Media integrity the focus at Wren Academy talk
8 July 2016
Chair of Index on Censorship and journalist for The Times, David Aaronovitch, took the year 9 and 12 students of Wren Academy in Finchley, North London, through the technological advances in media of the 20th and 21st centuries to illustrate the rapidity of change and the need to be abreast of not only the news but also the method of its delivery.
He then moved into his guide on how best to convey truth and facts through ones work – as well as how to be a positive and critical recipient of news. Threading the conversation with examples linked to contemporary events, and their reporting, David tied various news sources to the recent EU referendum – allowing the students to ask specific questions about how they might approach different news outlets in order to get direct answers to the questions that matter to them.
One of the biggest take away messages was looking at the difference in value of academic sources and think tanks. David gave clear advice on how to source reliable information and how to apply it to life decisions that inform the choices one makes and the work one produces. He spoke highly of Wikipedia but also let students know how to check the validity of the data and the ways in which it might have been edited.
The students were then invited to ask questions, many of whom had bold and direct enquiries about media narratives and timelines, with some challenging David – much to his delight!
After the session had finished David happily stuck around to continue in depth conversations with students on a range of subjects, including his personal views on which news sources he would recommend and how to navigate the reporting surrounding Brexit.
Our thanks to Mr Barton and Mr Smith of Wren Academy for providing a great setting for a lively session, the students present for their thought provoking and considered questions and David for his open and honest approach to a complex subject!