London Kids Discuss Media Bias in British and US Press

Date: 26 January 2017

Country: UK, London

US_Embassy_Kids_3The Media Diversity Institute (MDI) participated in the Youth Conference #MediaMinded held in the US Embassy in London. An MDI representative facilitated one of the workshops with A-level students from eight London secondary schools, who discussed media literacy, media bias and other challenges in the media environment. The MDI session focused on news reporting of migration and minorities in the US and the UK, while  three other sessions held in the US Embassy on 26 January 2017 analysed media coverage of climate change, (mis)information about relations between Russia and Ukraine, youth, unemployment and other issues.

“For instance, in the article on the increased number of people crossing the US-Canada border recently, we read that ‘most of the women wear traditional Muslim headscarves’. In my opinion, that is unnecessary stereotyping and it should not be included in the article,” said one of the students during the session with the MDI facilitator. Other pupils joined the debate on whether some media discriminate against migrants and refugees in their reports.

Issues such as hidden agendas, bias, journalists’ neutrality and hate speech were brought under the spotlight during the conference at the US Embassy. Analysing different articles, images, front pages and terminology used in media reports, students from eight schools in London tried to look critically at the media content.

In their final presentations, four groups led by four facilitators also examined the role of factual reporting, what is true in the media today and whom we can trust, what are reliable sources in the digital age, as well as discrimination against ‘others’ and stereotyping of minority groups by some media in the US and the UK.