We are born to learn. Human children are dependent on others to protect, provide and, in one sense, program them after birth. Parents are usually the primary caregiver in the formative years so our interaction with them (and the messages they teach us), can have a profound impact. for instance, while children, we learn important social lessons about morality, civility, responsibility and more.

As we grow in age, we also grow more independent. Hopefully, we’ve learned to learn and teach ourselves… but it takes understanding and discerment. Society, particularly today, can overwhelm us with information, both good and bad. Schools can teach us the “three Rs”: reading, writing and arithmetic to help us become productive members of society. Schooling also help us as we interact with other students and authority figures. As we get older we begin to make our own choices. Who we eventually become is influenced by these choices… and the voices we hear from them. Voices from our parents, peers, religion and places like mass media can also have a profound impact.

It’s sad that so many international students teach themselves about Americans by viewing mass media. Television shows, movies, popular music, magazines, Web sites, and other aspects of the mass media influence their understanding of our political views; our tastes in popular culture; our views of women, people of color; and many other beliefs and practices. So much of what they see and hear is distorted or “fake news.” The world needs more real news.

Mass media is not the enemy.  The Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is one of the nations top journalism schools. Students receive hands-on experiences in a multiplatform daily news operation with bureaus in Phoenix, Washington and Los Angeles. With professional programs in digital media, public affairs reporting, broadcast news, digital innovation and more, Cronkite offers a real-world education for the digital media world of today and tomorrow.

We can let mass media manipulate us when we don’t see the whole picture or listen to all the truth. You can know the truth, and the truth will set you free (Bible, John 8:32).The world needs more people listing to and speaking truth.