Move 3: Reading laterally

Going upstream on images

  • What images, photos, or videos did you choose for your 2nd post and how did you go upstream on them?
  • Did anyone use the reverse image search on Google? How about filtering by time and place?

The importance of Move 3: reading laterally

Lateral readers don’t spend time on the page or site until they’ve first gotten their bearings by looking at what other sites and resources say about the source at which they are looking.

—Mike Caulfield, Chapter 16

Going upstream teaches you how to hold sources accountable by looking up the info they’ve presented to you via links or names of other sources. This is helpful for establishing consensus and, when used in tandem with Move 3 — reading laterally — can help you evaluate how credible these sources are.

By contrast, reading laterally asks you to research not by going up but by going “across many connected sites instead of digging deep into the site at hand.”

What does this mean? Why is it important?

In Chapter 17, Caulfield uses Wikipedia’s criteria for defining reliable sources, which he suggests are based on three primary characteristics:

  1. Process. The source has a method of insuring or verifying that the information it presents is accurate and reliable and it shares it with its audiences.
  2. Expertise. The source has a trackable, traceable history of knowledge with the subject at hand as an expert, credentialed professional, or via proximity to the information in ways that excludes laypersons.
  3. Aim. The source has an incentive to present the best possible information to you in the pursuit of truth or for the purpose of establishing consensus.

Activity #1: Some sites help us read laterally by examining the credible of other news sources for us. AllSides is one such site. Take a moment to look at this site. Then read laterally by looking for information about AllSides from other sources. Who are these sources and what have they said about them? Do you think AllSides is reliable?

Activity #2: Explore how the circulation of info travels within political bubbles that can be identified using media bias tools at AllSides.

Media Bias Chart from AllSides
  1. Have a member of your group open their WRT folder in Drive and share a document with the rest. Title it after your assigned bias (“Left” bias).
  2. Read up on your designated bubble by following the links listed next to your Group above. What does it mean to be “leaning left” for example? Got down some notes in the doc.
  3. Now go to the Media Bias Rating page on AllSides and locate 3-4 news sources from their rating chart that also match your group’s assigned color. For instance if you are in Group 1, you are looking for any source listed that has blue “L” next to far left of the key.
  4. As you look at these 3-4 of the sources, and make a list of some common themes, stories, subjects, or topics to all of the sites. These can be loose or specific. It is up to each group to decide how to find these commonalities and how you want to track them.
  5. Finally, use the Google Doc to compose a summary of for one of these common themes or topic or story. Include a links to representative articles from as many as you can. Be ready to share your common topics and themes with the class.

Homework for Tuesday, 3/5

[Note: it might be a really good idea to re-read/study Chapters 16-17 of Caulfield on reading laterally before doing this.]

WordPress Post #3: Read laterally by “looking at what other sites and resources say about [a] source.” To practice this, check the credibility of one of the sites on the far left (blue) or far right (red) on AllSides. After doing this, then decide if you agree or disagree with the rating on the site.

As you write your post, you should discuss what other sources say about it. You might start with Wikipedia to find out. And as you look at what other sites or resources say about these sites, use their criteria (which Caulfield outlines in Chapter 17) — process, expertise, and aim — to guide your observations.

What do other sources say, for example, about Breitbart’s research or how they correct mistakes? What do other sources say about the kinds of writers Alternet use for their stories? Are they experts? Do they interview experts? What incentive does The Daily Caller have to get things right in their broadcasts? Who do they cater to? Feel free to look at your chosen site, but what you’re really doing is investigating and assessing their trustworthiness.

Finally, be sure to note whether you agree or disagree with Community feedback rating on AllSides.