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THISAM Talks | "Information Literacy in the Age of #Doomscrolling"

Anthi Baliou, PhD Candidate, Researcher at the Peace Journalism Lab (School of Journalism and Mass Media Communication, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki) talked about "Information Literacy in the Age of #Doomscrolling". 

Key points by Ioanna Georgia Eskiadi 


Doomscrolling refers to the “act of endlessly scrolling down one’s news app and reading bad news”. News in many ways have conditioned us to want the details on seemingly horrible events. Social media allowed the bad news to follow us. Bad news is likely among the first content we see each morning and last stories we see before we go to bed. Doomscrolling is a new word used to describe the tendency to continue to surf or scroll through bad news, even though that news is saddening disheartening, or depressing.

While doomscrolling existed before the Covid-19 pandemic hit it’s really taken hold lately. During the pandemic reading bad news in social media has been a habit. Turns out your brain loves this stuff. People have a question and assume it will make them feel better. Doomscrolling does not create control, only makes you miserable, depressed and isolated. It’s important to recognize that you’re doing it. The obvious solution is to simply to tune out from social media. Instead, perhaps it is better to consider the context of the messages and try to see the positive in the stories or use social media for things other than reading news headlines. If you must doomscroll, set a timer on your phone with a time limit to remind you when you have reached you limit. With the pandemic, people are increasingly online doomscrolling and looking for information. Misinformation can be a detriment to our wellbeing in a time when people are desperately seeking information such as health guidelines to share with their loved ones about the coronavirus. 

What we can do is to be a fact checker in order to avoid being manipulated and spreading false information. Take a moment to think what you have read, slow down, pause and ask yourself. If everybody did that, we’d see a dramatic decrease of disinformation online. Choose your news carefully. Even the people we trust may be spreading false information, so we can be caught off guard. It gets tougher to distinguish good information from bad information and fact from opinion.

About THISAM 
The 5th Thessaloniki International Summer Academy on Media is organized by School of Journalism and Mass Communications of Aristotle University Thessaloniki (AUTh), Jean Monet of European Union Public Diplomacy along with other partners  under the title: “New trends in Media and Journalism: Turning crisis into opportunity”.

 Special emphasis is given on the topics:
1. Disinformation, Science Journalism / News Literacy
2. Crisis Communication
3. New business models in Media Organisations