Modern media panel shares tips on ‘Filtering Facts’

Experts discussed media literacy and the dangers of mass consumption of disinformation at a virtual panel discussion on Dec. 9

The “Filtering Facts: The Critical Consumption of Mass Messaging” discussion, hosted by the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, featured a panel of experts who analyzed the modern media landscape and how it influences consumers.

Panelists included:

  • Andrew Lotz, assistant dean for undergraduate studies at the Dietrich School of Arts & Sciences

  • Brenton J. Malin, associate professor in the Department of Communication

  • Kevin M. Smith, director of undergraduate studies in Broadcast, Film & Media Studies

  • Tara J. Yosso, professor at the University of California–Riverside’s Graduate School of Education

When it comes to media literacy, Lotz’s opening statement focused on three topics: how people, institutions, news media and governments want the public to act in predictable ways; how to determine the people and organizations that are trying to sway the public to act in predictable ways; how algorithms have exacerbated media literacy issues.

Malin discussed the history of the news media industry in the U.S., and how organizations seeking profit sometimes sensationalize stories and spread misinformation to get more revenue.

The distribution of news and information comes with multiple responsibilities, Smith said, and over time, these responsibilities have become “distorted.”

Additionally, the pursuit of profit can lead to certain societal topics being promoted over others, Malin added.

“This profit motive is a continuing and central problem in many of the questions and issues we have about our contemporary media, especially when it comes to news and information, but really, with almost all aspects of our media,” Malin said.

To view the full panel discussion, visit the Office for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion’s YouTube channel.

— Donovan Harrell


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