College Student’s Perception of Social Media News Validity

By Bridget Englebrecht, Cynthia Landa, Gianna Horvath, Crystal Ramirez

Maryanne Shults is a professor here at Cal State Fullerton in the communications department. She teaches many classes regarding the importance of media literacy and journalism. She is also a freelance journalist currently working with local fire authorities to update people in the surrounding areas about nearby fires through social media. Her experience working in journalism helps her give her students a better understanding of what it means to be an effective communicator and help build their media literacy skills. 

“Fake News” is a term that has been used in recent years in regards to the spread of misinformation through media. “Fake News” has been a hot topic as it concerns all media consumers and the trust citizens have in the news they receive. Besides mainstream media outlets, social media is also a major contributor to the spread of misinformation. Posters on social media are not held to the same journalistic standards as major news outlets and can post whatever they want regardless of the facts. College students are known for being some of the biggest consumers of social media and spend much of their free time scrolling through different sites. Unsurprisingly, most of the news they receive comes from social media as well. Rates of misinformation online have likely never been higher due to the COVID 19 pandemic and the political unease of recent times. Our study aims to evaluate how trusting college students are of the information they receive online in regards to current affairs. We interviewed professor Maryanne Shults about how social media influences college students’ perceptions of the news they receive.

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