NLPeople: Susan Minichiello, senior manager of education design


Susan Minichiello
Northern California

1. What led you to the news literacy movement? 

I could give a long list of reasons why the news literacy movement is essential, but for me, it all boils down to people. Everyone I care about is affected by misinformation one way or another, myself included. It’s a huge issue not just for our democracy but also for our collective health, the everyday decisions we make for ourselves and others and our interpersonal relationships.

Watching the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol and seeing vaccine misinformation spread during the pandemic were also motivating factors in joining the movement. Misinformation can be distressing, especially when loved ones share it. I like that news literacy is a sensible and practical solution to counter mis- and disinformation.

2. What news literacy tip, tool or guidance do you most often use?

Taking a pause! It sounds simple but it works. Instead of an instant like or share on a social media post, just taking a breather to fact-check or verify claims helps us to avoid contributing to the spread of misinformation.

3. Aside from fighting for facts, what else are you passionate about?

Minichiello's son Otis hiking a trail near their home in Sonoma County, California.

Minichiello’s son hiking a trail near their home in Sonoma County, California.

I’m a notebook addict. Does that count as a passion? I collect notebooks everywhere I go, and anytime I’m in San Francisco one of my first stops is usually the stationery store in Japantown.

I also love being outside as often as I can. Living in Sonoma County, California, we’re fortunate to have access to so many beautiful parks and wineries. It’s a wonderful place to hike and bike. If I need to decompress, working in my garden or taking a walk relaxes me.

4. Are you on team dog, team cat, team wombat?

I’m a former cat person fully converted to team dog! My family and I adopted a 20-pound rat terrier named Loki last year. She is the sweetest little lady! She came with the name Loki, and we didn’t want to change it because she is an adult dog, but we have so many nicknames for her: Loki Dokie, Gnocchi, Mochi, smokey Loki, etc. When I’m working from home, she’s usually curled up right next to me.

And no, I’ve never seen Loki, the Disney+ show, but I heard he’s quite mischievous. My Loki is pretty low key, but every once in a while, she unleashes a little chaos.

5. And finally, what item do you always have in your fridge?

Eggs from local farms. I love that bright orange yolk you can get only when the eggs are fresh. I cook eggs poached, sunny-side up, in a soft and fluffy French-style omelet with chives, or my favorite Thai omelet over steamed Jasmine rice. (Here’s a good Thai omelet recipe if you’re interested in cooking it, too.)

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