A Student on The Daily Edit

September 21, 2022

Hi there,

My name is Chad, a recently graduated high school student who had the privilege of working with the TDE team over the summer of 2021, where I gained some insight into the project and the ideology behind it. Having just finished the IB Diploma programme, I’ve come to realize that there is significant overlap between the principles of contemporary education and the goals of The Daily Edit, and I’d like to take this opportunity to share with you the view of a student fresh out of the system.

The IB Diploma programme is a rigorous course designed to push the breadth and depth of knowledge in its students. Part of this mission includes a requirement for students to complete independent research across all academic disciplines, while also completing an additional epistemological course known as “Theory of Knowledge”, where students must consider the origin, attainment, and distribution of knowledge and ideas across several assessed components. This builds upon existing research skills gained in the PYP and MYP programmes, where students must consistently demonstrate an ability to critically evaluate the validity of sources against a host of criteria, with essays, presentations, and projects requiring extensive lists of academically cited sources that the student must be able to justify the use of.

While I cannot speak for other school curriculums, I must agree that the rigorous requirements for student research within the IB courses are excellent preparation for students to navigate life after high school, whether that be in an academic, corporate, or private setting. Students are trained to spot misleading or outright false information, and to seek out alternative sources in such cases. While this is indeed important, what has recently occurred to me is a question I haven’t thought to ask before: why exactly is all this necessary?

We can all agree that these skills are most definitely important. “Fake news” is more prevalent than ever before, and a big reason for this is, in my opinion, accountability. News and information within modern society is largely controlled by large media organizations, which we must acknowledge are in fact corporate businesses – and one of the primary goals of any business is to make a profit. In the media world, this is most easily accomplished through eye-catching, exaggerated headlines or one-sided stories, or through a reporting focus on emotionally-charged topics such as politics, which maximize user engagement.

But what exactly happens if an organization reports something false? Sometimes, alternative sources may report the correct version, but will rarely call out the actions of their competitors. For a really bad incident, the government may get involved, but for every time this may occur, there are likely thousands where it does not. The majority of the time, an organization can simply edit or recall the article with minimal consequence. 

This can make catching misinformation extremely difficult. How often does a person go back to check on an article they have already read? The likelihood of a reader actually noticing any changes after initially encountering the story is rather minimal. Furthermore, there is little incentive to use multiple sources in a casual setting. After all, reading through the same story dozens of times—just in case there might be something you missed out on—is boring, time-consuming, and inefficient.

The result of this system is that the responsibility of identifying misinformation lies almost entirely with the sole reader, who, lacking the resources and knowledge base necessary, is all too often ill-equipped to do so.

What The Daily Edit offers is accessibility, for any child, teenager, or adult to be well-informed citizens regardless of their educational background.

This is a notion supported by the design of modern education systems. Unable to hold the organizations of the present accountable for what they report, we as a society are instead forced to train our future generations to individually combat the culture of misinformation they will inevitably encounter, through incorporating it into curriculums such as the IBDP. Students must learn media literacy skills, because those who do not possess them will be increasingly vulnerable in the modern world.

However, this still leaves a huge problem. Not everyone has access to educational systems that incorporate these ideals, meaning that a large portion of the next generation are growing up ill-equipped to deal with the world of media they will enter. Furthermore, the majority of working adults came through the school system of the past, one completely unprepared for this future. Even for those who do have access to curriculums like the IBDP, these skills are difficult to retain without active usage, which means they may still be vulnerable to some degree. 

Everything I’ve mentioned thus far is fairly common knowledge, and may seem rather obvious. However, it provides relevant background to my next topic of discussion – why I am so excited about The Daily Edit and the potential it holds.

Put simply, what The Daily Edit does is, for the first time, hand the user the ability to hold those companies accountable independently. Crucially however, it does so by giving its readers the tools to do so in a simple, intuitive and timely manner. A user does not need to rely on profit-maximizing corporations to point out fallacies, but neither do they have to read the entirety of each article from each news source to do so. Instead, they are able to easily compare and contrast differing versions, with missing details and media trickery made blatantly obvious by the app – and all accomplished via bias-free machine learning technology trained on millions of examples. It brings the benefits of in-depth research skills without nearly the same time or effort costs, requires no real training to use, and is accessible to people from any and all backgrounds. However, above all, it introduces objectivity into a field that is inherently subjective, cutting through the profit-chasing fluff of mainstream media to get to the information that really matters.

I’d like to emphasize that by no means are the aforementioned research skills necessarily inferior. However, what The Daily Edit offers is accessibility, for any child, teenager, or adult to be well-informed citizens regardless of their educational background. It offers a lifeline to those who may be ensnared in misinformation campaigns, pyramid schemes, or cult followings, or to those with limited opportunities to see the ‘other sides’ of the story at hand. Fundamentally, The Daily Edit offers, for the first time, equality of information – and in the information age, little else could be more crucial to a sustainable way forward as a society.

Their mission is to bring the world closer together

However, there is another possibility that I am extremely excited for. The Daily Edit’s analyses hold immense promise not only in the general informing of society, but also specifically in the education of children in schools. The app provides access to high-quality information in the classroom, alongside detailed deconstructions of different sources and viewpoints and their interrelations. The Daily Edit is also conducting research into further features that may be relevant both within and outside of the classroom, such as showcasing the performance of journalists and publishers on a given topic over time. Integration of this technology into modern education will allow children to attain an unmatched understanding of knowledge and its role in contemporary society, and provide incredible benefit to their preparation for dealing with the mainstream media of the future.

The Daily Edit has made it clear that their mission is to bring the world closer together through providing better access to information, and part of this mission includes getting involved with education. If you aren’t already aware, The Daily Edit offers free subscriptions to all .edu email accounts, so if you are a teacher or student I strongly encourage you to try out the technology and reap its benefits. You may find that it completely changes your relationship with mainstream media, I know that it did for me. 

If you find that the technology helps you out, feel free to share how it did so on your preferred social media channels. Make sure to mention @dailyeditapp in your post.   

I hope that this post has given some insight into a modern student’s perspective of The Daily Edit and its potential, and that you’ll enjoy using the app as much as I do. Cheers!

Chad Rossouw 

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