Journalism 1 students learn to decipher fake news with new software

Angel Rivera

Journalism 1 students now have the opportunity to participate in an online News Literacy Program known as Checkology.

Checkology is a computer-based program where students learn different methods of identifying fake news from real news, checking sources and receive an in-depth explanation of some of the basic principles of journalism.

“Ultimately, Checkology is a website that teaches you how to read news and tell apart fake news from a scam,” freshman Marjina Haque said. “Also, it gives you tips on how to conduct interviews and smaller lessons like that.”

This program was founded by Alan Miller in 2009. Miller, a former journalist for the Los Angeles Times, wanted to design a program to show students nationwide a journalist’s expertise and experience.

“We want to give students a greater appreciation for the 1st Amendment and greater ability to determine what is credible in terms of what they consume,” Miller said. “We hope that they will become more interested in being engaged with journalism and communicating with journalists.”

Additionally, he wanted to create a program which could show students how to become better journalists and writers themselves. The program provides tips on how students can pay attention to their surroundings.

“It (Checkology) helps us understand what’s going on in the media today,” freshman Katharina Hannah said. “It also gives us accurate information and informs us on how to know if a website is unreliable.”

This module is unlike a typical journalism 1 class. It provides videos and interactive activities online that presents an intriguing approach to journalism while still being informative. Instead of doing class work, students are able to participate in online interactives and activities that propose different variations of learning a topic.

“I like Checkology because some people get bored in a regular classroom but this is on a computer so it’s more interactive and interesting,” freshman Cuyler Huffman said.

With the aid of this program, students are able to discern wrong information from the media much easier while learning about the journalism profession.

“Now when I go on a website, I can tell whether or not the information is fake based on the strategies I’ve learned on Checkology,” Haque said. “It has definitely made recognizing incorrect information much easier.”

Currently, Checkology is used by 400,040 students and 3,600 educators nationwide. Miller plans to expand the program more in the coming years.

“We hope that those who go through our program will become better students today and be better informed and engaged individuals tomorrow,” Miller said.