How do you know so much? Easy. I’m a teacher and a dad.

Thinking back ten years, I had taken the torch from my father and his father. I was a proud third-generation watcher of the news at supper! I would scan the newspapers while waiting in line at the grocery store. News talk radio was thumping in my car, no matter how far away my destination was. That was then, this is now.

The early morning news is the last chance that I will have over the next fifteen hours where I will actually be able to hear what is coming out of the radio.

Iphone On Brown Wooden Table
Photo by Lisa Fotios from Pexels

I start every day with the 6:00 a.m. news on the radio. I purposefully set my alarm so that I can shake the cobwebs and listen to the news (local and national), weather, and sports before I put my feet on the cold floor. After that, I rely on digital mediums to find out what is going on around me. If I have time, I will check out some websites for information. If I have even more time, I will get scrolling on Twitter. Should a pig fly over the house, I might even turn some version of the news on the TV. To really make sense of the world around me, engaging in conversations is an equally important element in digesting information.

Get Some in Ya!

Sure, the local media can grasp for stories to run, but I want to know what is going on in my environment. I also want to get a head start on my case for the trial at the door regarding what my kids will be wearing and why! What is important to consider with local media, is the size of the market. Moose Jaw is a small community, with all of radio stations and one of the news websites owned by the same parent company (based out of Manitoba). There is definitely stuff going on in Moose Jaw, but compared to larger centres within the province and country, the news can sometimes feel a bit fluffy or too human interesty. That said, I am able to find out what is going on in town, get some weather for the day, and then check out the local sports.

Reuters, Associated Press, and NPR have become my online sources for news, especially for international events and perspectives. CBC (I help fund it through tax dollars) has become my source for Canadian news. My recent switch to these websites can attributed to the ad fontes Media Bias Chart 9.0 that we have been exposed to in class.

Scrolling through my Twitter feed gives me the chance to see plenty of perspectives on what is happening in the world, newsworthy or not. However, to get down to the news, I really like (and appreciate) the #explore page on Twitter. The tabs can quickly direct me to news, what is trending, sports, or even what has algorithmically been selected *shudder* for me to read.

Explore option on Twitter.

TV is my last resort, generally because it is too time consuming. I do love my weekend mornings with The Weather Channel on in front of me, a cup of coffee in my hand, and that music filling my ears during the national forecasts. At least until the kids wake up and tell me that the music is annoying.

Gathering information from all of these places puts me in a comfortable, informed position – especially useful for conversations. The old guy across the street. Students and colleagues at work. Parents at the rink. My wife – she’s everywhere. Being able to discuss the world with other people, and being comfortable and confident enough to engage in meaningful conversations, cannot be done without gathering information on my own.

Fact or Fiction?

It does not matter what option I am consuming information from I always take into account a few things. I am proud to say that some of these were in place (or I was at least aware of) prior to beginning EC&I 832. This list can be applicable to any source of information, not just digital resources.

  • Find and verify the source.
  • Consider any bias. As noted earlier, I have narrowed by formal news agencies to ones that are fact-based and as center-leaning as possible.
  • Check for the same information from other sources
  • Think critically. This tip sheet from Media Smarts sums it up nicely.
  • Smile, agree wholeheartedly, and smile some more. This is exclusively for engaging in any conversation with my wife.

Just like the list of people who I engage with in conversation, all sources of information will have their own spins on it, for specific audiences. I remind myself that I might not be in the target audience, so consuming media in a critical way is important to not get swept up in the emotions and feelings that come with becoming informed (or misinformed).

I found this page on Media Smarts as good place to remind myself of what should be done when verifying resources and information, as well as materials that can be used in the classroom regarding misinformation, and ethical online behaviour!

Resources to help us all be better digital citizens, Media Smarts, Feb. 2022

5 thoughts on “How do you know so much? Easy. I’m a teacher and a dad.

  1. Hey Bart! Thanks for your share. This is the first time I am seeing that media chart (not sure where my brain was when this was shown in class). It is super helpful and I love that it has made you reconsider the way you get your news. Great title by the way!

  2. Glad you shared that chart again, I was looking for it after class! I never really thought about the speed of my consumption (text over video), and that makes sense. I can’t imagine you with a permanent smile on, Courtney must bring that out in you haha! Excellent resource list to end your post.

  3. Great post! I love that you stay on top of the news… during Covid I had a hard time watching daily news as it became incredibly draining. I am slowly starting to get back into watching the 10pm news again, but like you, I enjoy consuming the news on my phone now more than anything.
    Thanks for the read!

  4. Hello Brat!
    I also like to read the news right in the morning but these days I have shifted to digital platforms. For me as well, TV is the last resort, I prefer to read a newspaper or read on my phone.
    And yes, thank you for sharing this chart again!!

  5. Thanks for sharing that chart with us! Staying on top of the latest news is something that I definitely need to get better at, and invest more time in. I find with the hustle and bustle of the day, this is something that gets overlooked often. Thanks for sharing the way you navigate through new information!

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