Dilinews is a UWC Dilijan initiative designed to teach locals media literacy. Led by Margarita, Ani and Anahit, local students have an opportunity to learn about the history and implications of media, how to identify fake news and propaganda.
Dilinews is a UWC Dilijan initiative designed to teach locals media literacy, and I am Margarita, one of its founders. It all started when I was a student at the Media Literacy Summer School, organized by the Yerevan Corner of the City Central Isahakyan Library in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Armenia and Media Initiatives Centre. Instructed by the most skilful professionals in Armenia, the summer club gave me an opportunity to become a better media consumer and an analyst.
Media is everywhere: on the highway, in our phones, at the bus stop. But what travels to our brain? How shall we let it transform us? Being able to answer these questions, I decided that I want to share my knowledge of media with people who are interested in deciphering the news media labyrinth.
Coming to UWC Dilijan and being supported by my teachers and peers, I teamed up with two friends of mine, Anahit and Ani, to start a Media Literacy Club to teach local students the art of media.
With our first cohort, we had classes each Thursday, where we learned about the history and implications of media, how to identify fake news and propaganda. The highlight of Dilinews was having a storytelling workshop with Narek Margaryan, a leading screenwriter and TV host.
Recently, with the COVID-19 pandemic and a war, Dilinews's objective shifted from teaching a small group of people to a larger group on social media. The first thing that we did was educating digital media users. In times of war, foreign stakeholders try to collect data through ordinary users who naively respond to attractive traps, an example of which, phishing, was widely used during the recent war. As a response, we started a social media campaign to help people protect their privacy. Having a small contribution toward peace was an enriching process for us. Having witnessed the power media has on peacekeeping, we decided to continue instructing media literacy lessons.
As we were unable to have physical classes, we started using online platforms. With the online course, we had no limit on the number of people we could teach. So, we were able to grow our classes from 20 to 39 students. Being committed to the mission of sharing my previous experience, I reached out to one of my instructors, Lusine Grigoryan, a gifted journalist. I invited her to have a discussion about the role of adverts in the media. On November 26th, we had an hour and a half long session where we looked at various examples of advertisements creating a social impact and how to act if it is insensitive to the audience.
Overall, my Dilinews experience has been truly an enriching period where I was able to connect to enthusiastic young students around my country and bring about positive change.