How To Tell real news From Misinformation

In today’s world being able to tell the difference between real news and misinformation is difficult at best. The words ‘media’ and ‘news’ are used interchangeably and widely misunderstood in America today. What do the words media and news really refer to? How can the average person tell the difference between good information and misinformation? If these are questions you’d like answers to you’ll definitely want to listen to episode 25! If reading is more your style, keep scrolling for the full transcript of the conversation.

Episode 25!

On March 31st, 2020 I jumped into a grand experiment to see if a podcast was something that caregivers and families would enjoy. As with everything we do at Pro-Ad Media, the aim of Sage Aging is to connect older adults and their families with good information and resources that will make life a little easier. Typically those topics are issues of aging or caregiving, but this week I took a little detour to cover a topic that is important to every single human. Media. Now that’s a word that inspires a lot of emotion and a wide range of reactions from Americans these days. How do you tell the difference between good information and misinformation? Who is the media? And what about social media? How do I navigate that space without becoming part of the spread of misinformation?

My guest

My guest for this episode is Trinity Laurino of Lkldnow. LkldNow is a nonprofit, locally driven news organization whose mission is to educate community members and cultivates civic engagement by reporting and curating local news and community information in an accessible user-friendly digital format. Trinity’s resume includes work at PBS, National Geographic, the BBC’s Motion Gallery, CNN, and currently LkldNow. She serves as LkldNow’s Community Engagement Director charged with growing awareness of the critical role local journalism plays in the civic health of a community and the urgent need to ensure the future of local news and its accessibility.

Is it ‘Real News” or misinformation?

As I mentioned earlier, in today’s world being able to tell the difference between real news and misinformation is difficult at best. Here are a few key things to look for that will help to determine if a piece of information can be trusted:

  • Check the date of the article/post
  • Look for a byline – byline should be from an actual human
  • Make sure all the links in the article work if viewing something online
  • Get multiple sources – open a separate browser and do a Google search on the topic of the article. If nobody else is talking about it you should be skeptical. Consuming multiple versions of a story will help to get rid of skewed information
Social Media

About 60% of Americans rely on social media as their primary source of news. That’s a little scary, don’t you think? We all know how much misinformation is spread on social media platforms, so here are a few things you can do to keep from being a part of the spread:

  • Never copy and paste or share a post from an anonymous source
  • Don’t share memes or take quizzes- by doing so, you’re self-selecting into an audience whose likes and dislikes can be retargeted to by other entities, including foreign actors with bad intentions. If you do share a meme, make sure you know where it originated
  • Create your own content – with all of the free apps available today this is easier than ever and you will know that you are not going to be targeted
  • Coupons and Deals – If it looks too good to be true it probably is! The same rules as above apply here. Know the source, verify that all links work, and know the original source before sharing. If the image is blurry, keep on scrolling!
Link & Resources we mentioned
Next Week

When it comes to aging and end of life, Hospice is a term you will hear a lot about. Myths concerning hospice are abundant, so we will break it down for you next week with the help of Andrew Molosky of Chapters Health System.

Thanks for listening!

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Transcript
Closed Captioning

How to tell real news from misinformation

Guest: Trinity Laurino

Host: Liz Craven

Recorded 9/1/2020

SUMMARY KEYWORDS

news, misinformation, people, media, organization, newspapers, big, local, happening, share, checking, information, bit, meme, online, nonprofit, aging, lakeland, create

 

Liz Craven  00:04

This episode is brought to you by PolkElderCare Guide, your guide for all things senior care and resources. Available in both English and Spanish, you can find the guides and much more at Polkeldercare.com.

 

Liz Craven  00:20

In today’s world being able to tell the difference between good information and misinformation is difficult at best. The words media and news are used interchangeably and widely misunderstood in America today. What do the words media and news really refer to? How can the average person tell the difference between good information and misinformation? If these are questions you’d like answers to you’re in the right place and this is the podcast episode for you.

 

Liz Craven  01:03

Welcome to the Sage Aging podcast. I’m your host Liz Craven. The mission of Sage Aging is to help you connect to information and resources that will empower you to master the aging and caregiving journey. Weekly, I’ll bring you great conversations with industry professionals and others to shed some light on topics of aging and to empower you to take charge of your journey. So grab a cup of coffee, or maybe a cool glass of lemonade, and sit back and relax as we chat. Are you ready? Hit subscribe now, and let’s get started.

 

Liz Craven  01:40

Hi there and welcome to Episode 25 of the Sage Aging podcast. I can’t believe we’re at Episode 25 already. This feels like a journey that I just started yesterday, so I appreciate all of you coming along for the journey with me. Today we’re taking a little departure from our typical type of conversation to talk about something that is so important and relevant to people of all ages. Media. Now that’s a word that inspires a lot of emotion and a wide range of reactions from Americans these days. How do you tell the difference between good information and misinformation? Who is the media? And what about social media? How do I navigate that space without becoming part of the spread of misinformation? My guest today is Trinity Laurino of Lkldnow. Lakeland now is a nonprofit, locally driven news organization whose mission is to educate community members and cultivates civic engagement by reporting and curating local news and community information in an accessible user friendly digital format. I’m really looking forward to this discussion and I hope that you are to. All of Trinity’s coming information on her bio and link to Lakeland now will be in the show notes. So be sure to check that out. You can also find it in the blog post for Episode 25 at SageAging.us Welcome to the show Trinity. Thanks so much for joining me.

 

Trinity Laurino  03:17

Thank you. It’s my pleasure to be here.

 

Liz Craven  03:20

Gosh, this is such an important topic. And I have to say I just love that you’ve made it a priority to educate people about how to navigate this space. I know you’ve been doing lots of talks publicly, and just trying to help people get a handle on what all of this means and all of the changes that have happened over the years to how we gather our news. So thank you for making that a priority.

 

Trinity Laurino  03:46

Oh, thank you. I mean, yes, it really is Barry, who is our publisher and our editor in chief. He actually started doing this before I joined Lkldnow so, so much of what I do is building on the groundwork that he already laid. But I was really inspired to kind of take it into a different direction as we started to see more and more comments coming onto our, own social media pages and comments about the news. And to, really delve into people’s understanding of how the news gets made and what the media actually is and what the role of a news organization in a democracy is. Originally, I started with this idea that this would all be geared towards, essentially, the baby boomer generation because I had read that their generation was the one that was struggling the most to understand what fake news and misinformation look like online. And that made a lot of sense because they came out of an analog world when it was very easy to look at the newsstand and not understand what a tabloid newspaper was versus a legitimate newspaper. And then when everything migrated into an online universe, all the websites essentially look the same. So when I first thought about doing this, I thought about it more as in person kind of discussions, and a bit more hands on and being able to direct people on how to use the technology, how to open up a second window to do fact checking, because that apparently is where a lot of older folks get a little frustrated. And then of course, COVID changed all of that. So we’re not able to do any of the kind of in person that I wanted to do. And so I’ve been experimenting with new ways of really structuring this and trying to do it a lot through civic organizations and through a lot of these online formats and meetings. But this is my first time talking about it on a podcast, so thank you.

 

Liz Craven  05:54

Oh, well, I’m happy to be the first and I hope there’ll be a lot more, quite honestly, because It’s the type of conversation that we need to have, outside of the political realm. And outside of all of that mess that surrounds us these days, it’s nice to be able to sit down and just have a factual conversation about what all of this means. But before we jump into our topic all the way I would love it, if you could tell us a little bit about your background.

 

Trinity Laurino  06:23

Sure, of course. My degree is actually in electronic media studies from the George Washington University, although it’s been a long time since I got that degree. And it was when I first went, there was actually more of a film and television production degree, but it sort of morphed while I was there, because I was in school in the late 90s, at the time in which the entire industry was really changing. And the beginning of the convergence that we have now is just starting, but I spent most of my career working largely in nonprofit media. I do want to say, and I say this in all my presentations, I’m not a journalist. I make that distinction really clear. My role at Lkldnow is Community Engagement Director. So it’s a bit of fundraising, But it’s a lot of community outreach and designing programs like these that help further our mission of creating a more engaged citizenry. But I’ve always been really fascinated by the intersection really, of media and culture and how those two things really inform each other and play off of each other. So I spent a lot of time working in nonprofit media, largely in different content, licensing divisions and working on ancillary product. So the I’ve seen a bit of how the sausage gets made, essentially, and the other ways in which media organizations use existing content to create new content. That was a big part of what I did before taking a divergence and working with startups actually in the wine and spirits industry for a little while. But I feel like all of that experience has brought me to where I really want to be. Because Lkldnow is both a nonprofit, local media organization and also it still has a very kind of startup culture to it. So all this very divergent experience that I have is really coming into play in informing what I do now in a way that makes me very happy.

 

Liz Craven  08:26

That’s so fascinating. And I love that journey. And along the way you found somebody to share your life with and have a beautiful daughter if you want to give them a shout out.

 

Trinity Laurino  08:36

I do. Of course, yes. So actually in college, I met my husband, Michael Laurino. He is an actor you can actually see him on ‘I am Frankie’, which is a Nickelodeon show that I believe is currently available on Hulu. They did two seasons of that. He plays the dad, Will Gaines, and we’re constantly teasing him about being a TV dad. And and we do Have an absolutely beautiful, brilliant, amazing daughter who is currently e-learning in the other room for the start of her freshman year in high school. My darling Olivia.

 

Liz Craven  09:12

That’s so crazy. It’s all of the e-learning and all of the families doing all of their work together in one house. I bet that can be challenging sometimes.

 

Trinity Laurino  09:22

You know, it hasn’t been that bad for us. I have to say we are very, very lucky. The house that we bought almost four years ago now almost lends itself to this. Because my husband and I both have spent a lot of time working from home. We knew we wanted a separate office. So we have this very cute little Craftsman bungalow. But off of the traditional Craftsman front porch, there is a separate office with a separate entrance. And so that’s actually where I’m recording this right now. The worst part about it though, is that it’s that because it’s the front room, it has nothing but windows on two sides of it. And so if the landscapers Come for any of my neighbors. I’m just going to apologize in advance.

 

Liz Craven  10:04

That’s okay. I think in the work from home environment we all have that because I think every neighbor has scheduled, of mine, to do their lawn on a different day so every day there are lawn mowers

 

Trinity Laurino  10:18

Yes, I know it does. It definitely makes it a challenge for my husband when he’s recording his auditions for me. And the number of times he has to like stop as the truck comes by or the weed whacker starts. It’s been it’s been fun.

 

Liz Craven  10:33

All right, well, hey, let’s get into our topic, because we have a lot to discuss. And this, gosh, I almost don’t even know where to begin. But I guess, let’s start with the difference between the media and the news because there is a big distinction there.

 

Trinity Laurino  10:51

Oh, yeah. That’s a great place to start, actually, because I think it’s so important to have a shared vocabulary when we’re talking about this. Now, of course, the news is a part of the whole that makes up the media. The media, to me, really refers to essentially the content delivery platform that we have. And traditionally, this has meant broadcast TV, broadcast radio, and then morphed into the other delivery systems for those two mediums, which are satellite or cable. And then you also have print media with magazines and newspapers. You have, of course, now the digital and social media, which is having a bigger impact year by year. And then lastly, your out of home media, which really refers mostly to billboards and billboard advertising, and also closed circuit, TV networks and things that you might find in a doctor’s office or in the airport. But when we talk about the news, the news is a part of that whole. That whole is how we deliver the content and the news makers are the ones who actually create the content. And this really refers to reporters and journalists and some of the distinguishing features characteristics. So the news is going to abide by journalistic ethics. And generally, a legitimate news organization is going to have a place on their website where they tell you what those journalistic ethics are, they will have fact checkers and researchers if they’re a big enough organization, or if for smaller organizations fact checking research will be part of the editorial process for the journalist and the editors. They will issue corrections in a timely fashion because we don’t always get it right all of the time, but when we get it wrong, we make sure that we are honest about that. And the other big part of a news organization is that they will have transparency of their company ownership and affiliations. And for a nonprofit news organization where there’s necessarily ownership. We’ll be very transparent about our relationships with our business sponsors. And this is something you hear a lot on say, NPR. If they are covering someone who is also an underwriter of their programs, they will mention that within the context of the program. That’s really the key differences. And so when we use those words interchangeably, it gets very confusing because you’re talking about a piece of something much bigger if you’re saying the media, but what you really mean is the news. Right?

 

Liz Craven  13:18

And I think that’s a very common thing. I mean, I’ve done it myself. And as I’ve been preparing for this episode, I’ve learned a lot. I expect to learn a lot more from you today because I realized how little I knew about the curation of news and about the media and its relationship to the news. You know, we all kind of think it just lumps into one thing, but it really doesn’t. So let’s talk about local news. Why is local news important and how has that changed?

 

Trinity Laurino  13:51

Oh, local news is incredibly important. I mean, I’m a bit biased and that is where I’m spending most of my time these days. But it is the foundation of the news ecosystem in so many ways, and unfortunately, that foundation has been crumbling in the US for many, many years. We’ve been seeing the collapse of local news that was driven largely by our print newspaper industry. So University of North Carolina publishes a study every year called the expanding ‘news desert’. So we actually now have a term for this, and their study has shown that over 1600 communities have lost their only source of local news in the last few years.

 

Liz Craven  14:35

Oh, wow.

 

Trinity Laurino  14:36

Yeah, it’s it’s a huge problem across the United States. And what we see happen when places lose their local news, it has a couple of immediate effects. People lose that connection to their surrounding community. And when they do that, they lose the civic engagement, fewer people start to run for office. I think you actually see the voting, turnout actually decline. You also do get increased partisanship that happens because without a source of local news, people start turning to the cable news, which is not local, it’s nationalized, and is increasingly more along a partisan spectrum. So without that connection to their community, you see this hyperpolarization happening. You also see one of the other interesting effects is without local news, you’ll actually see things like a city’s bond rating actually goes down. Because local news, I think of it like it is the immune system for the body politic. It is the first line of defense for any kind of graft or corruption. And so it is the way that we hold government and business accountable. And when you lose that, then the risk assessment for any kind of financing goes up. You’re considered to be riskier. It’s a riskier project, so it becomes more costly for cities to actually do public improvement projects because it becomes more costly for them to borrow the money to do that. It was an interesting kind of, snowball effect from the loss of local news. But even outside of those 1600 communities that have completely lost their local news, you have many, many more, that are living with what is could be commonly referred to as ghost newspapers. So locally here in Lakeland, we have the Ledger and there are amazing reporters still at the Ledger, but there are, last I heard, I think 12 newsroom employees at the Ledger and that is down from 99 in 2000. And they cover a county, Polk County, that is bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island. You know, it is a population of over 700,000 people. It’s an enormous territory to actually try to cover for 12 people and so they are stretched So thin at the same time. So what really happened, and the reason that you’re getting these ghost newspapers, the big reason you’re getting these ghost newspapers is this consolidation that has happened in the news industry. So companies like, well, now what is now Gannet, which has merged a couple of times have gobbled up the vast majority of local newspapers in the West. So this is another thing that most people don’t know. The vast majority of local newspapers in the US are owned by one single company. And they’re managed by a big investment firm called Fortress Investments, which is owned by the Japanese telecom giant SoftBank.

 

Liz Craven  17:41

Hmm.

 

Trinity Laurino  17:41

Yes. And so, you know, while they have been returning very healthy bottom lines to their shareholders, they’ve been doing that through massive cost cutting efforts within the newsrooms that have left those newsrooms really constrained locally. Again, here during the first few months of the Coronavirus outbreak, they put the entire staff on furlough one week out of the month. So at a time when we needed local news more than ever, reporters were being asked to stay home for a week out of the month.

 

Liz Craven  18:13

Wow.

 

Trinity Laurino  18:14

Yeah.

 

Liz Craven  18:16

Organizations like yours, what Barry has put together with Lkldnow, and I’m certain this must be happening all over the country, organizations like Lakeland now, are important.

 

Trinity Laurino  18:28

You can actually find a bunch of them. We are part of two larger national organizations. There’s the Institute for Nonprofit News, abbreviate to INN. In that there’s over I think, 200 members in there. They’re a range of all sizes and across all different mediums. So some of them are quite big, but we’re all nonprofits. And then there’s another organization, LION Publishers, that stands for local independent online news. And so you can go to either of those if you’re listening from somewhere outside of Lakeland, and you can find if there’s a similar organization. But there’s been tremendous growth in this sector because besides the consolidation, part of what’s been driving this massive consolidation is the fact that the advertising revenues for newspapers declined very, very sharply starting in the early 2000s as Google got into the digital advertising. The for profit newspaper model has really kind of collapsed out from underneath them. And so that’s where you’ve seen both the loss of local papers and then the consolidation of papers into these big media conglomerates. And so within that the entire business model for for-profit newspapers has been, it’s becoming more and more clear that it’s unsustainable. And so there have been a lot of entrepreneurs coming into this segment trying to create a new model, whether that’s a nonprofit model or maybe more of a benefit corporate model. We have both of them that are happening right now, but the growth in that sector has been tremendous. So I know there are a lot of organizations like ours, in Tyler, Texas, I know there’s one. They’re popping up all over the US. And they’re doing some really great journalism and trying to fill the holes that are being left by the ghost newspapers and the collapse of the for-profit newspaper industry.

 

Liz Craven  20:22

I think that it allows for more accountability too, when you’re on the local level that way, because you do have a community to answer to and you can’t hide behind a big corporation.

 

Trinity Laurino  20:32

I think that’s true, because that’s the other thing that I think happens is the loss of trust in that big amorphous thing called the media, I think has been due, in part to the consolidation, not just in local news and in newspapers, but across the entire media spectrum. So you know, I think most people know there are a handful of big companies that own most major media outlets, and so you don’t have that connection, it becomes this big, faceless corporation. And so it’s harder to trust that than it is to trust the journalist and the editor that you know, and you see within your community. And so yeah, we do need to kind of bring that back. The Pew Research Center did do a study that said something like 74% of Americans still trust their local news. But the interesting thing about that is only, I think, 14% had actually put money behind that trust. So essentially, only 14% of people had either subscribed or contributed financially to a local news organization. So you can kind of see the disconnect there with the economics.

 

Liz Craven  21:45

No business can run without funds, that’s for sure.

 

Trinity Laurino  21:49

Yes.

 

Liz Craven  21:50

Well, let’s shift our focus to social media and its role in delivering disinformation.

 

Trinity Laurino  21:56

Oh, yeah. So in 2019, I will talk about the Pew center a lot because they do a lot of research, but I was just looking at a study that they did, and this is from 2019, so I’d love to see the follow up study, but by their survey 52% of people had actually shared misinformation on social media. And that’s a self-reporting kind of, like you had to know you’re doing it, but most of them learned after the fact that they had done it. When we actually look at the people who rely on social media for their news, that percentage goes up to 60%. So it really is the place where misinformation is being spread and the most expansive and the most fear. At the same time, it’s also where people are turning more and more to get their news. In 2017, it was estimated that two thirds of adults were getting their news from a social media platform.

 

Liz Craven  22:55

Two thirds of people is a lot, it and so how do people know what they’re looking at? Whether it is something they can trust or something they can’t trust? Are there telltale signs?

 

Trinity Laurino  23:10

I think there are a lot of telltale signs. And we have to know what to look for. I think the good news is, is that the same key elements of a news article are still the same. If you are coming from the old analog world of print newspapers, into a digital universe, you want to make sure you check your date, you want to look for a byline, and that byline should probably be from a actual human reporter. Sometimes even a legitimate organization will say by you know, such and such staff. That’s okay. But if you see that really frequently, you might want to start checking the source on that because most reporters want to see their name and the byline. So those are some of the things you can look for. You can also make sure all the links work in the article And then the other great thing to do is to really open up another browser window and see who else is reporting on the same thing and get multiple sources for something. You know, the big thing that we’re seeing is, if it is emotionally triggering or elicits a really strong response, that’s when you really want to stop before just having that knee jerk reaction and going, I have to share this right now. That’s when you really want to take that moment and pause and think about it a little bit more skeptically. And make sure that this is valid information. So often the misinformation that gets shared, it starts off with a kernel of truth to it and then builds on layers of things that are either taken out of context or blatantly fabricated. There was something just this weekend that popped up. There was a new story out of Georgia about a giant bust of a sex trafficking ring. And it was covered largely by national media organizations, and then over the weekend, and I think 39 children were rescued, but they were rescued from multiple locations throughout Georgia. And then over the weekend, these posts are popping up about 39 children were rescued out of a trailer park in Georgia, why is the media not reporting on this? So sometimes this information is used really as an attack on the news industry itself. And the truth was, the media was reporting on it. It Again, it got covered on all the major, you know, networks and the children were rescued from a single trailer park. They were rescued from multiple locations. So the new story itself was a bit more nuanced than what the meme was suggesting.

 

Liz Craven  25:48

That’s so interesting.

 

Trinity Laurino  25:49

And that’s the other thing that I think. So there’s a couple of things, the couple of different ways that I see a lot of misinformation that it’s getting spread, certainly at the start of the Coronavirus there was a lot of what I call the copy and paste from an anonymous expert. Yeah, you saw this a lot with the OSHA mask argument. And it’s really interesting to me the way that people will share these things on social media in a way that they would never share in real life. Or if someone said this to them in real life, they would be inherently skeptical of it, you know, like we can all identify kind of unreliable gossip when we hear it and our friend says, Oh, you know, my friend’s second cousin’s boyfriend told me this and you’re like, that’s a little too far removed from the dirt floors, you know. And yet when it comes into the online world, you can see something that’s been like copied and pasted with no name attached to it just a suppose it expert in this subject, and suddenly hundreds of thousands of people are sharing this information, as if it is been verified and fact checked. And so often that information is taken out of context. Like with that OSHA mask when all of that information was taken out of OSHA recommendations around working with toxic chemicals that had nothing to do with dealing with the coronavirus,

 

Liz Craven  27:12

it really does just blow me away sometimes some of the things I read, I think that your advice to people to take a breath before you just click ‘share’ is so good. And unfortunately, I think there are people who want to stir the pot, and so you’re never going to get away from all of that, but for those of us who really are seeking truth and seeking good information, that’s such a good tip to just open a new browser and go and see for yourself what’s happening. Do a Google search and see who else is talking about it because chances are, if it’s not being talked about anywhere else, you should be skeptical, wouldn’t you say so?

 

Trinity Laurino  27:53

Absolutely. And taking that pause and taking that breath also gives you time to really digest the entire article. This is something that I I know, I have been guilty of myself sometimes reacting to the information before taking that moment. But it’s something that we see a lot too, even from our own news organization, is that posts will get shared without people clicking through to the article. And half of the comments that we get are all asking us questions that would have been answered, had they read the article.

 

Liz Craven  28:25

That is so true.

 

Trinity Laurino  28:26

Yes. The other bit of advice that I will say, this has been my unpopular opinion, is to just not share memes, particularly now through the election. And I think people don’t quite understand what’s happening when you share a meme, particularly from a source that you don’t actually know what the source is. And you’re really sort of giving up a bit of your privacy, not in the way that you because you shared this meme they can see your profile your personal information, but you’re self-selecting into an audience that can be retargeted to. And so what happened a lot in 2016 that we saw from foreign actors was putting out a meme seen who responded to it, and then doubling down with more and more divisive means to that same audience. One. So I think if you really want to protect yourself from getting flooded with misinformation or disinformation, one of the easiest things to do is to either create your own content if you’re on social media, and who isn’t these days, post your own things, write your own things. Or if you are savvy enough to create your own memes create your own memes, or only share things from actually trusted and verified sources. Because so many of these memes that that I see shared, they’re cute, they’re clever, they’re funny, you know, they make me laugh. In the moment, but we don’t know who’s actually creating them very often.

 

Liz Craven  30:05

I often wonder about that, because of everything that happened in the last election cycle. I do wonder about that. And I wonder about those coupons. You see things coming out that say $10 off that loads or $10 off at the grocery store, just share this or mention this and, and I wonder how much of that is true. Should people stay away from those things as well?

 

Trinity Laurino  30:29

Yeah, there was a there was one that was shared locally quite a lot. There was a Publix coupon and of course Lakeland is home to Publix.

 

Liz Craven  30:37

which is a particular grocery store.

 

Trinity Laurino  30:40

Yes. For those not from the area,not from the southeast United States where they are the largest grocer. Um, yeah, but we have a special affinity to our Publix here and so yeah, that was one of the pieces of misinformation that I saw shared. And then and that speaks to how difficult it can sometimes be for the media and The news industry to battle this information because the second you try to come out and say it and post an article saying don’t share this, this isn’t real, you’re actually accidentally giving it more legs sometimes. So while a lot of Americans right now think that it is the news media’s responsibility to combat misinformation, it’s actually harder to do that from the position of being inside the news media, because we can inadvertently end up promoting the misinformation through that even as we’re trying to debunk it. But anything like online coupons generally tend to be suspicious. There were some very clear kind of red flags on those, at least on the Publix one, you want to make sure that you’re checking the URL, if it’s publix.com.co or something like that. It’s not coming up. The main website, if there are extra letters in the URL for a major brand, it’s probably not coming directly from that major brand, or that publisher. Also, if it’s a company that tends to, you know, mail out its coupons rather than do them digitally or has their own dedicated app like Target does. They’re not going to be putting these things online. They’ll be making them available through their mailers or through their app through their own proprietary channels. And you can also tell sometimes, the graphic itself is maybe blurry, or the logo looks just a little bit off or it looks like it’s been photocopied and then scanned in. Those are always also signs that probably what you’re seeing is not valid. Yeah, absolutely. There’s a good telltale signs to look for.

 

Liz Craven  32:50

And what about all the quizzes that people take?

 

Trinity Laurino  32:53

You know, I haven’t seen as many of those this election cycle, but I know that those started largely random I think around 2014 and 2015.

 

Liz Craven  33:03

There were a lot of researchers

 

Trinity Laurino  33:04

in media studies who and in intelligence, who raised the red flag and said, if you’re doing these quizzes that are all free, somebody somewhere is going to be monetizing them. Somebody has an interest in the information that you are getting that you are giving up. And I think that’s what we saw a lot in the 2016 elections is that those quizzes the, you know, tell us what your favorite color is. And we’ll tell you where you should live and what month it are you kind of promise that were really fun at the moment, but you had to wonder what’s the end game? What’s the final intent? And so there were companies that were essentially creating psychographic profiles out of those and then using that information to inform the political influence campaigns that they were running.

 

Liz Craven  33:57

Wow.

 

Trinity Laurino  33:57

Yeah.

 

Liz Craven  33:59

All because you like Muppets

 

Trinity Laurino  34:00

Exactly. So that you can find out whether or not you’re Miss Piggy or Kermit. And I think we all know if we’re Miss Piggy.

 

Liz Craven  34:09

Right? Well, I for one love The Muppets, but I will take no Muppets quizzes, I promise you. Well, hey, before we shut this conversation down, the last question I like to ask every single guest is what are your favorite go to resources if people want to dig a little deeper on this topic?

 

Trinity Laurino  34:31

So there is a wonderful, wonderful article that was published in a Scientific American in September of 2019. With the title ‘Misinformation Has Created a New World Disorder’ by Claire Wardle. I think it is a wonderful deep dive into the whole ecosystem of misinformation and really nuanced understanding of what the effects of this are on are on us culturally on us politically. I think every American needs to read that article. One of the other ones is called, the Associated Press runs a section called ‘The Not Real News’ and you can find that at apnews.com/notrealnews. And they basically keep a weekly tally of stories that were widely shared, but they do the fact checking and the research on there for you so that you can find out whether or not there was any truth in that. There’s another really good article from the Christian Science Monitor called ‘Who Should Judge What’s True – Tracking Social Media’s Global Impact’ is another good resource. And if you are looking for a good resource to fact check things, of course, Snopes has been doing this for decades now, practically since the birth of the internet they have been they started off really looking into urban legends and the way that urban legends would spread online, but they’ve really morphed into the fact checkers have the internet and they do an amazing job of that.

 

Liz Craven  35:58

Fantastic well, Just so our listeners will know, all of the links to everything that Trinity just mentioned, will be in the show notes and in the blog post for Episode 25, which you can find at Sageaging.us. So, no worries if you didn’t grab those URLs right away. We’ve got those covered for you. Well, thank you Trinity for bringing this information to us. I know that this is not the typical conversation that we would have on Sage Aging. But I think it’s so very important and I appreciate your insights. And I appreciate you sharing with us.

 

Trinity Laurino  36:33

Thank you. Thank you for having me.

 

Liz Craven  36:36

Of course and where can our listeners find you if they want to learn more?

 

Trinity Laurino  36:40

Well, you can always email me at Trinity@lkldnow.com. And you can, if you are local to Lakeland, of course you can stay up to date on the latest that is happening locally at lkldnow.com as well.

 

Liz Craven  36:56

Fantastic. Well thank you, my friends for listening. I’m so glad you chose to spend a few minutes with me today. I hope that you got as much out of today’s conversation as I did. I think it’s up to all of us to handle what we share and what we consume responsibly. Let’s all be a part of the solution. And I think this will help us all to do that. Check back next Tuesday for a new episode. And if you found value in today’s conversation, I sure would appreciate it if you would click subscribe and share the Sage Aging podcast with a friend. If you have topic ideas you’d like to share or guests that you’d like me to invite to the show. drop me a line at info@sageaging.us. Make it a great day, everyone.

Liz Craven

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As I’ve been preparing to launch this podcast I’ve enjoyed revisiting stages of my own life and reflecting on how this topic became such a passion for me. While I’ve built my career on helping older adults and their families connect to needed education and resources, my connection to the aging and care process goes much deeper.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of my own multi-generational family living together in one home. I was 4 or 5 when my grandmother moved into our home to help care for my sisters and I while our parents worked. Soon after, her father and grandfather moved in as well. We had 5 generations living under one roof! That was a beautifully chaotic adventure and knowing what I know now, I have so much respect for what my parents and grandmother did.

Fast forward to age 24. Newly married and pregnant with our first child, I spent several months with my in-laws to help care for my husband’s grandmother who had Alzheimer’s. Fast forward again to about 2009 – Wes and I have two teenagers about to head to college and his mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years later, my mother is diagnosed with cancer. Several years after that Wes’ stepdad is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and his father is suffering from severe dementia. You can see where this is going right? For the better part of the last 10 years we have been the caregivers. We see it as an honor and privilege to have been able to do that for our parents.

The key to navigating our later years is being proactive about gathering information before we get there and staying engaged once we do. To be sage is to be wise. There is wisdom in taking the time to ask questions, seek solutions and know your options before the need arises.

Each week we will discuss relevant topics of aging with experts who can help us to understand and be better prepared for aging. We’ll also introduce you to some Sage Agers who are totally owning their journeys through life. No topic will be off limits and we will deliver open and honest conversation meant to educate and empower our listeners. Each episode will also be available in video and blog formats.

Whether you are proactively seeking to broaden your own knowledge, a caregiver for a loved one or a professional working in the aging care industry, this podcast is for you. We hope you will join us as we explore and celebrate Sage Aging.