The public doesn’t necessarily have the best relationship with the media these days. With “fake news” seemingly on the rise, the public has deemed the media inaccurate, biased and greedy. So, should we listen to the media?
Yes, you should listen to sources you trust and know to be accurate. You should listen to media who are transparent about where they received information. You should listen to sources that are open about any biases they may have, and acknowledge that you may be getting the facts but not the whole truth. You should listen to media that value accuracy over profit.
But there are also media you should shut out. You shouldn’t listen to media that provide commentary in place of context. You shouldn’t trust media that aren’t transparent with their sources or their methods of research.
This seems pretty straightforward, right? So why is “fake news” seemingly reigning social media platforms while the truth gets lost in the cracks?
Now, more than ever, it is up to the public to decide which information they read, share and deems accurate. Digital literacy plays a major part in this, and it seems that a lot of us aren’t digitally literate.
According to the American Library Association, digital literacy is “the ability to use information and communication technologies to find, evaluate, create, and communicate information, requiring both cognitive and technical skills.” We all can access the internet and surf through pages and pages of content, but the digitally literate know how to determine what is reliable versus what is questionable and communicate that information.
We see on our Facebook pages too many articles shared for the sake of “clicks” or profit. This hurts the reputation of journalists, and can also damage the reputation of the person who shares it. But it can be more satisfying and interesting for the reader to click on the more emotionally appealing article.
So how do we combat this? By helping to create a more digitally literate society. A society that can recognize easily what is fact and fiction in an article based on the sources, the transparency and the autonomy. If we stop feeding into fake news, shouldn’t it fizzle out?