Testing Our (Digital) Literacy Skills!

Saturday night and it is time to get your analyzing goggles on. 

In a lesson in Digital Media Literacy, we will be taking an article and doing a deep analysis of its contents. At the end of the blog, I will be giving the article a letter grade on its quality, trustworthiness and credibility. We will be doing this in an attempt to help provide an example of how to practice good digital media literacy tactics on the articles you read.

First let us go over the basics. The article I have picked to look over is from a major online publication: Vice Media Group. Jacinda Ardern Reminds New Zealanders to Please Stop Having Sex in Hospital During COVID is the title of the article and it is written by author Gavin Butler. With a title like that, it is hard not to stop and go ‘W.T.F.’. Most would move on after reading the title, taking it at face value, but tonight we are not most people!

With the basics out of the way, let us take a look at the sources the article utilizes. Doing a quick once over of the article, there are not many links to outside sources, there are four total if you count the YouTube video. That being said, when you take a look at the sources that are linked, three of the four are all other articles from other news publications. Two of those news publications are based out of New Zealand, RNZ and 1News, and the third is international, Bloomberg. The YouTube video embedded in the article is a roughly 30 second clip taken from a livestream and reuploaded on the personal account of Matt Novak.

These sources are not bad, the articles give insight to how COVID-19 is affecting New Zealand and share the reports of the risky activities from local credible news sources. These sources however are not related to the headline’s subject. The only source for that is the embedded 30 second YouTube video where Jacinda Ardren says, “I would say generally, regardless of the COVID status, that kind of thing shouldn’t generally be a part of visiting hours I would’ve thought.” when asked about the risky activities being reported in hospitals. Providing the link to the full livestream with an added timestamp to the quote would have been a better source to use. 

Another aspect we should look at while reading the article before grading it is to see if the author has any biases present in their writing. Looking through Gavin Butler’s article history and reading through the article again looking for a hint of bias language, I have no reason to believe Butler wrote this article with any biases. The article itself is straightforward and focuses on reporting events, and does not share any of the author’s opinions on the Prime Minister’s comment or how New Zealand is handling COVID-19.

Using the information we have gathered about Jacinda Ardern Reminds New Zealanders to Please Stop Having Sex in Hospital During COVID, I would grade the article a B for this assessment. The article was straightforward, void of any biases and comes from a credible publication. That being said, the sources within the article could be improved upon by adding the full livestream and more articles about the stories that prompted the Prime Minister’s comment.

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