Indianapolis News and HeadlinesIndianapolis Local NewsNews Literacy Project


News Literacy Week: Butler University students learn skills to identify accurate media

butler ccom live truck
Butler University CCom Live Truck
Posted at 6:00 AM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-27 12:10:52-05

INDIANAPOLIS — Misinformation is everywhere and understanding how media is made helps us sift through fact from fiction.

This is the third year WRTV, along with our parent company E.W. Scripps, has partnered with the News Literacy Project.

Butler University's communications department has a new tool that teaches future journalists how to do the job accurately with a hands-on experience.

Students can step into the “C-Com Live truck.” It’s a new mobile production trailer to help them put the lessons they learn in the classroom into practice outside. It has all the equipment these Bulldogs need to produce a variety of live, multi-camera events.

Most importantly, it’s an opportunity for hands-on learning to build upon what students like Maeve Van Etten learn about news judgment and identifying misinformation.

“I’ll get to use this in class probably at least ten times and so that’s a really awesome opportunity,” Van Etten said. "(We learn) not only how to use social media as a company, but also how to identify the misinformation on social media."

Butler’s interim dean for the College of Communications, Dr. Margaretha Geertsema-Sligh, said this new asset helps the students practice what they preach with critical thinking and understanding how content is made.

“If you have been behind the camera and you have produced something, you know how something gets constructed and that helps you to better understand how to view it as a viewer,” Geertsema-Sligh said.

It’s a different perspective that not everyone gets to see that's rooted in questions. Lee Farquhar shares that message to his students as the Director of the School of Journalism and Creative Media.

“Who’s telling this story, what might be their motivation, what sources are they using?” Farquhar said.

All students in the department must take a media literacy course. Now, this new $200,000 truck ingrains those lessons in the student’s minds.

Senior Andrew Mild said after learning what he and his peers have at Butler, they now have the skills to not only create content but verify it’s accurate.

“I’m a hands-on learner, so this production truck is really going to help us improve. Having the right info goes a long way nowadays,” Mild said.

Chandler Hart said the truck puts some split-second editorial decisions in their hands as they get ready to enter a hands-on industry.

In a day and age with misinformation floating around, these communications students hope to make a difference in media with fairness and accuracy in all aspects of the industry.

“Like, oh man, that could be me one day,” Hart said.

Students will get to use the new truck beginning in February.