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News Literacy Week: MSU students learn importance of verifying facts

Posted at 7:14 AM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-27 07:14:21-05

EAST LANSING, Mich. — It’s National News Literacy Week and so we caught up with broadcast journalism students at Michigan State University where they are learning the importance of news literacy and how to gather and produce trustworthy news.

Michigan State University has a student produced newscast called Focal Point where the students typically do everything a normal newsroom would. They report, shoot and edit their stories and even go live.

“It's always important to be correct, not just first, especially when breaking a story,” says Joe Freihofer, MSU Senior with Focal Point News.

And that’s exactly what students are learning in the Focal Point newsroom at Michigan State University, to not only gather news but understanding and verify facts.

“When we talked about credibility and getting sources, we've always preached, you have to verify everything, you have to fact check everything, you have to make sure that you have multiple sources confirming what it is that you're getting,” says Bob Gould, MSU Broadcast Journalism Instructor.

When gathering the information for stories the students have also learned just how important it is to have multiple voices.

“It's something that Michigan State I think has done a fantastic job of when we were really young, even when I was a sophomore, we took a class, where once a week we go out into the community and write a story in the Lansing community. And at the end of the semester, we were keeping track of every single source that we interviewed, the demographic, where they were from the race or ethnicity. And at the end of the day, we pulled that all together and looked at our data to see okay, how well are we truly talking to all sides here in the lansing community,” says Freihofer.

Instructor Bob Gould is also teaching students just how important it is to look at all angles of a story to make it fair and balanced.

“We want to make them good storytellers. But we also want them to understand why journalism matters and why it's important to democracy and why we aren't just here to be a face on television.”

You can find more information on National News Literacy Week here.