Four questions to ask yourself ahead of Media Literacy Week  | Five for the Weekend

This year, the week from Oct. 25-29 serves as National Media Literacy Week

By: - October 23, 2021 6:30 am

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Happy weekend, all.
Your plans for next week are probably filled with spooky happenings such as trick-or-treating, Halloween parades and horror movie marathons, but there’s another event happening next week of which you should be aware.

This year, the week from Oct. 25-29 serves as National Media Literacy Week. 

Established in 2014, National Media Literacy Week was designed to recognize and highlight the vital role media literacy plays in our society, and how to be better, more informed, consumers of news, social media and more.

In collaboration with the Pennsylvania NewsMedia Association (PNA), The Capital-Star has lined up coverage on media-literacy related topics for next week, but we invite you to join the discussion, as well.

Here are a few questions to get you think about media literacy and your own news consumption behaviors.

  • How do you define media literacy?
  • What media do you use regularly? How often do you use it?
  • What sources of information do you trust? Why?
  • How do your own emotions influence what you think about a particular medium? 

As always, the top 5 stories from this week are below. 

Comedian Bill Maher (photo provided)

1. Ahead of Hershey show: Bill Maher talks Pa.’s U.S. Senate race, insurrection, and teaching civics

Pennsylvania Capital-Star: In our last interview (Oct. 19, 2019) you said “Pennsylvania may be the most important state in 2020.” The Keystone State put President Biden over the top with his eventually carrying our 20 Electoral College votes.

Bill Maher: Well that certainly turned out to be quite true, although I’m sure he had no trouble carrying Scranton. And Pennsylvania has always been an iffy state on the Red versus Blue continuum.

Q: Now the 2022 U.S. Senate race puts Pennsylvania front and center again. With Republican U.S. Sen. Pat Toomey not running for re-election, there are 14 Democrats, 12 Republicans, and one Liberal Party candidate running for the open seat. Any thoughts on Democrat candidates John Fetterman? Openly gay state Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta? U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb? Anyone GOP candidates catch your eye?

A. I have not yet followed that race but U.S. Rep. Conor Lamb [D-17th District] – a moderate Democrat – has the right idea. Nothing extreme in any direction regarding legislation and regulations, or policy. I think that’s the way to go.

Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, speaks during a Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021, Senate Intergovernmental Operations Committee meeting to vote on a subpoena for an investigation into the 2020 general and 2021 primary elections. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

2. Pa. GOP lawmaker vowed transparency, but negotiations for election probe are private

The Republican state senator leading the Pennsylvania election investigation promised a transparent process, but negotiations with potential vendors are happening behind closed doors.

Because the General Assembly does not have to follow the same procurement practices as executive branch offices, Sen. Cris Dush, R-Jefferson, who vowed a “responsible, thoughtful, and transparent” review, has no legal obligation to publicize engagements with third parties.

Pennsylvania’s Procurement Code outlines how offices for the governor, attorney general, treasurer, auditor general, state boards, commissions, and other agencies acquire services and supplies. It guides how to advertise projects, accept offers, and select successful bidders.

Sen. John Yudichak, I-Luzerne, speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 19, 2021. (Screenshot)

3. Senate Judiciary committee advances bill to increase penalties for people who evade arrest

Wanting to honor a Pennsylvania police officer who died on duty, a Senate panel has advanced legislation that would increase penalties for those who evade arrest.

The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 12-2 on Tuesday to approve a bill that would create a new offense for individuals who flee from police to evade arrest on foot.

The legislation sponsored by Sens. John Yudichak, I-Luzerne, and Marty Flynn, D-Lackawanna, came after Scranton police officer John Wilding fell to his death in 2015 while chasing three teenagers suspected of armed robbery.

Though they were charged with Wilding’s death, the suspects pleaded to a lesser offense and received a sentence of nine to 18 years in prison, according to WNEP-TV.

Masks and temperature checks will likely be the norm for many U.S. school-going kids until a COVID-19 vaccine is authorized for children under age 12 (NurPhoto/Getty Images).

4. Pa. regulatory panel upholds Wolf’s school mask order; eyes turn to courts

A Pennsylvania legislative panel affirmed Gov. Tom Wolf’s school mask mandate on Thursday morning, ruling that the Democratic governor had properly implemented it under his administration’s existing powers.

The seldom used, 11-member panel, known as the Committee on Documents, is made up of lawyers, legislators, a cabinet secretary, and a representative from Attorney General Josh Shapiro’s office. It has a final say on what is, and is not, a regulation.

The committee decided 7-4 to uphold Wolf’s K-12 mask order, which requires all students, teachers and staff to wear masks while inside school buildings, regardless of their vaccination status against COVID-19. The order applies to public and private schools alike, as well as pre-school.

Sen. Scott Martin, R-York, speaks during a Senate Education Committee meeting on Monday, Oct. 18, 2021.

5. Senate panel advances bill that would require Pa. schools to post curriculum, book titles online

A so-called school transparency bill, which would require districts to post all curriculum and course material online, is making its way through the Republican-controlled Legislature.

The Senate Education Committee voted along party lines Monday to advance a previously approved House bill, authored by a GOP lawmaker, mandating that Pennsylvania’s schools make all instructional materials, techniques, and syllabi publicly available, beginning the 2022-23 school year.

If course materials are updated, a school’s chief administrator or a designee would be required to update the curriculum online within 30 days of its approval. The bill applies to school districts, intermediate units, career and technical schools, charter programs.

And that’s the week. See you back here next weekend. 

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Cassie Miller
Cassie Miller

A native Pennsylvanian, Cassie Miller worked for various publications across the Midstate before joining the team at the Pennsylvania Capital-Star. In her previous roles, she has covered everything from local sports to the financial services industry.