Dan Gillmor, Director of the Knight Center for Digital Media Entrepreneurship at Arizona State University’s Cronkite School of Journalism, talked about his book Mediactive at the New America Foundation in Washington, D.C. on January 12.
He outlined the principles of media consumption that digital citizens should embrace:
- “Be skeptical of absolutely everything”
- “Use [your] judgment”
- “Ask questions” and open your mind
- “Go outside [your] comfort zone” and challenge your own assumptions
- Learn media techniques and “really understand what’s involved in creating media and how media are used to persuade and manipulate.”
Gillmor cautioned the audience that “the more quickly you see something [in the news and online] after an event, the more skeptical you should be,” an apropos statement in view of some early false reports that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had died in the recent Arizona shooting.
While clearly stating that he doesn’t believe in the concept of pure objectivity, he said that today’s news organizations should continue to adhere to the traditional journalistic standards of thoroughness, accuracy, fairness and independence – but add transparency to the mix, in other words explain how they conduct their journalism and any agenda motivations or political leanings they have. Gillmor admits that by being transparent news organizations will be “believed a little less, but trusted more,” yet argued that “trust is more important.”
One the consumer side, one of the most important things we need to do, according to Gillmore, is “teach critical thinking” and that “evidence matters.”