Dr. Cannon speaks at Union County Library on how to discern facts from fake news

Leah Joyner, Staff Writer

Monroe, N.C.– Community members in Union County may have felt like they had gone back to college when they attended a program taught by Dr. Keith Cannon, the Chair and Professor of Journalism at Wingate University in the Communications Department.

He spoke on Tuesday night at the Union County Monroe Public Library with the subject on news media being fact or fake and how to discern the truth.

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Photo Credit: Leah Joyner

Cannon decided to title his talk “Today’s News: Fake, Fair, and Balanced… or Something Else Entirely” and focused on the news media and the depth of reporting. Similar to his teaching style, Cannon encouraged audience participation in his lecture. By engaging the attendees in open discussion, he was able to tailor his answers to them and help them understand his views and knowledge on the subject matter.

With over 40 years of journalism experience, he is a qualified teacher to speak about fake news and the news media in general. In addition to teaching about the history of news media, Cannon talked about the hot button topics like discerning propaganda in the media and how to fact check news sources. Cannon listed websites like Politifact and FactCheck.org to help individuals do their own research.

If some people are skeptical about fact-checking sites that they consider untrustworthy, Cannon suggested they can do their own research by going straight to the primary source. He continued to share a fake story about a Supreme Court decision that was posted on social media that people couldn’t actually find on the Supreme Court website.

“Something that I tell my students all the time is I’m not here to tell you what to think…the basic thing I am telling you is to test it for yourself,” said Cannon.

Cannon motivated the audience that to have journalistic standards, one must use objectivity, strive for accuracy, be thorough in their research, and write well. He also encouraged young professionals that now is a good time to become entrepreneurs in this market.

Since 1994, Cannon has been a Wingate faculty and has been a department chair since 2010. He is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists and was a past president of the Charlotte Pro chapter of SPJ. He is very involved on social media where people can follow him at @KeithCannon on Twitter and search Keith Cannon on Facebook.
To learn more about the types of programs the Union County Public Library offers the community, visit http://www.co.union.nc.us/departments/library.

Edited by: Brea Childs

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