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BYU journalism students learning how to create, identify accurate information

Posted at 10:21 PM, Jan 27, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-28 00:21:27-05

PROVO, Utah — In a day and age where news media can be accessed 24 hours a day 7 days a week, there's a pretty good chance you'll come across false information at some point.

Brigham Young University journalism students Cecilee Henstrom and Sariah Farmer believe fake news is getting more dangerous, thus making it even more important to identify.

"I’ll click on it and then I’ll just be like oh this kind of seems interesting, but once I get to the bottom I’m like oh, there’s no way this is reputable in the slightest," Farmer said.

The students are part of a generation where most of their news is consumed via social media platforms.

"For BYU, for one of my communication classes we did a study about different news sources that students look at and most of them were saying I look at facebook or twitter or Instagram," Farmer reflected. "That was so surprising for me that’s where they turn to for their news because there are options… so many reputable sources."

Farmer and Henstrom work at BYU's Newsline Lab, producing a live daily newscast with professor and former TV news producer Melissa Gibbs.

"The information we receive we have to be critically aware of where that information is coming from, if that information has a bias, what the purpose of that information is," Gibbs said.

Gibbs says digging deeper into the content we consume, and choosing to look at content that might not always fit with our beliefs is healthy.

"Human beings have a tendency to gravitate and consume ideas that they agree with or that confirm the beliefs they have," she says. "That confirmation bias can be extremely dangerous."

Gibbs believes that by broadening the sources we choose to consume information from, we can make the internet and world a safer place for generations to come.