Announcing the Launch of the AFS-USA Media Literacy Campaign!

Announcing the Launch of the AFS-USA Media Literacy Campaign!

How often do you hear, “I saw on Facebook,” or “My friend shared this with me” or “I heard this from an expert, they received their PhD from CollegeNobodyHasHeardOf.” Frustrated about being flooded by information that doesn’t seem very reputable, factual, or is screaming with bias? Well we’re here to help. We’re excited to announce the launch of AFS-USA’s Media Literacy Campaign!

What is the Media Literacy Campaign you ask? Let us provide you with some background about how this campaign came to be. In the fall of 2019, Natalie Rehberger (YES Abroad Indonesia 2011-12, AFS volunteer) and Heather Jackson (YES Abroad Thailand 2011-12, AFS staff) applied for a grant from the Partners of the Americas Citizen Diplomacy Action Fund (click here to learn more about CDAF ) which provides funds for alumni of Department of State programs. We proposed a media literacy education campaign and were awarded the grant. We approached AFS-USA about working with volunteers to bring this campaign to fruition. Through AFS, we have experienced the impact of grassroots engagement as an effective method to encourage critical thinking about our world. We believe AFS volunteers have an important role in encouraging the intersection of media literacy and interculturalism. And thus, we are writing to you to ask for your support in spreading the word about media literacy!

During a time when Americans are inundated with information, it is more valuable than ever to understand how to discern fact from fiction or sensationalism from accuracy. AFS-USA’s Media Literacy Campaign is designed as a public outreach project to educate Americans about the core principles of media literacy and how to apply media literacy in their day to day lives. Media literacy can help citizens become wiser consumers of media as well as responsible producers of their own media. Media literacy also fosters the skills that encourage respectful public discourse and build citizenship.

As part of the campaign, we have developed a training of trainers for volunteers and returnees which will provide an overview of media literacy, offer tips for building skills to practice media literacy in daily life, and will give guidance on how to lead virtual presentations in your community. The goals of AFS-USA’s Media Literacy Campaign are:

•    to share media literacy resources with volunteers, alumni, and educators;
•    to train AFS volunteers and returnees to lead virtual presentations about media literacy during national Media Literacy Week, October 26-30, 2020. The presentations are designed to develop critical thinking skills to recognize underlying biases, sensationalism, and unsupported claims in the media and in public opinion which will enable citizens to make informed choices;
•    to encourage curiosity and understanding of other cultures through AFS volunteers and alumni;
•    to connect media literacy to the greater global picture during virtual presentations potentially inspiring attendees to learn more about study abroad or hosting an exchange student.

We invite you to view our Media Literacy Training of Trainers Webinar which took place this past week via the recording found here. The webinar was designed to provide AFS volunteers and returnees with an overview of media literacy, strategies for employing media literacy in daily life, as well as guidance on how to lead presentations on Media Literacy.

The volunteer-led presentations should be scheduled from October 26-30, 2020 to synchronize with national Media Literacy Week. Please encourage any AFS alumni and volunteers you know to attend the webinar and to follow the campaign on Facebook and Instagram. Participating AFS alumni and volunteers will have the chance to win a Fujifilm camera!

Here is a presentation template and 1-page resource on biases.

Please reach out to Heather Jackson and Natalie Rehberger at if you have any questions! We look forward to seeing you on the webinar.