Andrea Bilton/ Sarah Hanlon
STAFF WRITER/ SPECIAL TO THE CHRONICLE
In response to the recent outbreak of fake news accusations in American politics, April’s presentation of “Thriving in the 21st Century Workplace” focused on media literacy and its inherent importance as an essential skill in the modern political climate. The discussion was held in the Sondra and David S. Mack Student Center on Wednesday, April 26, featuring a panel of three news and media experts: Jaci Clement, the executive director of the Fair Media Council; Peter Goodman, a professor of journalism at Hofstra; and Jeffrey Morosoff, the director of Hofstra’s public relations graduate program.
“Each of these meetups tries to teach a different skill or set of skills that are needed in the 21st century,” said Debbi Honorof, the senior director for Hofstra University Continuing Education and organizer of the “21st Century Workplace” meetups. “We’ve been doing them for about a year and a half now. Media literacy – it doesn’t sound that sexy, but it’s a really important skill to have not just for news, not just out in the world, but in the workplace as well.”
The panel covered a variety of media-focused topics while encouraging participation from the crowd. The concepts discussed included fake news in the 2016 presidential election, the influence of advertising in news media, fact checking and a debate over whether social media applications should be considered news outlets. Most of the discussion was centered primarily around how to filter fake news and alternative facts as they are presented by different media including today’s most popular news outlets.
“We want people to be able to distinguish between real news and fake news, but we never taught them what real news was in the first place,” Morosoff said. “Is the role of the news media to tell us what is said is true or not? Or is it up to us to decide?”
Throughout the discussion, audience members were given opportunities to relate personal anecdotes and offer consumer insight to compare to the professional statistics relayed by the panel members.
“There is so much media out there these days, you never know what is fake and what is true anymore,” said Susan Kaye, a frequent attendee of the workshops. “It’s ridiculous what’s going on in the media. It’s all anti-Trump, anti-this, anti-that … what is the truth?”
Bianca Kroenig, a senior public relations major foresees a promising future for media and its consumers, despite recent criticisms. “I think that for the most part people are working toward media literacy,” Kroenig said. “I think people want to know the truth and they want to find the truth no matter what, even if it does mean not sharing an article and actually reading it first. But like all things, it takes time and it’s possible that we’re still learning.”