News Literacy and Fact-Checking

Ms Rashmi Verma


Sr. Assistant Professor ( Mass Communication )
Central University

Ranchi

Ms. Rashmi Verma is currently working as Sr. Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at the Central University of Jharkhand, Ranchi. She is actively engaged in teaching, training, and research for more than one decade. Before joining academics, she was associated with news media in Delhi. Mrs. Verma has many cover stories to her credit, she also carried out regular articles and features for various print publications. She has presented programs on All India Radio, Delhi, and has undergone professional training with some print/electronic media houses. She has conducted many outreach programs for the students and has coordinated field/industry visits. She has been actively engaged in conducting special lectures, presented papers at conferences, and written academic chapters. Recently as a Google News Initiative India Training Network trainer and as a FactShala trainer, she has conducted various online/in-person training and workshops for media teachers, students, NGO’s, Artisans, Theatre artists, members of Self Help Groups, and other community activists on ‘News and Information Literacy’.


Press Release

Public Relations Society of India

 Day 9 of PR – Mass Communication Orientation Programme for Students with

Dr. Rashmi Verma (Central University, Ranchi) on 9th October, 2021

New Delhi

9th October 2021

Day nine of the 15 Day PR – Mass Communication Orientation was held on Facebook and YouTube Live. Dr. Rashmi Verma was the guest speaker for the ninth session of this academic initiative by PRSI. Dr. Verma is a Sr. Assistant Professor of Mass Communication at the Central University of Ranchi, Jharkhand. In her lecture on ‘News Literacy and Fact Checking,’ she discussed how Media and Information Literacy is a critical skill that needs to be developed. It is the ability to access, analyse, evaluate and create media messages and also how it enables us to interpret, understand and respond to the information received from the diversified media platforms. Information literacy talks about the ethical use of information; not just the accessibility but also the accuracy of the information.

Dr. Verma also mentioned the pioneering efforts and remarkable initiatives taken by UNESCO in the direction of media literacy, by connecting media and information literacy with 16 Sustainable Development Goals. She talked about why making sense of the news is important as a broadcaster as well as a consumer of the news, especially in today’s technology-driven and social media age where dissemination of incorrect information is highly probable. Therefore, news literacy is important because it impacts our lives directly. She then also spoke about the skills developing part which is fact-checking to determine the truthfulness and accuracy of any information provided which can influence the masses. Fact-checkers are being appointed by various news organizations as well as independent websites for the purpose of regulating truth and source verification.

Dr. Rashmi Verma says that our major intake of information should come from authentic, verified, and traditional news sources. She also talked about the digital footprint that is a very crucial topic in this day and age for people to become responsible media users. The lecture was well presented and stimulating with current examples from around the country.


Summary of the Presentation

Dear Sir/Madams,

Initiating her lecture of PRSI-9th Orientation program of Mass Communication for Students on the topic- ‘News Literacy and Fact Checking’ Dr. Rashmi Verma of Central University, Ranchi, explained how Media and Information Literacy is a critical skill that needs to be developed, especially in a country like India where information is always abundant and constant.

It was in 2005 when the National curriculum framework was brought Media Literacy into the classroom, she said.

Then what exactly is the meaning and role of the Media Industry? According to her, It is the ability to ACCESS, ANALYSE, EVALUATE & CREATE media messages.
It enables us to INTERPRET, UNDERSTAND and RESPOND to the information received from the diversified media platforms.

Media outreach can be in the shape of an editorial, a feature, and an article, and Print and Electronic Media being promotional platforms, she mentioned.

“News Literacy is the critical thinking skills for analysing and judging the reliability of newsand information, differentiating among facts, opinions and assertions we consume, create and distribute on multiple media outlets”.
Information literacy talks about the ethical value and use of information; not just the accessibility but also the accuracy of the information because there is always a motive behind the news we receive, as it can be Psychological, Ideological, and Political motives.
So, the emphasis is both on the Receiver as well as the Senders, she pointed out.

Dr. Rashmi Verma mentioned that it’s UNESCO that made the pioneering efforts and remarkable initiatives in the direction of media literacy, by connecting media and information literacy with 16 Sustainable Development Goals.

She talked about ‘why making Sense of the News’ is important as a broadcaster as well as a consumer of the news, especially in today’s technology-driven and social media age where dissemination of incorrect information is highly probable.
She categorised mainly into 6 parts viz Power of Media-where people believe the news as truth; Battle of Speed, not Accuracy – where there is always a kind of battle to receive quick information; Fictions over Facts – as there is a scope for incorrect & false information since readers would like to know more about the issue, such as Carona about which a lot no. of stories and narrations emanated; Opinion’s loaded with Biases – as it is loaded with all kinds of biases like regional, colour, etc; New Technology- as it is an ever-changing phenomenon and finally as Other ‘Motives’ – what is the particular motive of news is, therefore, news literacy is important because it impacts our lives directly.

The power of media is, therefore, enormous and its messages can greatly influence the masses within no time. Especially in the contemporary information ecosystem where Information is flowing to us 24×7 from diversified media platforms. It has become potent to identify and understand these media messages in a more critical way. News literacy and fact-checking empowers us to adopt this critical ability.

Dr. Rashmi Verma in her talk made a very important reference to the skills developing part which is fact-checking to determine the truthfulness and accuracy of any information provided which can influence the masses. Therefore, it became a compulsion to check the source, authenticity, value of the content, the truthfulness of news. For this purpose, Fact-checkers are being appointed by various news organizations as well as independent websites for the purpose of regulating truth and source verification.

Dr. Rashmi Verma says that our major intake of information should come from authentic, verified, and traditional news sources. She also talked about the digital footprint that is a very crucial topic in this day and age for people to become responsible media users.

“News Accuracy is the need of the hour,” says Dr. Rashmi Verma while ending her speech.

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