I had never heard the term fake news until the 2016 presidential election. As a 22-year old adult, I was enthralled with the media firestorm.
I started to watch the local news and download a few apps on my phone in an effort to stay informed. I quickly realized the media is filtered through an ideological lens depending on who is reporting.
A media literacy class should be required for all college students.
This class should be taught without any political biases from the professor. Students need to learn how to research the information provided and come to their own conclusion.
The Center For News Literacy is a great resource for students searching for guidance on how to navigate the news in the 21st century. We as a society are bombarded with a twenty four hour news cycle.
Jake Brown, a prospective Brigham Young University student, feels overwhelmed by news on social media.
“I read a story, then an hour later read another telling me something different,” he said. “How do you know what is true?”
A required course on media literacy would help young students navigate and understand the news they are consuming.
According to a study performed by Statistica, Americans spend an average of 721 minutes a day consuming media.
I spent time observing my news consumption. I start and end my day with the media. There are times I just scroll through reading headlines. As a journalist I know better than to just skim – I fall into the trap of confirmation bias. This is common for students.
It is important for students to understand how these media outlets work. Facebook has an algorithm that will reinforce your ideas. If you click on a CNN similar articles that express the same viewpoint will be recommended. Higher education needs to encourage students to be independent thinkers. A required course on media literacy will provide the opportunity for students to encounter information with a healthy level of skepticism.