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The Cognitive Crucible is a forum that presents different perspectives and emerging thought leadership related to the information environment. The opinions expressed by guests are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of or endorsement by the Information Professionals Association.
During this episode, Vanessa Otero discusses news ecosystem health and how she created The Media Bias Chart®. Our wide ranging conversation covers her methodology for grading media content, the Overton window, information nutritional labels, societal implications of unhealthy news consumption patterns.
Research Topic: Vanessa suggests that researchers examine ways to get people out of conspiracy theory rabbit holes or extreme polarization rabbit holes. She also asserts that media trust is over studied and that researchers should focus less on that problem.
- AdFontes Media
- Overton Window or window of discourse
- Thinking in Bets: Making Smarter Decisions When You Don’t Have All the Facts by Annie Duke
Link to full show notes and resources
Vanessa Otero is the creator of the Media Bias Chart, and the Founder and CEO of Ad Fontes Media. A licensed patent attorney in the Denver, Colorado area, Vanessa holds a B.A. in English from UCLA and a J.D. from the University of Denver. Vanessa’s formal education and professional career has centered on analytical reading, writing and reasoning, creating an ideal background for her to create a content analysis
Alarmed by the unhealthy state of the media ecosystem, Vanessa used her expertise in content analysis to create the original Media Bias Chart in 2016. Then in 2018, she founded Ad Fontes Media to fulfill the need revealed by the popularity of the chart–namely, to meet the demand for a map to help people navigate the complex media landscape, and for comprehensive content analysis of media sources themselves. Today, Ad Fontes Media uses a systematic approach to content analysis in which a team of politically-balanced professional analysts examine and categorize news content creating data that is useful to news consumers, educators, marketers, and even publishers themselves. Ad Fontes also offers training in its content analysis methodology through products and services for educational institutions and for individuals.
Vanessa is on the Board of Directors of Community Radio for Northern Colorado and is on the Advisory Council of Media Literacy Now. Vanessa and Ad Fontes Media have also been published or featured in articles and blogs on news literacy, news bias and free speech, social media, and conspiracy theories. These sources have included the Poynter Institute, Cornell Policy Review MarketWatch, The Economist, Morning Brew, and more. She is a much sought-after speaker at national news literacy workshops and webinars.
Vanessa is committed to making the world a better place with her passion and belief in decreasing the polarization in our news and our society, as well as educating students, teachers, and the public on the true value of media literacy and the importance of a healthy news ecosystem.
About: The Information Professionals Association (IPA) is a non-profit organization dedicated to exploring the role of information activities, such as influence and cognitive security, within the national security sector and helping to bridge the divide between operations and research. Its goal is to increase interdisciplinary collaboration between scholars and practitioners and policymakers with an interest in this domain.
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