By Avery Stankus– Editor-in-Chief
Do you know what’s going on around the world? What are the most common symptoms of the virus? What precautions should you take? Whether the news is on all day while working from home or notifications come in when there’s an update, chances are most people know the answers to these COVID-19—related questions. But here’s a question: Where are you getting your news? While being educated on all things coronavirus is important, it may also be worth looking at how you’re consuming the media.
There is so much information online and it’s overwhelming to say the least, but in a time when this information on the global pandemic determines where the future is headed for the following month, week, or even day, it’s in your best interest to have a healthy media diet.
Knowing fake news from real news
Fake news can spread just as quickly as the virus itself. If there’s one thing you can do in this period of uncertainty, it’s to know what is actually going on. From new symptoms to cures, there’s plenty of information out there. Knowing the difference between what to trust and what are just rumors will not only keep you properly informed on the world around you, but will decrease panic revolving around the virus. Getting your news from reliable sources such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), or the National Institutes of Health (NIH) will ensure accuracy and quality.
Out of convenience, maybe the first article you see on your Facebook feed is the first bit of information you get for the day. Before reading to the end, scan the article to check for the sources, statistics and the date of publishing. As COVID-19 news changes day to day, so do the statistics and precautions. Checking the time stamp can ensure this information is up to date. Controlling the news you engage with helps you become more media literate.
Being media literate includes when to turn it off. As this virus continues to take over the media, it’s easy to fall into information overload. While staying informed is crucial during this time, you also don’t want to go into the state of automaticity where you’re faced with information fatigue. The avoidance of all information around you is almost as harmful as the virus. Setting a time to go offline will benefit your overall media diet.
In this time, having a healthy media diet is just as important as your healthy hygiene routine