WINSTED, CT – January 6, 2020 – This spring, Northwestern Connecticut Community College will offer News Literacy in the Age of Social Media (ENG 174) on its campus in Winsted. Many people are overwhelmed by the flood of news–real and fake–coming at them in the digital age. This new 3-credit course will offer tools to help deal with it. News Literacy in the Age of Social Media (ENG 174) is designed to help students become informed citizens by giving them the critical thinking skills needed to consume news today, whether it comes to them in print, on television or radio, or via the internet. This course will provide them with an understanding of how journalists and news organizations operate and ways to evaluate the credibility and fairness of a news story.
Kevin Noblet, a retired journalist, will be teach this course. He was a reporter and editor for 27 years at The Associated Press and seven years at Dow Jones and The Wall Street Journal. He has taught journalism at Columbia University and Ohio University. In this course, he uses a curriculum designed by Stony Brook University’s Center for News Literacy that is being taught at several colleges in the United State and abroad.
“Information is now being pushed at us non-stop, and from a dizzying array of sources,” Noblet says. “At the same time, lines between news, opinion, propaganda and advertising are sometimes blurring. Students–in fact, all of us–need to hone the ability to discern bias and to distinguish between news and opinion, and among fact, rumor and disinformation.”
“The internet has changed the ways we receive news, how we process it, and how we share it,” he adds. “Many younger people get virtually all their news through social media, and studies show that many of them have trouble distinguishing between reliable and unreliable information. Many also feel overwhelmed and are deciding to tune out the news, even if it may be important to them.”
Students in ENG 174 will spend the semester learning about news media and the impact of new technology, putting developments in a historical and societal context. They will learn how to analyze key elements of stories such as evidence, sources, context and transparency. They will be taught ways to distinguish between news reports, opinion journalism and unsupported claims. They will also learn how to distinguish between news media bias and audience bias.
“It’s important for students who have grown up in the digital age to become skilled at consuming news,” Noblet says. “It’s critical for our democracy, which needs an informed and involved citizenry to function.”
News Literacy in the Age of Social Media ENG 174 will meet on Mondays from 6:35-9:36 pm, starting on January 27, 2020.