Friday, November 2, 2012

News Literacy Project visits Associated Press Chicago

Friday, November 02, 2012

By Sahar Alchammae, Robert R. McCormick Communications intern

Among journalists there is an old joke about fact-checking all sources, even one’s own mother. It is this message of skepticism that staff at Chicago’s Associated Press bureau shared with student journalists from Northside College Prep High School who were on a News Literacy Project field trip.

On October 17, the editorial team of The Hoofbeat, Northside College Prep’s school newspaper, was challenged to consider the question “how do you know?” Two AP staff members introduced the news organization, explaining its history and its role in providing content to media outlets. Next, they shared how the 2006 Sago mine collapse was misreported by numerous reputable publications. This example showed the students the importance validating facts.

During the closing question and answer segment, the students asked if social media is a useful source for reporting. One AP staffer responded by explaining that Twitter was a valuable tool when she was reporting on an emergency plane landing. She explained that social media can be used as a way to listen for trends and to discover sources but should not be considered a primary news source.

After the session, the students were provided with lunch and the opportunity to workshop story ideas with staffers.

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