Knowing The News Hero Image

Working with communities to foster informed news consumption and offer tools to fight disinformation

The spread of disinformation threatens the fabric of our democracy, and public trust in the press is declining. As we navigate through the onslaught of COVID-19 coverage, PEN America believes it is vital to equip the public with the knowledge and skills to become more discerning news consumers, fit to defend themselves against disinformation.

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Knowing the News, a series of virtual media literacy activities, is part of PEN America’s response to the ongoing threat of disinformation—made even more urgent during our current global public health crisis. PEN America has long argued that one of the best defenses against disinformation is ensuring the public has the skills and tools to evaluate the information they encounter and consume. To advance this goal, PEN America is working with our chapters and communities across the country to offer virtual media literacy trainings and other virtual programming during the COVID-19 crisis, including partnership events with journalists, newsrooms, public libraries, and other local organizations.

Tip Sheets

Media Literacy Toolkit

Media Literacy Toolkit

Drawn from the curriculum of PEN America’s “Knowing the News” project, here are five quick tips for defending against disinformation.
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How to Talk to Friends and Family Who Share Misinformation

How to Talk to Friends and Family Who Share Misinformation

Your friends and family may spread misinformation, and it can be tough to know how to confront them. Here are a few suggestions.
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How to Prevent the Spread of Disinformation About Russia’s War on Ukraine: A Tip Sheet

How to Prevent the Spread of Disinformation About Russia’s War on Ukraine: A Tip Sheet

How can students mobilize and respond to book bans? This guide will help you fight back against book bans and build a stronger community of readers and advocates in the process.
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Research

2021 Community Partnership Programs Listening Sessions

2021 Community Partnership Programs

Over the course of 2021, we’re collaborating with four community partner organizations in the Latino, Native American, Asian American-Pacific Islander, and Black communities that have been disproportionately targeted and affected by both mis- and disinformation and the pandemic. We launch each partnership with a series of listening sessions with community leaders in order to better understand and respond to their specific needs as they relate to navigating vaccine misinformation.

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Upcoming Programming

Tú Tienes el Poder: Defeat Disinformation in Your Community
Presented in partnership with the Venezuelan American Caucus
June 21, 2022, 7:00pm ET

What People Are Saying About Our Workshops

“The wealth of information and examples. The enthusiasm of the presenter. It was a very worthwhile workshop.”

“I often feel at least semi-manipulated by what’s presented as news, but without cutting myself off entirely from information that I need, how can I insulate myself from disinformation? Ms. Benavidez offered concrete steps that I’ll try to follow. She was clearly expert in the topic and still able to make the 90 minutes clear and entertaining for a beginner.”

“Increased my awareness of the pervasiveness of mis/disinformation.”

“Those concerns [were covered], updated to a new way in which we now consume not just news, but also information (as well as disinformation). . . Given the heightened emotional context around consuming COVID-19 news and ‘data,’ I will now have a better way to ‘consume’ them.”

“Concise, organized; helped pull together and flesh out some strands of my own thinking about the subject.”

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Meet Our Team

Hannah Waltz

Hannah Waltz
Coordinator, U.S. Free Expression Programs

Damaso Reyes headshot

Damaso Reyes
Consultant, Media Literacy

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