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Salisbury University Hosts Fact or Fake: Media Literacy in Politics

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Salisbury chapter.

Fact checking sites are about to see an increase in traffic.

About 250 Salisbury University community members learned about fake news, why it is an issue and how to combat it at the “Fact or Fake: Media Literacy in Politics” event on November 14, sponsored by the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement (PACE) and the Society of Professional Journalists.

The event started off with a panel, including SU Professor Jennifer Cox, Daily Times reporter Jeremy Cox, 47 ABC reporter and producer Justina Coronel and Delmarva Public Radio News Director Don Rush.

Audience members then attended sessions during which they learned about how fake news circulates, tested how well they spotted fake news and learned how they can check the validity of the news they’re receiving.

Professor Sarah Surak, PACE co-director and political science professor, required her students to attend the event in place of class. PACE sent out its programming to the campus faculty in August and asked them to integrate relevant programs into their courses.

Surak incorporated the Fake News event into her class framework because she wanted her students to be up to date on the news, so they could talk about current events in class.

“What we do in our political science classes is create a scaffolding or a framework to think about the world,” Surak said. “It’s one thing to talk about the theory, but it only becomes sort of clear when we talk about what it looks like in practice.”

Jaelin Johnson was one of Surak’s students who attended the event. Johnson said he now believes it is the job of both journalists and readers to assess news vigilantly, especially if they’re going to speak on it.

“With having a political science major…we discuss what’s going on in the day-to-day world,” Johnson said. “So, if I’m going to speak about these facts I quote-un-quote know, it’s good to make sure these are validated; it’s not fake news I’m [telling] the class.”

Abiodun Adeoye facilitated the PACE group that discussed fake news circulation in the past election and gave tips on how students can combat fake news. Adeoye said he enjoyed his group’s discussion and hopes students are aware of the various fact checking websites they can use including factcheck.com, politifact.com, The Washington Post and snopes.com

“It’s just fun to see how people argue over something that’s not true and how people verify the credibility of a source versus [if] it was it just there to polarize,” Adeoye said. “These websites are credible sources that verify if something is true or not, whether it’s polarizing [or] not something you want to hear.”


Nadia Williams is a senior studying Political Science, Communications and French at Salisbury University. She enjoys writing about policy, media and culture. She hopes to use journalism as a tool to empower others to play an active role in their communities. 
Stephanie Chisley is an outgoing go-getter. Originally, Stephanie is from Oxon Hill, MD. She is currently a student at Salisbury University where she is studying Communication Arts with a track in journalism and public relations and a minor in Theater. While attending Salisbury University, Stephanie currently holds an executive board position as the secretary for Salisbury's Society of Professional Journalists . Stephanie plans on becoming an anchor for E! News or a writer, radio host, and announcer for BuzzFeed. In her free time, Stephanie is always on her phone scanning through social media, communicating with her friends, and finding new places to eat near her area.