Journalism Professors Share Ways to Discern Accurate News

There is lots of information about the coronavirus on the internet and it can be hard to discern what is accurate. Professors from the Department of Journalism and Communication at Utah State University shared some tips for how to tell what is fake news and what is not. 

“The more information you get that’s solid the better you’ll actually feel because you’ll feel more informed rather than panicked,” said Candi Carter Olson. 

Carter Olson is a professor who teaches journalism at Utah State University.

 Professors of journalism at USU urge the public to be critical consumers of news media amidst the outbreak of COVID-19. They also shared ways to avoid becoming overwhelmed during various breaking news stories concerning the global pandemic. 

Carter Olson said in order to get the real story, an individual needs to be pulling news information from multiple sources. She also said to be aware of hyperbolic language because it is often there to grab attention.

“Just because something is really loud, don’t let it become the main message you hear,” she said. 

She said if you are getting constant updates, the information may be rehashed or blown out of proportion. 

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According to the professor, a helpful news source includes The Poynter Institute in Florida which is a nonprofit organization that has organized chapters in over 60 countries to fact check information on the current virus. 

Debra Monson is also a professor who teaches in the Journalism and Communication Department and said breaking news can often be overwhelming, and it is okay to take a break from the constant information being received. 

“Give yourself the gift of time and space away from the news, because it will be there when you come back,” she said. 

Thomas Terry teaches media law and reporting of public affairs at the university. He reiterated the importance of taking a break from the news when it becomes too much. 

“Certainly be aware, but go for a walk where you are socially separated, read a book, or look at other websites,” he said. 

Terry recommends Reuters and the Associated Press as sources for factual news information that do not have a tendency to lean left or right on the political scale. 

“I would say whenever you look at any media, you should determine whether there is a particular spin,” he said. “Use your common sense.” 
 

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