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INTRO TO JOURNALISM: Students weigh in on their experiences with misinformation

INTRO TO JOURNALISM: Students weigh in on their experiences with misinformation
Posted at 8:09 AM, Jan 26, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 10:09:38-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN-TV) — Inside this Introduction to Journalism class at the University of Arizona, students will learn how to spot misinformation and fake news.

"A lot of fact checking. Making sure that if it's breaking, making sure it's actually breaking and not, you know, like wrong," said University of Arizona student A.J. Castillo.

In this world of social media, misinformation spreads like wildfire. "Especially with my aunts and stuff and Facebook. Whatever article they see, they'll share it and it's like, wait a minute, did you even read it?", questioned University of Arizona student Javier Corrales.

Professor Michael McKisson puts his students to work to make sure they're prepared before clicking share, like or retweet.

"I hear that people see something on social media and they take it as news, when in reality it's maybe someone's opinion. Maybe it's someone actually trying to deceive," said Professor McKisson.

In breaking news moments that unfold before our eyes, it becomes crucial to double check where you're getting your information.

Just like during the Jan. 6 Capitol Riots.

"I was confronted with this exact question of misinformation. I didn't know what news outlet to trust. So, I went to various ones and it was really interesting and shocking to see how one would portray the insurrection as something totally different than the next one," said University of Arizona student Jennifer Elena Abarca.

Even things like memes can be misleading.

"Even with Betty White passing away, I found that out through memes and of course a lot of the memes aren't exactly truthful and so, when I saw meme after meme about Betty White being dead, I looked it up and sure enough there was some truth to that," said University of Arizona Madyson Edwards.

With the fake news movement, Professor McKisson says news literacy is an absolute crisis in society right now.

"You see something that you want to believe that already goes to your own beliefs or your own sort of background. You don't want to check it out, because you want it to be true," said Professor McKisson.