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News Tutor app teaches students to judge media accuracy, fairness

For any media consumer worried about younger audiences discerning factual information from biased reports, News Tutor—a new app to help teach non-journalists about the differences between high-quality, partisan journalism—is another tool available to the public.

Created by Des Moines-based Skewed News Tutor, the app puts users in the perspective of a reporter and news editor, prompting them to make decisions about media fairness and accuracy. 

“As a journalist myself, I spent a decade working as a newspaper reporter before writing a book and creating documentaries,” Colleen Bradford Krantz, the app’s creator, told Silicon Prairie News. “I was inspired to build the News Tutor app because, first, I started noticing how some of the more careless journalists were inserting their views—whether deliberately or inadvertently—into news reports through sometimes-subtle editorial choices such as narration, or choice of music and graphics.”

While Krantz believes the general public would benefit from the app, she says it’s designed with middle school, high school and college students in mind. 

“I began thinking about how we could teach young people and adults to become more discerning consumers of news and information,” Krantz (right) said. “I came up with the idea of building an app to help the general public understand the thought patterns that should go along with high-quality journalism, making it easier for them to define exactly why they felt a certain report might be ‘off.'”

Media consumers are flooded with information on a daily basis, which Krantz believes is a positive development in media overall, except for when fact is muddled with opinion or bias.

“I think that’s fine when we are expecting opinion and adjusting our thinking for it,” Krantz said. “But if we are expecting an even-handed news report, we might not as easily recognize when the facts are being manipulated. This is particularly difficult for younger news consumers, I suspect.”

News Tutor currently is available for iPhone, iPod and iPad for 99 cents in the Apple App Store. Ankeny, Iowa-based QA Graphics handled the programming and design of the application. 

Learn more about News Tutor and how it can help parents, teachers and journalism professionals:

 

Credits: Colleen Bradford Krantz photo from WordPress. Video from YouTube

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