WACO, TX — In a social media driven world, it's hard to spot the difference between fact and fiction right away. With National News Literacy Week, the News Literacy Project hopes to shine a light on how important it is to fact-check and understand the difference between a credible and not credible source.
Whether you watch your local news station, national news, read the paper or scroll through social media, there is a lot of information out there. Sometimes the truth can be stretched.
Kent Flemming is a recent Waco visitor. When he travels, he relies on the radio as his way of consuming news. He steers away from social media. As a 65-year old man, Flemming says he likes reading the newspaper and doing things the old fashioned way.
"My wife reads the newspaper, and I read a little bit of it, but most of mine is off TV and it's mostly the national networks," Flemming said.
Facebook is his main social media platform. He only uses it for catching up with other family members.
"People will just forward articles that you really have no idea if it has any truth or basis at all, and we're big believers in fact-checking," Flemming said.
Fact-checking is vital in today's world because there are many who can write, post and create whatever they want online. Sometimes those websites can seem legit, but in the end they aren't.
22-year old Blair Robinson is in law school. Being a millennial, she is on social media frequently, but knows the importance of not believing everything you see.
"It depends on who wrote it and if they look like they have credentials to be talking about the subject," Robinson said.
Growing up with Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, she's learned the power these platforms can have on those using them.
"I think social media has given a lot of people the outlet to write whatever they feel like, and it's not always accurate," Robinson said.
Others though have shied away from looking at news overall, like Pete Farmer, who would rather spend his time outdoors.
"How do you know if it's fact or not without actually looking it up, going through the facts? And you got to do more research to even see if it's a fact or not," Farmer said.
Farmer says it's too much work to decipher between fact and fiction, but will fact-check when things he reads or hears seem off.
Relying on his family, he tries to get them to understand that if they give him false information, the lies only spread from there.
"If they gave fake information to close family and then they spread it to me," Farmer said. "What if I believe it then I spread it, and I don't know that it's fake. I just believe it because my family told me it was true."
No matter how you consume news, these three have a few tips on vetting the right sources.
"Rely on the press, really the newspaper and reporter people to investigate," Flemming said.
"Take a little longer to do the research before sending it out," Robinson said.
"Check your facts to make sure you're getting accurate information and you're not spreading misinformation," Farmer said.
If you're online, websites with a URL ending in .org are often reliable sources. Also local news stations are considered credible sources.
To find out more ways on how to be news literate, take the News Literacy Project quiz.
Visit their website on how you can practice and share the importance of fact-checking.