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Performing Arts: Media Literacy


Photo: Veikko Kähkönen


Don’t just assume – know.


Media Literacy

Good media literacy gives you keys to understanding and processing information from different media.

Media literacy helps us take a critical view of media content, while at the same time understanding media and communication in today’s diverse audio-visual culture.

In our information society, source criticism of various media and information content is a skill everyone needs, and libraries help promote it.

Related and overlapping concepts are information literacy, digital literacy and visual literacy. Becoming media-savvy helps us participate better in society and fosters healthy criticism, creativity and self-expression.


Reference: Hyvä medialukutaito. Suuntaviivat 2013–2016. Opetus- ja kulttuuriministeriön julkaisuja 2013:11, s. 3-4.

Source Criticism – be critical

  1. Read/ watch/ listen to news with a critical mind
    When you stumble across something in media that you would instinctively like to believe – doubt it! No one is immune to the affirmation illusion: we want to believe things that confirm our own worldview. Acknowledging this fact is the first step towards being able to resist the affirmation illusion.  
  2. Check the background and date
    Check the site that has published the story. What is its purpose and who maintains it? When has the story been published, is it current anymore?  
  3. Check the source and what the story is based on. Could it be a joke? 
    Open the links. Do the sources and references back up the story? Each factual statement needs to have a source.
    Proceed e.g. like this: Is this based on something? Am I being told what it is based on? Can I judge for myself what it is based on? Has the same thing been written about somewhere else? Are there reliable sources that have written about this, and if so, what? Check the source reference – does it hold water? Don’t share a fake source or news item. If the news item seems extraordinary it may be a joke; check the page and the writer.
  4. Read the text to the end
    Don’t stop at the headline. A fake news item may be exposed at the end, in the www-address, the sources or the writer’s name.  
  5. Check the writer’s background
    Who is the writer/author? Is he or she reliable, does he or she exist, could he or she be made up? Could this news be fake? Does the writer have scientific publications to his or her name (you can check in the Library’s Finna database)? In what role does the writer appear: as an expert, politician, someone expressing their opinion or someone relaying news?
  6. Check the pictures
    Is the picture taken at this location? Could it have been photoshopped, cropped, taken out of context?
    Has the same picture appeared in some other connection?
    Try Google’s reverse image search.
  7. Form your own opinion!
    Base your opinion on good grounds and emphasize what you are basing it on.
  8. Source: Interview with Johanna Vehkoo: Valheenpaljastajan Johanna Vehkoo: En arvannut, kuinka isoksi ilmiöksi valeuutiset paisuvat. YLE website.


Reference 24.2.2017: Johanna Vehkoo: En arvannut, kuinka isoksi ilmiöksi valeuutiset paisuvat.

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