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Local educators share advice for News Literacy Week

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Posted at 8:06 AM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 22:53:00-05

This week, KSBY has once again teamed up with the News Literacy Foundation for News Literacy Week.

The effort is aimed at shining a light on better information consumption and sharing.

Educators on the Central Coast share some of the tools they use to help local students identify what's real and what's fake in their news feeds.

"You really have to search for the truth. the truth doesn't just come into your feed," Leah Ransom Lecturer, Communication Studies at Cal Poly.

Many people turn to social media to stay informed, but with so much information flooding news feeds, how can someone tell what's true, and what's false?

It's a complex issue local educators are trying to tackle.

Cyrus Saatsaz, Lead Journalism Professor at Cuesta College says, "It's an interesting time to teach journalism, that's for sure.”

"We are bombarded with messages on social media. What I try to teach them is how to start filtering out and looking for quality sources so that they can get to the truth," said Ransom.

It's a daunting task, often leaving students unsure where to begin.

“It can be hard sometimes to tell the difference between fake and real. especially when it's something that you already want to believe is true," said Carson Murray, Cal Poly student.

"I’ve definitely seen text that they say this quote and when I look it up - the whole speech it's from, it's taken completely out of context," said Olivia Thomas, Cal Poly student.

Ransom explains, "I actually have them go through, which is put out by the News Literacy Project. and it has them go through a set of exercises to identify the motivations behind messages.”

Saatsaz recommends his students use Twitter to monitor news organizations. “If you can consume information properly through an educated means, I feel like you can be a very educated member of society, through a platform like Twitter. I actually teach the students to create a list. By the time the list is completed, every student has sources from television, radio, local, national.”

“I always tell them the two accounts they should follow first and foremost are the Associated Press and Reuters because they are wire services with a very limited agenda," adds Saatsaz.

Educators also advise people taking a pause before they hit the share button.

"Always pause and fact check. and look into it yourself. There are so many fact-checking websites that they (students) can go to and verify the information before they share," said Ransom.