With another election cycle coming up in many states, it is more important than ever to be able to process and digest the messages coming to us from various media sources. There are various research organizations that focus on helping citizens analyze media messages, and other groups that provide the tools needed for citizens to make their own evaluation based on existing information. Below are links to these and other useful resources in understanding the media.
The Annenberg Political Fact Check, FactCheck.org, is a project of the Annenberg Public Policy Center of the University of Pennsylvania (APCC). The APPC was established by publisher and philanthropist Walter Annenberg in 1994 to create a community of scholars within the University of Pennsylvania that would address public policy issues at the local, state, and federal levels.
The project calls itself a nonpartisan, nonprofit, consumer advocate for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. Monitoring the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews, and news releases, FactCheck.org strives to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.
The Campaign Desk
The Campaign Desk, analysis from the Columbia Journalism Review, is a Web site run by and staffed by journalists whose job is to monitor, critique and praise the campaign press, on a daily basis. The site, launched January 15, 2004, promises to become increasingly detailed over the coming months.
Accuracy in Media
Accuracy In Media is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that "critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage."
Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR)
FAIR, the national media watch group, has been offering well-documented criticism of media bias and censorship since 1986, advocating for greater diversity in the press and by scrutinizing media practices that marginalize public interest, minority and dissenting viewpoints. On the Web site, you can access reports of reporting where FAIR sees media bias and/or censorship. In addition, special news watches focus on representations of women and minorities in the news.
Media Research Center
The Media Research Center "works to bring balance and responsibility to the news media" The MRC hope to prove through sound scientific research that liberal bias in the media does exist and undermines traditional American values, and also to neutralize its impact on the American political scene.
The Tyndall Report
The Tyndall Report monitors the American television networks' weekday nightly newscasts. The weekly report measures the time each of the three major networks devotes to each story on Monday through Friday each week.
The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press
The Pew Center for the People and the Press is an independent opinion research group that studies attitudes toward the press, politics and public policy issues. Best known for regular national surveys that measure public attentiveness to major news stories, and for polling that charts trends in values and fundamental political and social attitudes, the Center's purpose is to serve as a forum for ideas on the media and public policy through public opinion research.
Center for Media Literacy (CML)
The Center for Media Literacy (CML) is a nonprofit educational organization that provides leadership, public education, professional development and educational resources. Dedicated to promoting and supporting media literacy education as a framework for accessing, analyzing, evaluating and creating media content, CML works to help citizens, especially the young, develop critical thinking and media production skills needed to live fully in the 21st century media culture.
The Freedom Forum is a nonpartisan foundation dedicated to free press, free speech and free spirit for all people. The foundation focuses on three main priorities: the Newseum, First Amendment freedoms and newsroom diversity. The Freedom Forum's Web site provides up-to-date information on censorship, journalistic issues, and newsroom diversity.
DISCONNECTED: Politics, the Press and the Public
A list of organizations and other online resources provided by DISCONNECTED: Politics, the Press and the Public, a Fred Friendly Seminar on PBS that peels back the headlines to look at the process driving campaign coverage and the struggle facing politicians and the news media to find new standards.
MediaWatch from the Online NewsHour offers Media Briefs and headlines recently covered by the NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, as well as a useful list of resources that includes journals, media criticism, media studies centers, and media organizations.
LOCAL NEWS on PBS
LOCAL NEWS, a national public television series, offers an inside look a local TV newsroom. The documentary series presents a vivid and dramatic case study of how news professionals interact with the communities they serve. The Web site offers interactive features such as a game in which you can make your own newscast and a quiz to test your knowledge of broadcast lingo; informational articles to teach about age, gender, and racial issues, and the business side of news; and an excellent section on web-based resources devoted to broadcast journalism and news reporting of all kinds.
On the Media
On the Media is a weekly radio program produced by WNYC, New York Public Radio, focused on interesting moments in the media. On the site, you can listen to past shows or read transcripts and comment on the issues in each broadcast.