National News Literacy Week: Building news trust

img ]

BUFFALO, NY (WKBW) — News literacy has never been more important with many of Americans getting their news all day long on a smartphone social media app.

We know you demand accuracy. We know balance is important to our news consuming audience. We know you are looking for more in-depth information — the story behind the headline.

7 Eyewitness News is kicking off a week-long series on the topic. News literacy is about build trust and weeding out fake news.

WKBW Brian Meyer, adjunct communications professor, SUNY Buffalo State discusses media literacy.

“I’ve often said that consistency is the most important thing,” remarked Brian Meyer.

Meyer is a communications adjunct professor and teaches a media literacy course at SUNY Buffalo State.

“Is it possible Elvis is still alive, what about Walt Disney’s body — is it frozen waiting to be revived,” commented Brian Meyer.

Those are some of the examples Meyer uses to teach students in his class.

Meyer is a former radio and Buffalo News journalist with years of experience in vetting out news sources.

Meyer said he can trace back the term ‘fake news’ well before Donald Trump and show’s students a photo of former President Harry S. Truman holding up a newspaper with an incorrect election headline.


“That famous photo of Harry S. Truman — holding a Chicago Daily — that states ‘Dewey Defeats Truman’ — and I say that’s fake news folks. That paper banner headline is fake new and fake news goes even earlier then the 40’s,” remarked Meyer.

Maggie Tripp of Hamburg is one of Meyer’s students. Students are asked where do they get their news.

“I still get my news from social media,” answered Tripp.

Eileen Buckley Maggie Tripp of Hamburg, a Buffalo State student, during a Zoom interview.

“Are you concerned it’s reliable and accurate?” asked Buckley. “Yes, especially after taking my media literacy class,” replied Tripp.

Meyer works with students to learn how to determine fact from fiction.

“How many of you have shared something on your platforms — where you only read the headline and the first sentence,” Meyer stated. “How to recognize digital disinformation — what fake news may look like and why we’re the front line of defense against it."

“On social media — you never know what’s real or what someone just wants to get views,” Tripp remarked.

Tripp said she now double checks for the truth, especially with national stories.

And it’s not just about national and world-wide, but most importantly about your own community — to stay informed, to stay safe and to be connected.

“What’s big for me is local news — because if you know what’s going on in your back yard — you can kind of figure out what’s going on nationally,” stated Santia Myles of Niagara Falls

WKBW Santia Myles of Niagara Falls, Buffalo State student, during Zoom interview.

Myles is also a Buffalo State student majoring in communications.

Myles said she uses a ‘News Break’ App that offers several news sources.

“And then I watch CNN, I watch Fox, I watch them all — just so I can hear every side and then kind of figure out what’s real — what’s not,” explained Myles

Research shows there’s a growing perception that even local news is biased, an agenda amplified by former President Trump.

“These are illegitimate sources of news,” declared Susan Banks.

Eileen Buckley Susan Banks, a long-time journalist in Buffalo & former Eyewitness News anchor, during Zoom interview.

Banks was a long-time journalist in Buffalo. She is also a former 7 Eyewitness News anchor.

Banks said a lot of people are “angry and afraid”, feeding into unreliable sources for news and information.

“Certainly, we saw that on January 6 that a lot of people were grossly misinformed — that had a terrible — terribly skewed view of what had happened with our election,” responded Banks.

Banks said in looking for balanced and unbiased news, search for credible sources and not what someone is Tweeting out or posting on Facebook.

Eileen Buckley Susan Banks, former Eyewitness News anchor, during a Zoom interview.

“It’s a little scary — the fact that you see something on Twitter or Facebook — for heaven sake — it’s not necessary true,” described Banks.

“When I see something — that’s really cool — I should check that first,” Tripp said.

“And they go through the media and go through sources and then start seeing some of the disinformation out there and weighing sources,” suggested Meyer.

1 in 5 students at Hamilton public schools bullied on a regular basis, review finds

img ]

The bullying prevention and intervention panel that was established following the stabbing death of a Hamilton high school student in October 2019 has released its findings.

The final report from the Safe Schools panel heard from about 10,000 people who shared their experiences with bullying across the Hamilton-Wentworth District School Board (HWDSB) system.

It was the fatal stabbing of Devan Selvey outside Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School on Oct. 7, 2019, that prompted the public board to call for the independent review, which was conducted by Dr. Jean Clinton, Dr. Gary Warner, and Brenda Flaherty.

After surveying and holding public engagement sessions with the community, the panelists compiled their findings in the 102-page report, which includes 11 recommendations that the board should implement in order to improve how it handles bullying incidents.

Story continues below advertisement

59.8 per cent of students who were surveyed for the review said they had been bullied in the year prior to the pandemic, and 19.7 per cent reported that they were bullied on a regular basis.

Those figures are higher than the national average in 2017, when just over 30 per cent of Canadian students reported being bullied at least once by their peers and between 7 to 10 per cent said they were bullied on a regular basis.

Dr. Clinton said the panel’s findings are likely higher because it’s the most up-to-date survey that has been conducted and said newer surveys in other school boards would likely show similar spikes in bullying, as the stresses in society have increased over the past few years.

Of those who reported being bullied, the majority of students belonged to a marginalized group — including students who are LGBTQ2, as well as students who were bullied because of their race or ethnicity, newcomer status, disability, religion, or Indigenous identity.

“My child came home crying and angry because someone had called him the ‘N word’ and nothing had been done,” said one parent who was quoted in the report. “I wasn’t called or contacted. They want parents to be partners but we’re not treated that way.”

Story continues below advertisement

Specific examples of bullying cited in the report included physical violence, sexual assault, threats, and use of weapons, as well as bullying rooted in racism, homophobia, and transphobia.

“My daughter in Grade 1 has a learning disability,” said another parent, whose child’s experiences were highlighted in the report.

“She was bullied and choked at lunch. I wasn’t told. The same kid has special needs, brought a fake gun to school and threatened my daughter. I was never told. My daughter had to tell me about it. She hated herself. (The) child was kicking her, knocked her off [her] chair and she banged her head. I wasn’t told.”

Dr. Clinton said a lack of communication and inconsistency when it came to reporting bullying was a common theme.

“Phrases like ‘a lack of action’, ‘poor follow-through’ were used very frequently during the consultations,” said Dr. Clinton.

“We heard and felt people’s frustration. We heard from students, everyone, that there’s a lack of real clarity, transparency, and accountability when it comes to bullying, reporting, and response in schools.”

Parents and students who took part in the consultations described the environment in Hamilton public schools as having a “culture of fear” that normalized bullying and a “snitches get stitches” mentality that prevented both students and teachers from reporting experiences.

Story continues below advertisement

Read more: Preliminary hearing begins for teen accused of fatally stabbing Devan Selvey

The panelist issued eleven recommendations as part of the report, including:

Increase student ownership and seek out and listen to student perspectives Involve parents, guardians, and caregivers in bullying prevention and response in meaningful ways Develop multi-tiered supports and programming Support schools so they can establish their own bullying prevention and intervention plans Examine special education practices from a student-centred learning perspective Review policies and procedures from equity, anti-racism and antioppression perspectives Ensure policies and procedures are followed consistently Set the foundation for a culture of caring Strengthen the leadership skills needed for culture change Work with a wide range of community partners Ask the Ministry of Education for support

Manny Figueiredo, director of education for the HWDSB, said the board will prioritize acting on those recommendations, despite the pandemic and its impact on whether or not students are learning virtually or in-person.

“To me, it’s a critical time to engage, and the level of engagement with our parents and students will be critical,” said Figueiredo. “And I’m sure it’ll vary, depending what mode we might be in. But to pause … until we return to normalcy is not acceptable at this point in time.”

The board will be discussing the report’s findings during its meeting on Monday evening and is expected to approve the report, as well as its recommendations.

Story continues below advertisement

2:29 Hamilton-Wentworth district school board votes for panel on bullying intervention Hamilton-Wentworth district school board votes for panel on bullying intervention – Oct 28, 2019

Academic excellence, development of essential life skills required for success’

img ]

In these politically volatile times, should students be insulated from political upheavals? How do you inform/ educate them about the changing scenarios?

The current times are extremely exciting with the current pandemic having ushered in the most challenging times for our society and government. Naturally, such challenges in the society bring in lots of dynamism on the political front as all political entities try to gain advantage from the current scenario. The proliferation of social media over the last decade has also ushered in a monumental challenge of fake news. Thus, it becomes pertinent for all, including students, to be aware of the happenings across the country, while also guarding yourself against fake news. Established newspapers, magazines and TV news channels come across as trusted sources of information.

How do you motivate students to be ‘Green Citizens’?

Environmental sustenance is truly the need of the hour for the world. Growth and development have to go hand in hand with maintaining a healthy environment, not at the cost of it. So students have to be sensitised about the related issues to ensure that they lead by examples and lead from the front as future leaders of the society. Besides organising events like Van Mahotsava and celebrating Earth Day, we integrate environmental consciousness as part of our integrated curriculum. This goes a long way in understanding the aspect of environmental sustenance holistically and nurturing “Green Citizens’

PM Narendra Modi, in his annual Pariksha Pe Charcha speech, repeatedly motivates students by saying that they shouldn’t just strive for high marks. Do you say the same to your students?

I very strongly believe that the rapidly evolving world makes it important for us to groom our students into lifelong learners. Providing students with a conducive, fun-filled learning environment and fostering inquisitiveness are the cornerstones of our curriculum and pedagogy which inculcates a love for learning in the students at our school. Besides academic excellence, nurturing life skills and soft skills remain a key focus area for us. I encourage students to strive for academic excellence and at the same time I also focus on development of essential life skills that are quintessential for success

Pedagogy is changing by leaps and bounds every year. How do you keep pace with it?

Providing students with an environment that inculcates the love for learning being our key feature, we have a curriculum that promotes all-round development in kids. We take great pride in our latest technology driven curriculum, experiential learning, and child-centric teaching strategies. Here I must share that we have already been following all the key aspects of the National Education Policy 2020. We always strive to refine our pedagogy and elevate it to the next level. Keeping abreast with the latest technology, actively participating in seminars and other similar activities and a time-tested methodology of institutionalised teacher training are a few ways we keep pace with changing pedagogical trends.

How do you motivate students to take up sports as it is a vital part of school education these days?

Sports and games have always been extremely important for the holistic development of students. Besides physical development, sports play a critical role in fostering virtues like striving for excellence, giving in one’s best even in adverse situations, inculcating a ‘never give up’ attitude, learning to take defeats in your stride and bouncing back with an indomitable will. Besides providing an exposure to varied kinds of sports and physical activities, I regularly talk to students about the stories of those sportsmen who have come up from very humble backgrounds and made it big. It really helps to have students in my school who have excelled in various international and national sports competitions. They serve as live, close-up examples for their peers to emulate!

Where do you see your students and your school 10 years from now?

I foresee them outshining their peers in their chosen fields and contributing to the development of the society as well as our nation. Ours is a progressive school with all our basics being correct, an extremely focused and dedicated faculty and a growth mind-set. I am sanguine that our school will grow from strength to strength and emerge as the most sought-after school of Delhi NCR.

Your profession has many challenges. What, in your opinion, is the toughest challenge?

The profession of mentoring students remains a challenging one given that the stakeholders have varying and ever-evolving expectations. Add to that changes in guidelines from the regulatory bodies, we sure have a tough task at hand. However, I believe that with a solid, passionate and dedicated team working cohesively with a positive attitude, all challenges are conquerable. My team has been my biggest source of strength and I am confident that we can counter all challenges.

Would you inspire your own children to take up this profession?

I very strongly believe that there is no greater privilege than grooming the next generation. Teaching remains an extremely noble and satisfying profession. I would definitely be happy if my own children decide to make a mark for themselves in the field of education.

Are you still in touch with your teachers?

Yes, I am in touch with some of my school teachers who have inspired me to strive for my dreams and do well in what I believe in. It’s a blessing to remain connected with one’s mentors

Three inspiring words for your students?

Believe, Aspire and Achieve!

Alpana Baveja, Principal, Manav Rachna International School, Sector-51, Gurugram