For “Consumers”

The following is a work in progress.

Even those of us who are creating a variety of media are still–and always will be–more consumers than creators. For all of us in this category, the principles come mostly from common sense. Call them skepticism, judgment, understanding, and reporting. More specifically:

1. Be skeptical of absolutely everything.

We can never take entirely for granted the absolute trustworthiness of what we read, see or hear from media of any kind. This is the case for information from traditional news organizations, blogs, online videos and every other form. more…

2. Although skepticism is essential, don’t be equally skeptical of everything.

We all have an internal “trust meter” of sorts, largely based on education and experience. We need to bring to digital media the same kinds of parsing we learned in a less complex time when there were only a few primary sources of information. more…

3. Go outside your personal comfort zone.

The “echo chamber” effect–our tendency as human beings to seek information that we’re likely to agree with–is well known. To be well informed, we need to seek out and pay attention to sources of information that will offer new perspectives and challenge our own assumptions. This is easier than ever before, due to the enormous amount of news and analysis available on the Internet. more…

4. Ask more questions.

This principle goes by many names: research, reporting, homework, and many others. The more personal or important you consider the topic at hand, the more essential it becomes to follow up on the media that cover the topic. more…

5. Understand and learn media techniques.

In a media-saturated society, we need to know how digital media work. For one thing, we are all becoming media creators to some degree. Moreover, solid communications techniques are going to be critically important skills for social and economic participation–and this is no longer solely the reading and writing of the past. more…

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