This Instructor Turned Her Journalism Expertise Right into a Bilingual Media Literacy Class

This Instructor Turned Her Journalism Expertise Right into a Bilingual Media Literacy Class


Alba Mendiola was on the high of her profession about seven years in the past. As an investigative journalist for Telemundo in Chicago, she had received seven Emmys in 16 years.

It was at that pinnacle that Mendiola determined to depart journalism for an additional dream — she needed to be a instructor.

Now the previous broadcaster has reached a brand new milestone because the recipient of the Information Literacy Mission’s Alan C. Miller Educator of the 12 months award.

The nonprofit acknowledged Mendiola for her work at Cristo Rey Jesuit Excessive College in Chicago, the place she created a bilingual broadcast journalism class with a robust deal with information literacy and media ethics. The entire faculty’s college students are bilingual in English and Spanish, they usually come from households with restricted monetary assets.

EdSurge caught up with Mendiola through telephone whereas she was visiting household in Mexico throughout summer time break. She talked about making the leap from journalism to schooling and why probably the most tech-savvy technology of scholars nonetheless wants a guiding hand to navigate the media panorama.

On this video, highschool instructor and former journalist Alba Mendiola talks about her twin language broadcast journalism class. She was named by Information Literacy Mission because the group’s Alan C. Miller Educator of the 12 months in recognition of her information literacy work with college students.

EdSurge: You had loads of success as a broadcast journalist, and also you have been main Telemundo Chicago’s shopper investigations unit earlier than you turned a instructor. Why did you need a change?

Alba Mendiola: My college students, they all the time ask me, “Why did you allow?”

It is like, “Why not?” [Laughs.]

I all the time mentioned that the one factor I remorse isn’t leaving sooner. I actually take pleasure in being a instructor. I all the time used this analogy: It’s like going up a mountain. I made a decision to give up after I was on the high of my profession and begin a brand new venture and new mountain.

And I am glad doing what I am doing, instructing college students, serving to them develop their important pondering abilities. By doing this job, it is identical to, I am in heaven.

On this job, you’ll be able to mix your love of journalism with instructing. The place did you get your love of instructing? Is that one thing that got here from your loved ones?

I used to be a tv reporter in Mexico, then I give up to observe my [American] boyfriend — now my husband — to the U.S.

After I got here to the U.S., I did a volunteer program by the Archdiocese [of Chicago] the place I used to be instructing adults in a job readiness program. Most people in my class have been ladies who have been victims of home violence, or low-income.

Simply being in a classroom and figuring out that you just’re altering any person’s life, it’s extremely transferring. However then I had this journalism bug in me. I went again [to journalism] and labored at Telemundo for 16 years. So instructing, it isn’t new to me.

You pitched this broadcast journalism class to your faculty. While you have been growing the category, what was your imaginative and prescient?

I wrote an op-ed in La Raza referred to as “La alfabetización mediática es un derecho civil” — media literacy is a human proper. And that is the place I categorical my thought for the category, saying that the scholars on this technology, they’re born within the digital period and it is virtually embedded. They know how you can open these apps, and loads of their info comes from their information feeds. However the actuality is that they actually do not know the way it works and what it takes to do it.

These youngsters, they simply barely bear in mind what a landline is. They do not watch tv the way in which that we watch tv. All the pieces is altering, and it isn’t their fault. It is how the world is evolving, and they should perceive the ethics of making info.

As a result of one of many questions I ask them in my top quality is, “Do you wanna learn or do you wanna be influenced?” As a result of they’re on a regular basis on their TikTok or their Instagram taking a look at these feeds. You might be watching commercials. They’re making an attempt to make you purchase one thing or make you do one thing and never essentially informing you. So it’s worthwhile to be somewhat bit skeptical. Generally [students] do not know what the distinction is from a industrial to a information story.

So we go over these classes, and my purpose for this class is to attempt to develop their important pondering abilities. They’ve to know how the media works. As soon as they perceive how that works and get engaged and take part within the democratic course of and are making their very own selections, perhaps sooner or later they are often leaders, as nicely. Particularly figuring out the variations between info and deceptive information. Lately it has been an enormous drawback in the US.

Why do you suppose it’s vital for the sort of class to be bilingual?

We could possibly be from totally different nations — Venezuelans and Mexicans and Colombians and Cubans — however on the finish of the day, what retains us collectively is the language. Many [immigrants] come right here they usually study English, however they nonetheless wanna know what is occurring of their nation.

I can inform you proper now — and media literacy usually, this isn’t only for college students, it’s for adults, too — they often don’t know how you can acknowledge info from fiction.

Now with AI, it is so troublesome to acknowledge. To present you an instance, my mother lives right here in Mexico. She’s 82, however let me inform you, this lady has her iPhone, she retailers on-line, she’s very tech savvy.

However she will get this the place you see Biden, you’ll be able to hear his voice in a press convention, and he says one thing like, “Yeah, the UFOs have landed. Yeah, we all know that is occurring.”

And my mother was like, “What is that this?” After which I’m like, “No, mother, that’s faux. That is not actual.”

For those who go onto the Information Literacy Mission, within the classes, there is a bunch of knowledge there about immigration, additionally — how immigration has been written about in numerous newspapers and thru footage which were posted on-line. For instance, a child who’s in a cage. The best way they write that story, it could possibly be deceptive. So we study all about how they will manipulate footage, how they will manipulate info to get your consideration.

Do the scholars get hands-on expertise reporting a narrative?

We create podcasts, we create visuals, we create movies. They get excited after I say, “OK, let’s work on a video venture.”

And when you make them do it, then they understand how arduous it’s. I’d say, “Again within the day, journalists who have been educated in ethics labored on a narrative and gave it to you. It is already curated for you. And now anyone with a cellphone can name themselves a journalist. You probably have a telephone, you’ll be able to dwell stream from anyplace on the earth and no one’s gonna be checking if you’re appropriate or in case your info are appropriate or not.”

As soon as they begin doing what it takes to report the video and write a narrative and or write a podcast, that is once they understand, “Oh boy. This takes effort and time to essentially get it carried out proper.”

I feel the half that strikes them probably the most, and it will get the “aha” second after we go over bias. All of us have it, and it is OK. Now we simply have to be acutely aware about it. I like to see that as a result of this is among the very first models that we do. After which on the finish, they need to create one thing they usually understand, “I can not give my opinion on this.” No, you need to attempt to write a narrative in a approach that you just simply current all of the info, and your readers or your listeners or your viewers need to decide of if it is proper or incorrect, if it is good or dangerous.

What else would you like individuals to find out about your class?

I am so honored that the Information Literacy Mission nominated me for this award. That is massive for our Latino communities as a result of this group is not only recognizing me. They’re recognizing the necessity for bilingual schooling in media literacy.

And another factor: I bear in mind one other reporter requested me, so why is media literacy vital? Usually, faculty districts connect the information literacy unit or this matter to the English class. However I’ve a distinct opinion about that, and I wrote that in my op-ed, that you do not have to be a mathematician to review math. That does not imply that you just’re gonna turn out to be a mathematician. You research science, that does not imply you are gonna be a scientist.

What I attempt to say is that for instance, in math class, you’ll be able to have the scholars studying how scores work, and that’s a part of what information literacy is about. In science class, how the know-how measures tornadoes for the climate section. Or in historical past class, you’ll be able to analyze outdated newspapers and see how sure occasions in historical past have been written about. After which my favourite is what I do in language courses. You may analyze information in Spanish, in Portuguese, in German, in Polish, another language.

All people must know the way information works. So that’s my little contribution, and I invite academics to think about this, particularly as a result of the Information Literacy Mission already has classes for you, so it will likely be simpler so that you can plan your day.


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