News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

“Building news literacy and trust in the media is critical to helping the public discern what to believe, share and act on.”

In 2017, all roads will still lead back to “Hamilton.”

The influence of the hit Broadway production has gone far beyond the stage, impacting not only how we tell stories but bringing into focus whose stories we tell and why those stories matter.

This was evident in November, when the show’s cast addressed Vice President-Elect Mike Pence during a performance and was swiftly rebuked by President-Elect Donald Trump, who asked for an apology on Twitter.

Trump’s reaction led to ensuing media conversations about free speech, falsehoods, and diversity across multiple platforms — highlighting three trends we’re going to see more of in 2017.

Building news literacy: Not all information is created equal

With the surge of fake news camouflaging itself as real news — and the implications of it on modern journalism — we will see a steady stream of concerted efforts to strengthen fact-checking, verification, and news literacy in 2017.

Already, there are regular headlines debunking hoaxes and instructing readers on how to spot fake news. You can expect this to continue next year as rigorously disproving falsehoods and defending truth become an even bigger priority.

Look for heightened interest in resources like New York’s Center of News Literacy at Stony Brook University as news organizations, tech companies, and universities put a greater focus on educating their audiences on what’s trustworthy and fair. Also watch for more investment dollars in verification and fact-checking work such as Poynter’s creation of a chair in journalism ethics.

Building news literacy and trust in the media is critical to helping the public discern what to believe, share and act on. It is vital to our profession and democracy as we know it.

Understanding the role of unconscious bias in news

In 2017, there will be a closer look at unconscious bias in the reporting and distribution of information. Media and tech companies will create ways to test assumptions, expose preconceptions and challenge discriminatory data. This Facebook Messenger bot to help people identify their biases is just one example.

The work by Tonya Mosley, a journalism fellow at Stanford University, is another shining instance demonstrating how unconscious bias “can skew our coverage and blind us to important stories, voices and angles.” Based on her research, Mosley created a workshop for journalists to show how unconscious bias appears in their work. More efforts such as hers will help us and our newsrooms deepen our coverage on race, identity, and inequality as we understand our own biases.

Creating new storytelling forms

“Wait for it.”

The “Hamilton” effect on creativity will also continue in 2017. The award-winning musical that tells the history of American founding father Alexander Hamilton has inspired culture in numerous ways, from the creation of a mixtape to the shaping of classroom lessons.

Be on the lookout for more “Hamilton”-inspired storytelling in journalism — like That’s a Rap, a University of Florida student podcast that summarizes the news through hip hop and rap music, or this Great Big Story video on Benjamin Franklin’s life as a fireman that explains the past and gives it new life.

Covering history creatively using video, podcasts, interactives, live events, and social media will help connect the dots to current events, put social issues into broader context and engage audiences in fresh, compelling ways.

Mira Lowe is senior editor for features at CNN Digital.

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Annemarie Dooling   UGC as a path out of the bubble

Claire Wardle   Verification takes center stage

Taylor Lorenz   “Selfie journalism” becomes a thing

Sarah Wolozin   Virtual reality on the open web

Katie Zhu   The year of minority media

Christopher Meighan   Unlocking a deeper mobile experience

Jonathan Hunt   Measurement companies get with the times

Carla Zanoni   Prioritizing emotional health

Priya Ganapati   Mobile websites are ready for reinvention

Dan Gillmor   Fix the demand side of news too

Helen Havlak   Chasing mobile search results

M. Scott Havens   Quality advertising to pair with quality content

Sydette Harry   Facing journalism’s history

Moreno Cruz Osório   The year of transparency in Brazilian journalism

Sam Ford   The year we talk about our awful metrics

Mira Lowe   News literacy, bias, and “Hamilton”

Mark Armstrong   Time to pay up

Sara M. Watson   There is no neutral interface

Cindy Royal   Preparing the digital educator-scholar hybrid

Vivian Schiller   Tested like never before

Dhiya Kuriakose   The year of digital detoxing

Alice Antheaume   A new test for French media

Peter Sterne   A dangerous anti-press mix

Mathew Ingram   The Faustian Facebook dance continues

Matt Karolian   AI improves publishing

Sue Schardt   Objectivity, fairness, balance, and love

Scott Dodd   Nonprofits team up for impact

David Chavern   Fake news gets solved

Umbreen Bhatti   A sense of journalists’ humanity

Corey Ford   The year of the rebelpreneur

Ryan McCarthy   Platforms grow up or grow more toxic

Molly de Aguiar   Philanthropists galvanize around news

Tim Herrera   The safe space of service journalism

Rasmus Kleis Nielsen   News after advertising may look like news before advertising

Laura E. Davis   Show your work

Anita Zielina   The sales funnel reaches (and changes) the newsroom

Sarah Marshall   Focusing on the why of the click

Julia Beizer   Building a coherent core identity

David Skok   What lies beyond paywalls

Matt Waite   The people running the media are the problem

Andrea Silenzi   Podcasts dive into breaking news analysis

Ray Soto   VR moves from experiments to immersion

Zizi Papacharissi   Distracted journalism looks in the mirror

Keren Goldshlager   Defining a focus, and then saying no

Rebekah Monson   Journalism is community-as-a-service

Amie Ferris-Rotman   Вслед за Россией

Kawandeep Virdee   Moving deeper than the machine of clicks

Francesco Marconi   The year of augmented writing

Rachel Sklar   Women are going to get loud

Andy Rossback   The year of the user

Felix Salmon   Headlines matter

Robert Hernandez   History will exclude you, again

Amy O'Leary   Not just covering communities, reaching them

Reyhan Harmanci   Bear witness — but then what?

Erin Pettigrew   A year of reflection in tech

Aja Bogdanoff   Comments start pulling their weight

Nathalie Malinarich   Making it easy

Jim Friedlich   A banner year for venture philanthropy

Swati Sharma   Failing diversity is failing journalism

Ståle Grut   The battle for high-quality VR

Jon Slade   Trusted news, at a premium

Libby Bawcombe   Kids board the podcast train

Ken Schwencke   Disaggregation and collection

Bill Keller   A healthy skepticism about data

Juliette De Maeyer and Dominique Trudel   A rebirth of populist journalism

Ashley C. Woods   Local journalism will fight a new fight

Trushar Barot   API or die

Liz McMillen   The year of deep insights

Tressie McMillan Cottom   A path through the media’s coming legitimacy crisis

Guy Raz   Inspiration and hope will matter more than ever

Emi Kolawole   From empathy to community

Jonathan Stray   A boom in responsible conservative media

Alberto Cairo   Communicating uncertainty to our readers

Caitlin Thompson   High touch, high value

P. Kim Bui   The year journalism teaches again

Bill Adair   The year of the fact-checking bot

Renée Kaplan   Pure reach has reached its limit

Mike Ragsdale   A smarter information diet

Elizabeth Jensen   Trust depends on the details

Amy Webb   Journalism as a service

Dan Colarusso   Let’s make live video we can love

Richard J. Tofel   The country doesn’t trust us — but they do believe us

Dannagal G. Young   The return of the gatekeepers

Ariane Bernard   Better data about your users

Mandy Velez   The audience is the source and the story

Steve Henn   The next revolution is voice

Lee Glendinning   A call for great editing

Nicholas Quah   Podcasting’s coming class war

Laura Walker   Authentic voices, not fake news

Doris Truong   Connecting with diverse perspectives

Michael Kuntz   Trust is the new click

Eric Nuzum   Podcasting stratifies into hard layers

Tim Griggs   The year we stop taking sides

Joanne Lipman   The year of the drone, really

Emily Goligoski   Incorporating audience feedback at scale

Kathleen Kingsbury   Print as a premium offering

Margarita Noriega   From pinning tweets to tweeting pins

Gabriel Snyder   The aberration of 20th-century journalism

Mary Meehan   Feeling blue in a red state

Almar Latour   Thanks, #fakenews

Tracie Powell   Building reader relationships

David Weigel   A test for online speech

Nushin Rashidian   A rise in high-price, high-value subscriptions

Adam Thomas   The coming collaboration across Europe

Ernst-Jan Pfauth   Earn trust by working for (and with) readers

Andrew Losowsky   Building our own communities

Alexis Lloyd   Public trust for private realities

Melody Kramer   Radically rethinking design

Asma Khalid   The year of the newsy podcast

Rubina Madan Fillion   Snapchat grows up

Jeremy Barr   A terrible year for Tiers B through D

Mario García   Virtual reality on mobile leaps forward

S.P. Sullivan   Baking transparency into our routines

Valérie Bélair-Gagnon   Truthiness in private spaces

Maria Bustillos   “It’s true — I saw it on Facebook”

Liz Danzico   The triumph of the small

Andrew Ramsammy   Rise of the rebel journalist

Rachel Schallom   Stop flying over the flyover states

Erin Millar   The bottom falls out of Canadian media

Samantha Barry   Messaging apps go mainstream

Javaun Moradi   What can we own?

Hillary Frey   Forests need to burn to regrow

Olivia Ma   The year collaboration beats competition

Juan Luis Sánchez   Your predictions are our present

Mary Walter-Brown   Getting comfortable asking for money

Geetika Rudra   Journalism is community

Pablo Boczkowski   Fake news and the future of journalism

Ole Reißmann   Un-faking the news

Andrew Haeg   The year of listening

Coleen O'Lear   Back to basics

Burt Herman   Local news gets interesting

Michael Oreskes   Reversing the erosion of democracy

Errin Haines Whack   Chaos or community?

Cory Haik   Navigating power in Trump’s America

Megan H. Chan   Cultural reporting goes mainstream

Millie Tran   International expansion without colonial overtones

Carrie Brown-Smith   We won’t do enough

Tanya Cordrey   The resurgence of reach

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