By Lindsey Wilson
This past December, I completed my degree in public relations and journalism at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, ending 3.5 of the best years I could ask for. At GU, I was able to watch one of the best men’s basketball teams in the country in person, write for the student-run newspaper and make friends from all corners of the country. The classes I took set me up for success professionally and personally, most notably, one of my final courses I took while at GU, Media and Democracy.
For our final paper of the year, we were asked to write a 500-word research paper on a topic we covered in class over the course of the semester. One of the great things about being in a 400-level college course is the sense of freedom, and our paper had no guidelines, besides a 500-word minimum and personal research on the chosen topic.
In this class we learned about all of the ins-and-outs of media and democracy, including extensive lectures on hate speech, media funding and media literacy. While I found all of these topics extremely important to learn about, something about media literacy stuck out to me. I have seen so many of my friends and family fall for misinformation spread online in a number of ways, political and nonpolitical. The thesis of my final paper of my undergraduate degree was I don’t think that there can be any change to the way things are going until there are required units in high school English classes discussing the topic of media literacy. Many of the struggles that come along with media literacy I found through my research can be solved by teaching the topic from a young age.
The traditional way of finding “