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Media Literacy Trumps Fake News

Fake news has been on the minds of most adults in America, including President Donald Trump, who recently told Fox News’ Lou Dobbs that he coined the now infamous phrase.

Its existence raises the question, how can people fight it?

Experts say media literacy is the most effective way to combat fake news, and becoming media literate will help everyone, including students, understand the differences between real and fake news. The National Association for Media Literacy Education recently held its third annual Media Literacy Week to raise awareness about the issue.

According to a recent Pew Research Study “nearly two-thirds of U.S. adults (64 percent) say fabricated news stories cause a great deal of confusion about the basic facts of current issues and events. About a third of U.S. adults (32 percent) say they often see made-up political news online, while 39 percent sometimes see such stories, and 26 percent hardly ever or never do.”

Pew Research Center also reports a ten percent increase since 2016 in social media use for people over 50 years old. And the study also saw a ten percent increase in nonwhite social media users. In addition, 45 percent of all Facebook users say they rely solely on the site to deliver their news.

“I think it is less about the mobile devices themselves, and more about how they have changed our culture,” CSUN Communications Studies graduate student Anya Crittention said. “Also, I think [the controversy over fake news] is damaging to journalism itself. While people are now ready to believe fake news, there’s also this increasing cynicism and distrust of the media. And, I think that is also dangerous since the media inherently is meant to be for the people and if we turn our back on them, that’s also dangerous.”

Media historians say social media outlets have allowed for an emergence of more voices, and that makes the news more democratic. And now the news cycle has become 24/7 due to the emergence of digital media technology, and that makes news and information more accessible to more people.

“I think there’s been fake news around for a long time,” CSUN Cinema and Television Arts Professor Anna Marie Piersimoni said. “We just have more of it because we have more of everything, and more voices doing that, but from the early days of yellow journalism, [from] the building of the Hearst Empire to the building of the Murdoch empire, there’s been fake journalism.”

Piersimoni said sensational ‘clickbait’ headlines cause people to jump from one article to the next without taking the time to evaluate the story. And since people are not reading the full story, they are relying only on their own beliefs, and not using the critical and analytical tools of media literacy. These strongly held beliefs and biases create filter bubbles, and limit the amount of information people are exposed to, or willing to read.

“I think that the awareness of your own biases is the only way that you can start to pierce the bubble,”  CSUN Department Chair of Political Science Dr. David Leitch said. “If you don’t know what your preferences are, and if they’re sort of unexamined, unaware, unconsciousness, then you don’t have any strategies for confronting them. And I’ll be an advocate: I will say it’s good to confront your biases, not just because it is healthy and democratic, because it is fun.”

Media literacy experts say it’s important for students to read opinions written by sources they don’t necessarily agree with, and to be exposed to more viewpoints, even if they have to look hard to find them.

“The best thing, I tell my students, is to not only follow the money, but to follow the breadcrumbs,” Piersimoni said. “Especially if you go to Wikipedia. Down at the bottom of the page, check all the little footnotes, and double check, and then cross-reference. It is the best thing that you can do. And then see if you can find the opposite view of what you’re looking at.”

Moderator: Minerva Medrano

Producers: Diego Girgado and Tyler Jones

Anchor: Morgan Ball

Social Media Editors: Joselynn Castro and Shannon Ozburn

Reporters: Morgan Ball, Joselynn Castro, Diego Girgado, Tyler Jones, Minerva Medrano and Shannon Ozburn

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Generation Why: Millennials’ Relationship Status with the News

Millennials have a stigma of being uninformed and uninterested in news. The emergence of technology and social media is cited as the main reason behind this.
However a study done by the Media Insight Project at the American Press Institute shows that 85 percent of millennials say keeping up with the news is somewhat important to them. It also notes that 69 percent get their news daily.
“I think people think kids these days are lazy, or we don’t know what’s going on,” Democratic activist and linguistics graduate student Maya Wax Cavallero said. “We’re the future. Millennials are the future.”
News is brought to the public in many different ways. Television has its traditional political news shows, but viewers also get news from comedic shows like ‘The Daily Show’,  which may influence millennials’ opinions, too. Social media have also created a way for people to get their political news, and to spread awareness about a cause that interests them.
“What’s changed around us in society is that the media have fundamentally been re-shaped [in how they deliver news],” CSUN Political Science Professor Tom Hogen-Ecsh said. “I don’t think millennials are any different [than past generations] in the way they engage in politics…In some ways I think they’re more engaged.”
This current election has demonstrated the power social media has had for the different political parties, and perhaps also the view that millennials are keeping up with the news, and are aware of what’s going on in the world around them.

Moderator – Scott Sanders

Anchor – Gabrielle Ortega

Producer – Danielle Pendleton

Social Media Editors – Sophie Ashley and Alexandra Chidbachian

Reporters – Sophie Ashley, Alexandra Chidbachian, Gabrielle Ortega, Danielle Pendleton, Scott Sanders and Joshua Spidel

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Like Our Page: Marketing in the Digital Age

In today’s digital age, businesses are using social media more and more to advertise their products.

A recent eMarketer study shows that $180 billion was spent on advertising last year, a five percent growth from 2004. Statistics show that digital advertising is leading the increase in ad spending, with spending for mobile networks in the lead.

Marketing analysts say the shift in ad spending has to do with what consumers are focused on, and the current focus for many consumers is social media. “Social media as a platform has been successful in reaching consumers and making connections,” said Dr. Kristen Walker, an associate professor in the CSUN Department of Marketing.

Marketing experts say the increase in digital advertising spending has to do with the increased amount of time consumers are spending on their mobile devices. eMarketer reports that adults in the US spend about two hours and 51 minutes on mobile devices each day.

“Google is already veering towards sites that are built for a mobile user,” said Apex Digital Media founder Dustin Peterson. “You’ll get a higher search ranking if you’re optimized for a user on their iPhone.”

Statistics show that Google accounts for about 45 percent of all digital advertising spending, but social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are growing.

Advertising experts say those social media platforms give advertising firms a way to connect with consumers. “If someone clicks on a link you can tell where that person came from,” Peterson said. “A lot of times you can cookie their browser and serve them follow-up messaging.”

A recent Gallup poll shows that 62 percent of people say viewing ads on social media does not influence their spending activities, but some marketing experts disagree.

“Consumers aren’t necessarily aware of how effective marketing can be,” Walker said. “Marketers can learn a lot about your interactions with people in your social media platform.”

Walker said digital marketing is going to get even more personal in the future.

“Consumers haven’t really figured out how many companies are gathering information about them and when they are gathering it,” Walker said.

“Because of the way that technology’s evolving,” Peterson said, ” I think everything’s going to be personalized based on your likes, and things that you said you had interest in; you can already kind of see it happening”.

The trick is going to be finding the balance between personalization and privacy.

“The White House just released a draft of the consumer privacy bill of rights,” Walker said, “and there’s some discussion as to where that’s going in the future.”


Moderator: Kelsey Ducklow

Producer: Brenda Garcia

Anchor: Teresa Arevalo

Reporters: Wahid Lodin, Gloria Star and Alexis Wadley

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Cultivating A Digital Brand #Passion

The Pew Research Center reported recently that 72 percent of online adults use social networking sites. More than four billion videos are watched daily and more than three billion hours of video are watched a month. The widespread success of online media is providing entrepreneurs with many new ways to make their brand or business flourish.

“That’s how I make the majority of my cash, through promotions, reels or marketing videos, because everyone’s going to need to go digital at some point,” blogger Reina Royale said.

Statistics show over 50 percent of American consumers rely on blog posts when buying goods, and smaller businesses saw a 26 percent increase in leads due to blogging.

YouTube blogger Vanessa Watson provides segments like “Wellness Wednesday” on her site, offering her followers videos with tips for losing weight or preparing healthy meals.

Royale provides her online audience with “Royale Reports”, which include her take on pop culture, and the music and entertainment world.

“The reason why you’re probably gaining a following, is because the story remains authentic,” said Dr. Kristen Walker, an associate professor in CSUN’s Marketing Department. “When you come back to branding, it has to be something that’s consistent, and as long as you can stay consistent within that persona, you’re keeping and maintaining your community.”

Social avenues such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram are great barometers for gauging the reception of the content displayed by the bloggers or online businesses. Entrepreneurs who use social media and digital marketing techniques can get immediate feedback from their followers.

“Everyone loves my weight loss videos [on YouTube],” Watson said, “but it’s mainly to find a balance within myself. I don’t want to venture out what I don’t believe in.”

Experts and practitioners agree that successful digital branding is a process, which starts with making a list of what and whom to target.

Royale said the next step is to cultivate an audience, by finding people who are just as passionate as you are to support your brand, and then consistently following your plan in order to keep them.

“It’s sort of hashtag passion,” Walker said. “You guys are talking about what your passions are, and if you are passionate about things the consumer can connect to, then that’s when it works.”


Moderator: Jonny Green

Anchor: Jacquelyn Koenig

Digital Editors: Trene Todd and Jacquelyn Koenig

Reporters: Ben Ladiana, Brionna Lewis, Mihkel Teemant and Jacquelyn Koenig


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Social Media and Activism

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