Become a Critical Consumer

 
Many of us are bombarded with news from all sorts of media outlets each day, whether it is through email, online newspapers, blogs or even social media. The amount of news we are exposed to has rapidly increased in the past decade, allowing for the immediacy in which we receive our news. This creates a problem for many consumers when you have to decipher which information you are receiving is true and which is not. Often, many will take what they read at face value and believe that the information provided is true. If you are like me, you probably have a friend or two that will buy into an article that is false or satirical, such as a post from The Onion.  They then repost the article, allowing other people to believe it is true as well!

 

The truth is, media is often biased in one way or another. We need to remain educated about what is going on in the world and determine for ourselves whether or not we trust the source of the article. Below are a few tips that will help you think more critically about the information you are exposed to.
 
Check the source: Look at who the author is, because perhaps their background and position may cause them to be biased on certain subjects. You should also check to see the authors past works, including the subjects that they cover as well as whether or not they are credible.
 
Compare with articles from other news outlets: Check to see if the information provided has been verified by other news outlets. If the story appears in a number of credible news outlets, that can be a good indication that it is true!
 
Be an active consumer of information: The more you read, the more knowledge you will gain just by actively seeking out your news. As you consume more information, you will feel more comfortable determining whether or not it is credible!
 
Don’t believe everything you read on the internet: There is a funny commercial for State Farm that pokes fun at a consumer who believes everything they read on the internet is true. The man starts out by saying, “Where’d you hear that” and a woman responds, “The internet. They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.” The man responds again, “Where’d you hear that?” and the woman responds, “The internet.”
 
This commercial illustrates that the average media consumer tends to believe everything they read, just because it is on the internet! Also, in a humorous way, illustrates that not everything you read on the internet is true. It turns out that the supermodel the woman was going on a blind date with does not resemble a model at all.
 
Always, always, always, think critically about what you are reading! Don’t forget to spread the word on the importance of being a critical consumer of information, so that others don’t get caught in the trap. Do you have any other tips to add? We would love to hear them in the comments section! 
 
This guest blog post was written by PRowl staff member Kaitlyn Mashack.

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