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Ironwood Ridge H.S. takes on project about misinformation

Misinformation is a serious issue in today’s society. With the current political climate and a pandemic it can be easy to be confused about what to believe on social media.
Posted at 7:02 AM, Jan 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-29 09:44:43-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — We end our second annual National News Literacy Week with a special project including Ironwood Ridge High School. The spread of misinformation is a growing problem and can have dangerous results. That's why our parent company, E. W. Scripps has partnered with the non-profit, News Literacy Project. This year, Ironwood Ridge High School students took on a big project with us. Mr. Luke Howell's journalism class put together a story about misinformation on social media. We worked with students over the past few weeks on this story. Please check out all their hard work!

Misinformation is a serious issue in today’s society. With the current political climate and a pandemic it can be easy to be confused about what to believe on social media. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter have made it easier than ever to post opinions and beliefs right next to legitimate news.

According to Pew Research, 53% of U.S. adults say that they get their news from social media “sometimes” or “often,” and of that 53% nearly one third of those polled relied on Facebook as a news source.

“I usually get my news off Instagram, because I follow a lot of sports news and they are known for being accurate,” says Drake Harris, a student at Ironwood Ridge High School. Drake, like many other people his age are also turning to social media for news.

Polls conducted by Common Sense Media and Survey Monkey found that the number of teenagers shunning traditional news sources and turning to social media sites for news is growing.

In a recent study conducted by The Harvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review, researchers concluded that social media users are more likely to believe fake news.

“I’m sure there are examples in my past where I have re-posted something and just never looked back at it and it was false,” says IRHS teacher, Luke Howell, a sentiment leading some to believe social media may actively confuse a portion of the population.

A Pew Research study established that many social media users don’t find it helpful when attempting to process current events. Only 29% of those surveyed said that social media had improved their understanding of current events, while 23% said that it has actually left them more confused than when they started.

“There are lots of people that are sharing things on social media that may not be true. I don’t really take the time to look and check every single thing I see that other people have posted,” says IRHS student, Ashanthi Otero.

Experts say, to ensure that you don’t fall victim to false information, you should stay away from websites ending in unfamiliar endings; check the number of quotes that are in a story, chances are if there are few/none it is untrustworthy; and, before reading a story, check the comment section for any negative reviews.

For more information, check out this guide created by Melissa Zimdars at Merrimack College for identifying misleading or fake news.

KGUN9 would like to thank Mr. Luke Howell's Journalism class for their work!

  • Diego Alvarez
  • Jewelina Bouldin
  • Trista Brady
  • Sabrina Brower
  • Lily Caso
  • Emilee DeGrood
  • Drake Harris
  • Macyn Koteles
  • Jaycie Nicholls
  • Ashanthi Otero
  • Samuel Sotelo
  • Jalen Thompson
  • Ian van der Merwe
  • Liliana Vigil German