Alisyn Camerota: How to teach kids what real news is

( CNN) Imagine being a kid today: straying through the Wild West of media where professional journalists, citizen reporters, user-generated content and fake news all coexist online. The information scenery has exploded exponentially as kids try to have their news needs met by sources like Reddit and Hacker News , not to mention micro-targeted websites, blogs and podcasts.

To find out, I went to the Young Women’s Leadership School, an all-girls public school in Queens, New York. There, I had a chance to ask 5th, 6th and 7th graders about their news sources. These students were starting the school’s first newspaper, so they were the perfect focus group. I dove right in, guessing I’d cleverly start with social media. Turns out, I had some catching up to do.

“Where do you all get your news? ” I asked. “Show of hands for Twitter.”

What’s your first reaction to something you’re reading, watching or hearing: Are you outraged? Excited? Curious? Misinformation pushers know that emotional appeals can overwhelm rational think. Take a close look at the source( news outlet, blog, video producer, etc ). Does it have an “About Us” page( or something similar) that explains who runs the site? Is there a disclaimer on the site noting that everything on it is satire or fiction? Is there something odd about the URL? Fake news sites may use URLs that are similar to real ones — but somewhat off.

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