Why it is Important to be News Literate
We just celebrated Independence Day here in the States, commemorating the signing of the Declaration of Independence.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.
This set the stage for what would become the Constitution of the United States. And one of the most recognizable of the rights guaranteed in the Constitution in the first amendment right to freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
But with that freedom comes responsibility to be fair, accurate, objective, honest and transparent. And that also means it is our responsibility as consumers of news to be smart and engaged participants in the process.
But even as smart consumers, it can be difficult to determine what is legitimate news from credible sources or what is fake or substantiated news.
“Fake news” has always existed. Think of the tabloid headlines like “woman gives birth to an elephant” or “400-pound ant takes over downtown.” These “news” stories are clearly untrue. Most of us can tell the difference between the stories we see in the grocery store checkout line and the more objective reporting we see on the local TV news.
The challenge with today’s fake news is that it has become much more sophisticated and is designed to look like and sound like legitimate news stories. Even the most sophisticated audiences find it hard to distinguish between legitimate news and materials that are created to persuade, sell, mislead or exploit.
Becoming news literate is critical. Honing your skills to successfully navigate today’s media landscape is vitally important. Do you think you have what it takes?
We’re digging a little bit deeper on the subject of news literacy on this week’s episode of Copper State of Mind. And be sure to listen in again on July 20 as Adrian and I will be joined by Ilana Lowery, a former journalist and now Arizona Regional Director of Common Sense Media as we continue this important discussion.