Breaking Into the News: Media Literacy in the Digital Age

16700547_1282676498466641_6939204457640759670_oImage by Emily Young of Dog Ear Books

When: Saturday April 8th 5:00-7:00 p.m.

Where: Dog Ear Books, 301 West Main Street, Russellville, AR 72801

What:  Breaking Into the News: Media Literacy in the Digital Age, a Community Skill Share

RSVP by clicking here. 

Join Dog Ear Books, Voices of the Valley, and McElroy House: Organization for Cultural Resources for an interactive community forum discussing media literacy in the digital age.The panel will feature local print, radio and television journalists discussing how to identify reputable news sources versus clickbait and fake news; the importance of identifying opinion pieces versus new stories, and resources for finding and supporting responsible investigative reporting. Panelists will also touch on the ethics of journalism and share their own personal stories of why they are dedicated to this work at the local level. Participants will leave with information on importance of supporting ethical reporting and specific ways to do so. While we tend to think of media in terms of national networks, panelists will outline why local journalism is equally essential. An open community discussion will follow the panelists remarks.

This Community Skill Share is supported by funding from Alternate ROOTS and is part of our year long series of events focusing on what it means to call a place home.




Drew Brent is the owner of Brent Media Properties and the Local Rundown. His career has spanned twelve years, with stops in print, television, and radio.

Drew began his career in Russellville at River Valley Radio in 2005 as a producer. He moved quickly, taking on co-host duties for “GSC Gameplan” on 103.7 The Buzz, and providing play-by-play for statewide high school football broadcasts.

Drew was hired as a sports producer by KATV in 2007. He would fill a variety of roles at KATV, including producing news and sports, editing, and  spearheading   He moved back to sports radio in 2009, hosting “The Sports Guys on KUOA 105.3 in Fayetteville.

He would continue in sports play-by-play as the lead commentator for the Arkansas and Oklahoma state football championships, commentator for the Great American Conference, and has been on the Heartland Conference Championship broadcast crew the last two years, this year being promoted to lead analyst.

Drew has been published in Arkansas Sports 360 (Arkansas Business), has appeared for 40/29 ABC in Fayetteville, and has freelanced video for major networks including CNN and ESPN. He has hosted radio shows on the Arkansas Radio Network, contributed for the Arkansas Razorback Sports Network, and currently owns and serves as the operations manager of The Local Rundown.

Billy Reeder has worked in broadcast news, served as a municipal public information officer, consulted on national advertising campaigns and served as the state director of communication for the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church. Currently he resides as a tenured assistant professor of multimedia journalism at Arkansas Tech University where he teaches multimedia journalism, visual storytelling, and documentary film making. He continues to travel extensively consulting on social media and branding. Billy holds a B.A. in Broadcast Journalism and an M.A. in Multimedia Communication.

Melissa Lea Simpson is an award winning crime reporter formally with The Morning News of Rogers. She also worked over three years in circulation with The Northwest Arkansas Edition of the Democrat Gazette and the Arkansas Democrat Gazette. She has also freelanced for several local publications. She holds a dual BA in political science and journalism from The University of West Florida. She currently works for a local nonprofit, the mother to a 2 year old and native of Arkansas.

Travis Simpson is an award-winning journalist and photographer. He has worked for The Courier in Russellville for almost five years and has nearly a decade of professional writing experience.

Moderator:  Meredith Martin-Moats works with the McElroy House and is a former radio journalist and freelance writer.



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