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25 News explores the importance of sourcing as part of National News Literacy Week

Posted at 9:01 PM, Jan 26, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-26 22:01:56-05

These days news and information can come in many forms, be it television, print, or online.

The trick is knowing if what you are viewing or reading is true and accurate, especially on social media where misinformation can spread like wildfire.

”It is very low cost to create such fake news,” said Dr. Shuyang Gu, Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems, Texas A&M Central Texas. “It is free to create a social media account and sometimes the fake news creators can even purchase the followers and social bots.”

According to journalism experts, it takes more to be a trustworthy source than simply creating a social media profile and typing something.

”Journalism at its basic essence, is a form in inquiry,” said Joe Cutbirth, Professor of Journalism, University of Texas at Austin. “It’s a form of inquiry and a discipline at verification. So, there’s a difference in someone just having a 2-bit opinion and expressing it in media, and a journalist actually going out there and gathering facts.”

Whether we’re making phone calls, pounding the keys on a computer, or pounding the pavement in the community, journalists are doing all they can to get it right.

What happens if a journalist is putting something our and it turns out to be wrong?

”They make a correction as fast as they can,” said Cutbirth. “A journalist’s credibility is a perception. It’s the perception, are the credible”

Information being put out isn’t always coming from a credible source like a journalist.

”It is difficult for the readers to judge the veracity because the fake news creators mimic a legitimate source of news to gain the trust,” said Dr. Gu.

Don’t just assume what you’re reading is factual.

”If it is suspicious, I recommend going to the official site and see if the news is true,” said Dr. Gu.

No matter where you get your news from, be cautious and always consider the source.