Identify and explain the steps that one must take to be a critical consumer of the news, and describe a time where you failed to be a critical consumer of the news.
Critical Consumer of the News
There are a number steps that one should take in order to be a critical consumer of news. As Paul & Elder (2006) notes, the first step involves getting a basic understanding of the main points underlying the “news story construction” (17). It is important to note that the focus of the media outlets in conveying news to audiences is to make profits. The media outlets’ key point is not to educate audiences, but to sell news. The media outlets present stories to the audience in a manner that sustains and engages their interests. In order to achieve this, media outlets shape news to appeal to the audiences’ beliefs, prejudices, values or worldview. The second steps involves understanding the main agenda of the news, and then engaging in deconstruction and reconstruction of the news items while considering the various biases that one may harbor (Paul & Elder, 2006). This involves learning to analyze news or stories from a multifaceted dimension. The audience should be able to think about the stories as if they were told from other different points of view.
To become a critical consumer of news, one is required to examine multiple sources both in the mainstream and outside the mainstream media (Paul & Elder, 2006). This involves having the ability to redefine issues. It is also important to assess the underlying assumptions presented in the story. The last step is develop the ability to single out stories that lack credibility. An individual can identify such stories by analyzing whether there are vested interests related to the stories. An example of a time when I failed to be a critical consumer of news is when I read a story on social media regarding Donald Trump and took it as the truth. I later learnt that the story was maliciously aimed at spoiling his image.
Paul, R., & Elder, L. (2006). The thinker’s guide for conscientious citizens on how to detect media bias & propaganda in national and world news. Dillon Beach, CA: Foundation for Critical Thinking.