The Importance of Media Literacy

Monday, October 24, 2011

Social media is a prominent force today. One of every eight minutes is spent on Facebook and thousand of tweets are posted each hour.

With this in mind it is important as a journalist to be on top of it all. It is not enough to just know how to work a computer, but you must be 'media literate.'

Recently a tweet was released by Mashable that stated the wrong number, accidentally changing it from billion to million. This tweet was then passed on by a very prominent journalist, further spreading the false information.

Was this journalist being media illiterate by further spreading false information?

Although the spread of false information was not catastrophic in this case, it was a cause for concern.

Journalists today are expected to keep up with the constant flow of news information, and breaking the news is only half of it.

Todays media world calls for a journalist that is media literate.

Ten years ago being literate meant you could properly read and comprehend what was being read. Today it is different.

In order to be literate today, you need to be able to objectively look at tweets and blog posts and decide what is in fact, reliable. Apply those helpful critical thinking skills that have been developing throughout your life.

If a journalist cannot properly discern what is true and false, reliable or not, then they should be hesitant to inform others of the information.

Not only do journalists need to practice this, but every person should be discerning when getting their news. People need to take caution and understand that any average joe can spread the information.

As the saying goes, don't believe everything you read.


Dylan October 24, 2011 at 10:18 AM  

I agree with you!
People should be careful of what they read because anyone with a mouth can spread untrue news. (Just look at most high schools.)
Most people do not understand the importance of media and the job that they must do.
It's amazing how much social media is now playing roles in the way everyday people get their news, so the example of the journalist with the incorrect tweet was well worthy.

kelleygray October 24, 2011 at 11:48 AM  

I think that it is a lot harder to be media literate today than it was ten years ago. While we do have more news outlets and information at our fingertips, it is so much easier for anyone to post anything on the Internet- things that don't have to be fact-checked or ran by an editor. In order to be media literate today, we have to really look critically at whether what we believe is true, even if it looks to be legitimate.

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