PULASKI (NBC 26) — The high school newspaper is a place where many journalists get their start. In a day and age where there’s often mistrust towards news media, the student journalists at Pulaski High School say news literacy is more important now than ever.
The school is home to one of the longest student-run newspapers in the country, Pulaski News, which dates all the way back to 1942. The school's newspaper class is led by professionals who have experience working in the news industry and part of what has made Pulaski News so successful is its credibility with readers.
Students say that writing for Pulaski News has helped them become more confident, outgoing, and most importantly, it's taught them the responsibility that journalists have to news consumers.
“News literacy is really important to me as a journalist because it’s my job to bring the news to the people of Pulaski and to all of our subscribers," said senior Meghan Morgan. "I have to do it accurately, I have to make sure I have the correct news, I have to make sure that I’m not portraying someone in a negative light or in a biased way.”
In an age where misinformation is easily spread through social media, the student writers at Pulaski News have learned how to find credible information they can trust.
“Always fact check, if you see a site on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter that someone re-shared, fact check it before re-sharing it," Morgan said."That is very important. It’s one of the number one ways that misinformation gets spread."
“You’ve got to look for a credible publisher. If you do background research on them that’s always good," said sophomore Dahlia Maroszek. "If they’re someone who’s going to own up to ‘oh we accidentally reported on this, this is what it is now’ that’s always super important when finding someone credible.”
At a time filled with political polarization, the students also recognize the importance of being accurate in their reporting.
“I have written about a few controversial political subjects throughout my career," Morgan said. "I think there’s definitely been some push back by some people or just some questioning of what I’ve written but I’ve always made sure that before I send it off that it’s fact-checked with multiple different sites.”
Regardless of whether the students plan to pursue journalism in the future, they say learning how to be a smart news consumer is something they’ll always take with them.
“News literacy is very important because that’s stuff that you’re going to see all throughout your life," Maroszek said. "It’s going to be a big part of your decision making, making informed choices towards who you choose to represent, what politicians you might vote for.”
“I’ve learned not only how to be a good writer and how to find the correct information and how to divide the bad facts from the good facts, but I’ve learned how to look at the full picture and learned how to see the full picture from somebody else’s eyes," Morgan said.