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Ad Fontes: To the Source

AD FONTES: "To The Source"

Understanding the Analytical Methods Behind the Media Bias Chart

Medialogues on Propaganda 

DATE: Tuesday, October 19, 2021

TIME: 12:00 ET, 18:00 PM CET

LOCATION: Online. Click here to register. 

Perhaps you have seen the parabola-shaped curve of media outlet logos in a social media post, during a workshop session, or even in an image search for “media bias.” Wherever you may have first encountered Ad Fontes’ “Media Bias Chart,” it has likely raised questions about how the rankings for the chart are produced, as well as the ways that the chart can be helpful — or potentially challenging — to use in media literacy education. 

Now in its eighth edition, the Media Bias Chart is built on the principle of “ad fontes,” which is Latin for “to the source.” The unique methodology that Otero and her team use to analyze news sources on the broad elements of “Reliability” (which includes defined metrics of “Expression,” “Veracity,” and “Headline/Graphic”) and “Bias” (which includes “Political Position,” “Language,” and “Comparison”). 

In this webinar, join Ad Fontes’ founder, Vanessa Otero, in a dialogue around the methodology used to produce the chart, and find out more about how she works with a team of over 40 paid media analysts to develop (and continue adding to) the chart. After her introduction to the chart and the methodology, we will engage in breakout room conversations around the following questions:

  • In what ways does a tool like the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart open up opportunities for substantive dialogue about media literacy, the principle of "objectivity" in journalism, and our polarized media environment?

  • In what ways might the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart (explicitly or inadvertently) create challenges for educators as they attempt to use it when teaching media literacy?

  • Given the benefits and drawbacks, in what ways can you imagine using the Ad Fontes Media Bias Chart in your own teaching context? In conversations with other colleagues at your school/place of work?

About the Presenter

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 methodology for evaluating text. 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. 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, as well as 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.

About Medialogues on Propaganda

Join us for free online webinars + Professional Learning Community, co-hosted by the Media Education Lab, the University of Wurzburg, with support from the U.S. Embassy, Berlin. In the program, participants experience collaborative professionalism as they construct a community of learners built on collegial solidarity, candid, thoughtful feedback, and collective responsibility. Through a variety of online programs and workshops in Zoom along with ongoing asynchronous learning experiences, participants will gain confidence in teaching with media literacy pedagogies. We'll explore topics including contemporary propaganda, disinformation, conspiracy theories, and algorithmic personalization. With individualized coaching and support, participants will deepen their understanding of how to integrate media literacy concepts and pedagogy into their curriculum. Learn more: