YES ALUMNI AND SDK.MK – MEDIA LITERACY ACTIVITIES FOR COMBATING FAKE NEWS
Back in December 2019, eight of our alumni participated in a News Literacy Workshop held in Tsaghkadzor, Armenia. Each of the alumni attending the workshop was eligible to apply for funding to organize projects in their communities in order to share knowledge gained at the workshop with their peers and other community members. Some of our alumni have planned individual projects to be implemented in their high schools, while others were working on a joint group project to be implemented in several high schools.
Alumni had to plan virtual activities to adapt to the coronavirus situation, so they decided to work as a team and develop a website that will have a vast impact in our country in general – the Media Literacy website. They divided tasks, so each one prepared an article containing information they learned at the News Literacy Workshop in Armenia. The YES Alumni Coordinator for North Macedonia, Teodora Boshkova, collaborated with a website developer who helped them accomplish their mutual goal – create a virtual space where people can learn about Media Literacy, interact and test their skills through a fact-checker. The website was officially launched in January, 2021.
During the country’s lockdown, the alumni continued implementing virtual projects related to the topic. On February 17, City Representative Igor Stojkov ’20 organized a related online event called ”Media Literacy Online Workshop”. He and four alumni participantс, as well as one YES finalist talked about the importance of Media Literacy, what are fake news, how to spot them and other things pertaining to the topic. The participants gathered online on Zoom, and they shared their opinions on fact checking, news in North Macedonia and similar. The participants showed enthusiasm and commitment to working on the topic and spread awareness about the issues regarding fake news.
Reflecting on in-person events, in May and June 2021, 11 YES Alumni worked hard on the topic Media Literacy in North Macedonia. In collaboration with the SDK.MK Digital Newsroom, on May 29-30, nine City Representatives, one alumnus and two American Councils staff participated an in-person workshop. The guest speakers were Goran Mihajlovski and his colleague Marina Kostova, editor in chief at SDK.MK and deputy editor in chief at SDK.MK respectively. During the event, the speakers provided the attendees with critical tools and information about Media Literacy that help raise awareness in one’s community. After the discussion on May 29 with Goran and Marina, Alumni Coordinator Teodora Boshkova led additional sessions on Media Literacy, focusing on social media platforms, digital tools, information neighborhoods and website navigation and development. At the end, the alumni played Harmony Square, a free game designed to educate English-speaking audiences about disinformation. They also worked in pairs and designed posters with newspaper articles, following the format on how to create news that they previously learned at the session with SDK.
On June 7th and June 9th we had two live events “Media Literacy 101 series”, with Goran and Marina from SDK.MK. They shared their experience as media literacy professionals and tips on how to spot fake news. Our alumni actively participated in the live sessions, asked questions and shared their experience on the topic.
On June 29, CR Andrej Zdravko Trajkoski ’19 organized an in-person Media Literacy Workshop with five high school students at the City Park in Prilep. One of the goals of this workshop was to educate the participants on what it takes to recognize fake news using a method introduced at the Media Literacy workshop with SDK.MK, as well as using printed examples of fake news as exercise. The participants also learnt how to turn their story into a news article and how it should be written, and they were presented the opportunity to try and write an article and give a fitting title to an already existing one.
“Media Literacy Workshop” by CR Andrej Zdravko Trajkoski ’19
On June 30, AC Teodora Boshkova organized the final activities as a part of the NLW grant. A group of eight alumni went to visit the office of the SDK.MK Digital Newsroom, welcomed by four staff of SDK who shared and showed their daily work routines. The alumni got the chance to ask them additional question regarding their profession and obstacles they face in the news world, as well as ways on how we can help to raise awareness on the topic of Media Literacy as a community. After the visit, the alumni went to Skopje City Park for a promotional event of the medialiteracy.mk website. They created a stationary with two Media Literacy banners, a board with posters noting most important information and a white board where each participant wrote down their association to the term Media Literacy. There, they distributed around 200 flyers in Macedonian, English and Albanian language and other promotional materials (notebooks, cards with QR code and Media Literacy themed tote bags) and they talked with the people passing by the stand about the importance of the topic, most important details, sharing information regarding the YES alumni community. The rest of the flyers and promotional materials were distributed to the eight alumni, who shared them in their local communities in Skopje, Kumanovo, Negotino, Chashka, Veles, Sveti Nikole and Shtip.