March 7, 2018 2:03 PM

MU faculty examine the relationship between media and the public

Cindy FullerMillikin University faculty members Scott Lambert, assistant professor of English, and Cindy Fuller, associate professor and director of the Staley Library, were among six panelists who took part in a one-hour discussion entitled "Media Literacy in 2018" at the Decatur Public Library on March 6.

The event, sponsored by the Herald & Review, examined the relationship between the media and the public, as well as the role that "fake news," social media and critical thinking play in today's information age.

Each of the panelists had a different approach to combating misinformation within the news media, but they quickly reached an agreement on the definition of "fake news."

"It's basically just what it says: fake," Lambert said. "When you have someone who's writing or puts something out there that's completely not based on fact, and it's really easy to do."

Panelists noted another solution is to spend more time teaching young people how to properly examine information before sharing it with others, either online or in person. Cindy Fuller explained how Millikin librarians teach first-year students to properly use library resources.

"We discuss what are the credentials of the author, how reliable is the information, can you verify it?" Fuller said. "We have them actually find sites, we talk about it with the class and we have them identify factors that they think they should look for."

Lambert added, "I'm the one that's always defending the people that are younger, because I believe that they know a heck of a lot more about what's happening on the internet than we do. I think the problem is more people that are my age and older because we're set in our ways and we don't change."