All Media Consumers Benefit from News Literacy


Photo courtesy of Unsplash, Roman Kraft

Veronica Amador, Contributing Writer

Every student at FGCU should take News Literacy. This isn’t the journalist in me trying to show off that I can tell the difference between an advertisement and an actual article; I’m telling you this as a news consumer.  

According to Northwestern University, the United States continues to lose newspapers at a rate of two per week. Most communities that lost newspapers do not get a print or digital replacement. The lack of news would give residents minimal access to critical information that can inform their everyday decisions and sustain grassroots democracy.

We are transitioning to a digital news era, and we should not always trust the internet. According to a 2020 Pew Research Center survey, Americans ages 18 to 29 stand out in that the most common digital way they get news is through social media. A staggering 42% said that they get news this way often versus the 28% saying the same of either news websites or search engines. 

According to FGCU News Literacy Preceptor Glenn Miller, the class means the lifeblood of democracy.

“Without informed, rational, and critically thinking citizens, we are doomed,” Miller said. “Because you spend a small portion of your time in the classroom, no matter what your major is.”

Fifty-seven percent of students in the class are journalism majors, while 23% fell under majors like marketing, psychology or undecided.

According to students who have taken the class, the lessons learned have helped them consume news outside of class. Additionally, the course has made them more responsible readers by teaching them about the importance of verifying sources, deeper analysis of the language used by the news media and ways headlines and stories can be manipulated to mislead a consumer intentionally or unintentionally.

Miller quoted 1970 New York Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan who said that everybody is entitled to their opinion but not their facts.

“Think critically about what you find online instead of just swallowing the information,” Miller said. “As a news consumer, you don’t have to be a journalist to consume.”