Faculty Spotlight: David Coppini
David Coppini, faculty member of the Media, Film and Journalism Department works as an assistant professor in strategic communications with two main areas of research: mass media effect on political attitudes and behaviors and methods of reducing stereotypes in political health contexts. His recent research focuses on media trust and the factors that impact media trust on local, national, and international levels.
“I’ve been interested here in Colorado in how we can revitalize local news,” Coppini said. “In particular how we can regain trust of specific audiences that don’t trust news organizations, and how we can start programs around media literacy. One good thing to note is that local news is one of the types of news with the highest level of trust, but even those levels of trust are actively decreasing.”
Working locally in Colorado, Coppini and Professor Kareem El Damanhoury have been tackling misinformation and working on building programs to improve media trust. With the help of a grant from the Center for Community Engagement, they are currently working with Crescent View Academy in Aurora, CO. Their goal is to examine media literacy, develop models for education on media literacy, and improve relationships between individuals and media sources.
Throughout January, 2023, Crescent View students will have the opportunity to sit in on general lectures, listen to guest speaker sessions, attend field trips, learn about types of information sources, and ways in which they can combat misinformation.
“We are going to offer a one week class during Crescent View’s winter break that focuses on issues of media literacy, media trust and how to combat misinformation,” Coppini said. “Students will have the opportunity to learn about the structure of the media system and ways in which you can spot misinformation and find good sources.”
By conducting this study, Coppini and El Damanhoury hope to see an increase in students' ability to spot untrustworthy sources of information and misinformation.
The models being used at Crescent View Academy are being used as a pilot that can potentially be given to other public schools around the state to reform media literacy lessons. Coppini notes that in Colorado there has been a lot of push for media literacy classes in public education, and CO has set standards for public schools
The final outcome of this project will aim to not only educate students at Crescent View Academy about the dangers of misinformation, but to bring awareness to faults in media literacy to audiences across Colorado.
“We want to create a video that counters conspiracy theories and misinformation that has been spreading around social media, and it will be a short video that could be used for TikTok or any other social media platform,” said Coppini.
To learn more about initiatives through the University of Denver’s Center for Community Engagement, visit the academic affairs website.