On February 17th and 18th, there was a two-day conference for youth who are involved in journalism programs throughout the state. The conference had workshops which were lead by professionals from the field, as well as key-note speakers that shared their wisdom about journalism. Young people from all over California came to Oakland for this event, and this video features a taste of how their programs are run.
The term “fake news” has become more recognized than ever before with misinformation spreading on social media networks like Facebook, President Trump’s incessant false accusations and claims, and late reports of Russian hackers influencing the 2016 election. During December 2016, an online survey concluded that approximately 55% of 1,605 respondents recognized that they have consumed fake news more than once. Many American citizens have decided to take responsibility for their own consumption of information to combat the spread of fake news.
Many people are looking for plausible methods to combating fake news in their lives. The Project for an Informed Electorate at California State University, Sacramento has even created a guide to help people spot it:
1. Check the source. Have you heard of it? Is it referenced by other credible sources? Is there an author listed?
2. Is it a joke? If it’s too wacky, it may be satire.
3. Do some detective work. Do they reference reputable institutions or varying viewpoints? Do they interview multiple sources?
4. Consult the experts: Politifact.com, FactCheck.org, and Snopes.com.
5. Put yourself in their shoes. If the article was saying the same thing about your side, would it sound ridiculous?
6. Check your biases. Is the article objective? Is the content trying to evoke emotion?
Sometimes, people will actively search for evidence to confirm their own beliefs or theories, otherwise known as confirmation bias. This practice of interpreting evidence has been labeled as dangerous because it ruins constructive communication between people of opposing views.
“I do fear the encapsulation of options and ideas within social media,” said Lilia Luciano, an ABC10 Investigative Reporter, at a Sacramento Central Library panel discussion about fake news. “When we surround ourselves with like-minded people or people who share the same opinion, that reinforces the confirmation bias, reinforces our ideas.”
Considering the vast amount of information in social media and on the Internet and without any knowledge or training, many wonder how young adults or children will combat fake news. According to Erin McNeill, founder and president of Media Literacy Now (MLN), media literacy is a viable solution. According to MLN, media literacy is the ability to think critically about media messages as well as to create messages using media. Many people believe teaching media literacy to young people is necessary because kids actually don’t have the adequate knowledge or skills to do so. In November 2016, Stanford researchers reported that middle school, high school, and college level students had difficulty judging the credibility of information online. According to the National Association for Media Literacy Education, an organization dedicated to expanding media education, media literacy skills can help youth:
1. Develop critical thinking skills.
2. Understand how media messages shape our culture and society.
3. Identify target marketing strategies.
4. Recognize what the media maker wants us to believe or do.
5. Name the techniques of persuasion used.
6. Recognize bias, spin, misinformation, and lies.
7. Discover the parts of the story that are not being told.
8. Evaluate media messages based on our own experiences, skills, beliefs, and values.
9. Create and distribute our own media messages.
10. Advocate for a changed media system.
Fake news and possibly the lack of media literacy played a role in the 2016 election and are present in our form of politics today but many people are now aware of this and are creating solutions to combat it.
On Saturday, July 29th, an event called “It’s Our Time” is being hosted by the Sacramento Community Reinvestment Coalition. This event is a forum focused on criminal justice to community reinvestment. This event is located at the Fruitridge Community Center At 4625 44th Street in Sacramento.
This event is aimed to raise a discussion and teach the affects that the criminal justice system has on the budget of Sacramento County. People can come and share personal experiences and ideas for investments that can help people and keep them safe.
The “It’s Our Time” forum is absolutely free with lunch provided. Reentry is allowed and community resource tables are available. The Sacramento Community Reinvestment Coalition is a group of people that are aiming to in helping Sacramento County in transforming the criminal justice system to reduce incarceration.
They hope that the county will invest more in reentry, treatment, rehabilitation, as well as many other critical services for the community of Sacramento. Members of the coalition include the Anti-Recidivism Coalition, Self Awareness and Recovery, Sacramento Area Congregations Together, and the ACCE.
This event starts at 10:00 am on the 29th of July and ends at 2:00 PM that afternoon. For more information on this event and it’s whereabouts click here.
Between May 6th and 8th, Sacramento was once again was the host of the #freeourdreams Youth Conference. Formerly known as Sisters and Brothers at the Capitol, the event’s name was changed to Free Our Dreams and has become an annual event which is organized by PolicyLink and Movement Strategy Center. Over 250 youth stormed upon the California State Capitol to hold over 100 legislative visits with lawmakers. Topics of interest for discussion included issues about health, safety, and the future success of young people.
The overall purpose of Free Our Dreams is to make sure that the power of the youth voice is one that is strong and to use that power to help change and advance policies and narratives that affect the neighborhoods of the youth by organizing a statewide effort at the State Capitol.
Youth were transported by bus from cities all over California from places like Bakersfield, San Diego, Stockton, Los Angeles and more. Participants were asked to spread the word and to hashtag #freeourdreams on social media accounts. They went to workshops to learn more about the planned march, social injustices and how they can help to overcome them. They took part in legislative training and preparation for their visits At the end of the first full day of events was a “Block Party” where the participants made their own signs for the march and rally, took advantage of a photo booth and got involved in other art and craft activities.
May 8th was the day that the participants were preparing for. The youth boarded their buses and traveled to the capitol with their signs and banners, displaying #freeourdreams. Participants lined up and began to march around the capitol before heading to the Sacramento California Endowment office where they would finish by hearing speeches from senators and youth participants. From there, the legislative visits began. Youth from Bakersfield-based South Kern Sol spoke on SB 68, a senate bill that extends in-state tuition for undocumented students at CSUs and community colleges. They met Ellen Cesaretti, a representative for Assemblymember Dante Acosta. They also spoke about SB 607 which aims to end suspensions for willful defiance.
“At first I felt really thrilled and then I became nervous,” said Jocelyn Cuevas, a participant with South Kern Sol. “I knew I had to be outside my shell.”
After a long weekend of preparation and work, the legislative visits concluded and the participants returned home in their buses. For many participants, the Free Our Dreams event was a fun and unique experience.
“I was sad when it was done,” said Nichole Castillo, a youth participant with Mid-City CAN. “It was a really great and fun opportunity. I got to meet and bond with other sites. I wasn’t ready to go back home. Not yet.”
Life is a journey. My time at Access Local taught me many things but most important of all, it shows me ways to improve my life at every corner.
The young people will eventually inherit the politics of the world. According to the National Public Radio, the turnout rate of “Millennial” voters is among the lowest of all the current generations at only forty-six percent. In case you didn’t know, Millennials are young people currently between the age of twenty-two and thirty-five. To some, there appears to be a lack of confidence in the government from the young people. In fact, according to Harvard University, young people’s trust in the political process is now historically low.
One explanation for all of this could be that there is a lack of engagement in the political process when the person is a teenager. Many teens in the Sacramento City Unified School District do not know that the district is getting a new superintendent. While this could affect their life greatly, many do not know anything about it. Many do not know who the current superintendent is nor do they know the fact that the current superintendent, Jose Banda, stands to receive extra retirement money by spending time just a short amount of time here at SCUSD.
This lack of political engagement in local politics could be one of the reasons why young people are not engaged in politic as they should be. There were efforts in trying to get the youth of Sacramento to engage in the politics of the Sacramento school system. The Student Advisory Council of SCUSD held a youth town hall meeting for discussion of the selection of the new superintendent. Despite a total student turnout of less than thirty, there was a discussion between young people of how school politics should run.
“I want to make sure all that all this information will be involved in the interviewing process [for the new superintendent],” said Natalie Rosas, Student Board Member of SCUSD during a student town hall meeting. According to the Constitution, “We the people” are the one who grants the government their power. However, what happens when the people do not participate in their government?
This is an overview of the Youth Action Meeting that was held on March 23rd. The young people of Sacramento are encouraged to come to these meetings, and express their thoughts on how collaborative projects between adults and youth can improve.
There are thousands and thousands of students within the Sacramento Unified School District. Thousand of voice calling for different things- but how are they make sure they being heard?