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Project Censored aims to highlight under-reported stories and boost media literacy

Mickey Huff (l) and Andy Lee Roth. Photo: Matthew Peddie / WMFE
Mickey Huff (l) and Andy Lee Roth. Photo: Matthew Peddie / WMFE

Every year Project Censored publishes a book of 25 stories that the group believes should get more coverage by the media. 

Project Censored was founded in 1976 at Sonoma State University, to draw attention to censorship in the news media and to help students develop media literacy. 

The group has a weekly radio show and continues to work with students to research under-reported stories. 

This week’s edition of the Orlando Weekly features 10 of the top 25 stories from Project Censored this year, including reporting on prescription drug costs, accusations that Pfizer bullied South American governments over its COVID-19 contracts, and a wave of wildcat strikes for workers rights. 

Project Censored director Mickey Huff and associate director Andy Lee Roth join Intersection for a conversation about the group's work. 

Huff says the number one story concerns the impact of soaring prescription drug prices on the elderly. 

"The media's role is to tell the public what is happening, and it's really important that people understand the challenges that we have in our medical system. This is just one of them, that prescription costs are set to become a leading cause for death for the elderly, due to lack of availability, lack of ability to afford and obtain those drugs," says Huff.

He says the need for media literacy is still as important today as it was when Project Censored was founded.

“We all need to kind of slow down a little bit in the way that we get our information and not consume it, like so much junk food, right? And we need to be deliberate about where we get our information, we need to ask important questions about why does this platform want me to know this? What information is being omitted?"

Roth says students play an important role in helping vet stories for inclusion in the yearly top 25 list, and along the way they learn valuable media literacy skills.

"They'll be more engaged citizens and less likely to be the...person we're all afraid of who's just, you know, using their social media account to promote all kinds of disinformation and misinformation. So working with the students is, as I say, a source of great optimism for me. And one of the things I think that just powers what the project is doing."

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