How to become media literate, avoid misinformation

Just pause, analyze and don’t share until you’ve done your own research

SAN ANTONIO – We are all participating in this ecosystem of consuming and creating media messages.

Renee Hobbs, a professor of communications at University of Rhode island, said everyone shares responsibility and sometimes that can add to the dangers of misinformation.

Hobbs said it can be really easy to accept information that might not be valid or true, which is why being media literacy is important.

“Right now, the environment is full of inaccurate information, lies, falsehoods, and stuff that really, really gets under our skin — stuff that makes us angry or makes us have strong emotions and makes want to share it,” Hobbs said.

Media literacy is defined as the ability to access, analyze and evaluate media in various forms.

Communications professor and author Sue Ellen Christian, from Western Michigan University, said there are easy changes you can make right now to become more media literate.

“Look for other sources saying the same thing — other news outlets or other sources of trusted information also spreading this information, so it’s not just a fringe social media website or not just a string of tweets or social media posts that don’t have verification,” Christian said.

Both experts suggest trusting your instincts. Just pause, analyze and don’t share until you’ve done your own research.

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About the Author:

Jonathan Cotto is a reporter for KSAT's Nightbeat. Jonathan speaks English and Spanish and is a veteran of the United States Navy. Previously, he worked in South Texas.