenship and connect young people across borders,” Krasinski said. “ProMS offers another avenue to increase communication, empathy and respect for diverse perspectives.”
The project will also contribute to best practices in school-based media literacy by generating data on user skills and knowledge gain and sharing the data with research and practitioner communities.
A collaboration of media literacy groups
ProMS is funded by the European Commission’s Creative Europe Programme and led by Voice4You, the nonprofit arm of Mobile Stories and the first Swedish initiative to receive funding from Google’s global charity branch, Google.org.
Voice4You will lead project management activities and technical development of the international version.
Along with Voice4You, the consortium includes specialists in youth media literacy, education and technology.
Screenshot of the ProMS Consortium during the project kick-off meeting, 10 October 2023.
For its part, News Decoder will lead the development of inclusive and accessible media education content in English and oversee a user feedback and research strategy in collaboration with the Institute of Future, Media, Democracy and Society at Dublin City University in Ireland.
News Decoder will also help facilitate cross-border collaboration among students within the tool, and support aspects of project management, monitoring and evaluation and dissemination.
Media literacy across education
Belgium-based international nonprofit association Media & Learning will lead dissemination, promotion and distribution activities for the ProMS project, drawing on its mission to advance education through the strategic utilisation of media and digital technologies across all levels of education.
“In an age of disinformation, media literacy is essential for young people to be informed citizens,” said Media & Learning Project Officer Chloé Pété. “The ProMS project is a timely and important initiative that will empower youth to produce and consume digital media responsibly and critically.’’
Academic partners Åbo Akademi University, Asociatia Apulum Forum and the Dublin West Education Centre will coordinate beta testing of the English-language version of Mobile Stories with pilot schools in Finland, Romania and Ireland, respectively. These pilots will collect student and teacher feedback to refine the tool and gather research on its impact on students’ knowledge, skills and behaviour.
Tritonite, the Sweden-based technical developer of the original Mobile Stories tool, rounds out the consortium as the project’s technical partner for the English language version.
The ProMS project officially launched on 1 October with a virtual kick-off meeting on 10 October. It will continue until September 2025. Visit the Mobile Stories website for more information and project updates.
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