Thinking Clearly About Media


Program Aims to Inspire Critical Thinking About Media  in the Fake News Era Among Adults from All Walks of Life

PROVIDENCE –  It’s easy for many people to feel the need to “take a break” from watching the news during the summertime.  But some recent graduates of the University of Rhode Island will be doing just the opposite this summer by participating in an event designed to demonstrate how media literacy tools and skills can spark new critical ways to think about everything from fake news and misleading ads to entertainment and social media content.

The University of Rhode Island’s Media Education Lab is co-sponsoring a program called Arresting Knowledge, a new project from the non-profit organization, Artists for Literacy. The program is dedicated to making information accessible to people of all backgrounds and education levels. Two recent PhD graduates of the University of Rhode Island are prominently featured in the Providence program. Yonty (Jonathan) Friesem, now an assistant professor of communication at Central Connecticut State University, is a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island’s joint PhD program in Education. Jillian Belanger, a recent graduate of the University of Rhode Island’s PhD program in English, is now the director of the Gateway to College program at Roger Williams University, where she also teaches writing courses.

This free, community-based event will be held on Sunday evening, July 23rd, from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m. at AS 220’s Black Box Theater, 95 Empire Street, Providence. All are welcome to attend.

The program also features Deborah Pardes, Artists for Literacy founder and host and moderator of the Arresting Knowledge program, Jared Festler, founder of, dedicated to connecting people to the most trusted and newsworthy online articles, and Steve Klamkin, an award-winning reporter, anchor and host for Providence's news and talk radio station, WPRO 630 AM and 99.7 FM.

Also featured is Jeannine L. Chartier, director of VSA arts Rhode Island, a multi-media artist and arts-educator with a disability resulting from childhood polio, she works using both digital technology and mixed media fabrication, referencing images of personal & political identity while advocating for improved access, representation and inclusion of minorities including disability in the cultural community.

Renee Hobbs, URI Harrington School professor also participates in the program, which features a fast-paced sequence of high-interest and playful activities designed to motivate and inspire people to become advocates for media literacy among people from all walks of life. She said, “We’re proud that participants in the Providence event will be featured in this multi-city interactive teaching tour, which will also become part of a new documentary series focusing on the current crisis of media overload and misinformation."


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Kris Ellenberg, 310-430-1772,; pre-event, on-site and follow up interviews, supporting b-roll and photos available by request.


Free Providence Event, July 23 at AS220