NewsNews Literacy Project


News Literacy Project encourages college students to learn news literacy

“We teach them how to find sources."
news literacy
Posted at 5:47 PM, Jan 28, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 20:48:13-05

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — You can access all of those fact checking sites and resources at the Bakersfield College Library if you are a student. The Kern County Library system also has resources for all residents.

According to the News Literacy Project, 63 percent of U.S. college students said that following news is a civic responsibility.

The News Literacy Project provides resources for educators and the public to teach, learn, and share the abilities to be active news and information consumers.

Walking onto a college campus can be really intimidating, especially the library.

It’s filled with rows of information, so where do you start to make sure the information your citing for your assignment is factual?

St Bakersfield College, faculty and staff are teaching students how to spot misinformation by using their literacy skills.

Zachary Smith, BC English Adjunct Professor said, “We’re trying to get them to look at a lot of different news sources. Newspaper articles, magazine articles, scholarly sources, television interviews, ted talks, YouTube videos. We understand that it's not limited to just text anymore that information is coming through podcasts.”

Inside the classroom, or over zoom, Bakersfield College is educating students about the importance of spotting misinformation.

“We know that there's a lot of information out there, so we ask them to try and look at as many sources as possible but understanding they can’t look at everything.”

Professor Smith said online learning has caused more students to plagiarize. To help combat that spread of misinformation, he focuses on teaching two news literacy skills: analysis and evaluation.

“The different ways to evaluate those sources is to check and see if that source provided where they got the information from and then to further fact check from there.”

The classroom isn’t the only place to learn these skills. Bakersfield College Reference Librarian Faith Bradham said the library also has plenty of resources to help students.

“We teach them how to find sources whether that’s in databases or just using google. We also help them figure out how to do good searches on google. Or there's sites like Media Bias Fact Check, PolitiFact, Snopes. All of those are different sites that students or anyone can go to and type in key words and see if it’s been proven fake or real. That’s one way to kind of help."

But Smith doesn't stop at teaching literacy skills, he reminds students the importance not to spread misinformation on social media.

“It’s not civil, its very subjective. People don’t credit their sources often. We let them know that social media can be a tool for news information but, like Wikipedia, it’s a starting point. It’s not necessarily something that you would rely on for a main source for your argument.”