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UNLV journalism students learning critical thinking, news literacy skills

Posted at 6:48 AM, Jan 24, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-26 21:17:48-05

LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — You've heard the term fake news. It seems more than ever, Americans are having a hard time separating fact from fiction when it comes to news content on many different platforms.

In honor of National News Literacy Week, 13 Action News spoke to a former journalist turned UNLV instructor who is committed to helping aspiring journalists by teaching news literacy skills.

News Literacy Week 2022 | Resources, tools to strengthen news literacy, sort out fact vs. fiction

Patranya Bhoolsuwan is currently teaching Journalism 449 at UNLV. And the hot topic is news literacy.

"The students get to not only learn the practical skills, but how to think like a journalist," Bhoolsuwan said.

Critical thinking skills in this day and age of journalism are essential with so many news outlets. Information sources and social media are more important than ever.

Bhoolsuwan says everyone is a media producer these days, and it's getting harder for consumers to separate fact from fiction.

"If I talk to any of my students now, they're probably media producers every day. They're putting their content already online. They have a Youtube channel. So, they're both a media consumer and a media producer. So, it's even more important for them to know what kind of content they're putting out there and what kind of information they're putting out," Bhoolsuwan said.

Separating fact from fiction and spot misinformation are topics the students we spoke to have strong opinions on.

"I make sure that the person publishing at the media company publishing it is trustworthy and that they've produced valid work in the past, and that other people can trust them as well," said Jelani Watts, a UNLV journalism student.

Students in Journalism 449 will get their chance to put their critical thinking caps on and put a news story together.

Bhoolsuwan will instill the importance of being on a truth fact-finding mission this semester. She also believes one of the biggest challenges for her aspiring journalists will be deciphering through all that information and getting to the facts.

"You need to start them in elementary school because these kids are on Youtube and Facebook. They're all tech to all of this information that's coming up. They need to start thinking about where that information is coming from and what it does to the community," Bhoolsuwan said.