Letter: An excess of information makes it hard to know what’s trustworthy and what’s not

Peter Shreeve from the National Education Union says the best way to inform effectively and counter rumour or misinformation, is by having the firmest possible answers to all points raised in the letter to Boris Johnson

information lettering on desk

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This from Peter Shreeve, Assistant District Secretary Isle of Wight – National Education Union. Ed


I write in response to “Isle of Wight schools to remain closed in light of Coronavirus lockdown” (22.4.20).

Everyone suddenly returning to school will almost certainly increase risks to all staff and the children in their care. This is why the National Education Union wrote to the Prime Minister on 14th April asking for the modelling, evidence and any plans that will form the basis of any decisions made by the Prime Minister and his Government to be shared.

Increasing ‘infodemic’
There is an increasing ‘infodemic’ out there – an excess of information that makes it hard to know what’s trustworthy and what’s not.

After speaking to an unnamed senior Minister, the national press recently reported on the speculation of schools re-opening. This was unhelpful. Policy-wise, we need to ensure, that we have an evidence base and that we’re communicating accurately.

Maintaining trust is critical
Maintaining trust in public health authorities and politicians is critical to the ongoing management of the outbreak.

Any inaccurate information or confusion adds to concern and panic, which will be detrimental to outbreak control, societal cohesion and ultimately opening schools safely.

Inform effectively
We must ensure we inform effectively and counter rumour or misinformation, thereby keeping anxiety to a minimum.

We can achieve this better by having the firmest possible answers to all points raised in the aforementioned letter to Boris Johnson, as well as to any future questions.

Image: barneymoss under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 22nd April, 2020 8:06pm

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Filed under: Education, Government, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor

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2 Comments on "Letter: An excess of information makes it hard to know what’s trustworthy and what’s not"

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Mr Magoo
Peter Shreeve describes what happens when the mushrooming influence of social media as a source for news (often not fact checked or sourced) takes over at the expense of traditional media outlets (labelled fake news). As he says: “an excess of information…makes it hard to know what’s trustworthy and what’s not”. Can we turn the clock back or is it too late? I fear the latter as… Read more »
greenfiremouse
I also worked in the media a number of years ago – not as a journalist, but closely enough to know what good jounalism is all about. I dispair at the current style of reporting which is a mixture of sensationalistic claptrap and mindless repetition of Westminster propaganda. Fake news mean either direct lies or a misrepresentation of the truth by omission – or trying to sell… Read more »