Fake News, News

Teens think they’re really good at spotting fake news

fake news teensWe wanted to poll some actual high schoolers, and the social app After School verifies its users are actually in high school through their Facebook and other factors. Teens from all 50 states answered poll questions run in the app – just over 39,000 teens in total.

A study from Stanford last year showed that middle and high school students aren’t very good at determining fake news – especially more nuanced things like noticing bias in a source, or understanding the difference between sponsored content and a regular article. (If you want to test your own ability to sniff out fake news, try one of our quizzes to see if you’re actually as good as you think.)

After the 2016 election brought the scourge of fake news into the national conversation, some schools started teaching kids media literacy and how to spot false stories on social media.

The polling standards here are not exactly scientifically rigorous, considering this survey’s results came from a bunch of kids on an app answering a poll. So take this with a grain of salt.

Read more at Buzzfeed.

Image courtesy of Buzzfeed.

Bill Update, Education, Fake News, News

Bill would help California schools teach about ‘fake news,’ media literacy

Spurred by the rise of so-called “fake news” and its impact on elections, a Santa Barbara state senator has introduced a bill that would encourage California’s K-12 schools to teach students to be skeptical, informed news consumers.

Authored by State Sen. Hannah-Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara), SB 203, known as the digital citizenship and media literacy bill, would require the state superintendent of public instruction to convene a committee of educators, librarians, parents, students and media experts to draw up guidelines on how best to recognize fake news.

Popularized in the 2016 presidential election, the term “fake news” refers to Internet hoaxes or intentionally fabricated stories presented as news and intended to sway public opinion. Cyber bullying, privacy, copyright infringement, digital footprints, sexting and general Internet safety would also be included in the guidelines.

Read more at Ed Source.

Image courtesy of Ed Source.

medialit cali bill

Education, Fake News, News

How to help students discover the whole truth

“You may think you are prepared for a post-truth world, in which political appeals to emotion count for more than statements of verifiable fact,” Margaret Sullivan, media columnist for The Washington Post, wrote recently. “But now it’s time to cross another bridge—into a world without facts. Or, more precisely, where facts do not matter a whit.”

Because I teach American history, government and journalism in high school, Sullivan’s words hit close to home. I spoke with my students about Mary Beth Hertz’s Edutopia post, “Battling Fake News in the Classroom,” and I sensed that many of my students, while skilled at what Hertz fittingly calls “crap detection,” were still deeply troubled by what they characterized as a growing public aversion to the truth.

When politicians and thought leaders can’t or won’t agree on a basic set of facts, how can we motivate students for the noble pursuit of truth and help them see why it still matters?

Read more at PBS.

Image courtesy of PBS.


Fake News, News, People, Resources

Teaching kids how to distinguish fake news from real news

In his former career as a freelance photojournalist, Jeff Share documented issues such as poverty and social activism, and won awards for his coverage of the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament of 1986.

Today, the lecturer and faculty adviser in UCLA’s Teacher Education Program has turned his lens on two critical issues facing educators and students: climate change and the need for critical thinking skills to decipher the barrage of real and alternative facts in the media.

Share, whose photos once appeared in the Washington Post, was recently interviewed by the newspaper about his critical media literacy courses at UCLA, where he trains current and future K-12 teachers in ways to show students how to deconstruct media, create their own alternative messages and separate fake news from facts. Share is the author of a 2009 book, “Media Literacy is Elementary: Teaching Youth to Critically Read and Create Media.” In 2015, a second edition of the book was released.

Read more at UCLA Newsroom.

Image courtesy of UCLA Newsroom.

Education, Fake News, News, Places

Newseum ED pilots fake news class at Palo Alto High School

palo alto high school
Palo Alto High School

NewseumED curriculum developers will be at Palo Alto High School in California on Tuesay, May 16, to pilot their newest media literacy class, “Fighting Fake News: How to Outsmart Trolls and Troublemakers.” The class was launched at the Newseum in March in response to the “fake news” phenomenon that garnered national attention during the 2016 presidential election, and continues to be a major global concern.

Students of Esther Wojcicki, a journalism teacher at Palo Alto, provided input to NewseumED staff as they developed the class as well as a flow chart helping students determine whether a story is worth sharing by text, tweet or email.

Read more at www.Newseum.org.

Image courtesy of Newseum.

Education, Fake News, News

We crashed UW’s class on calling BS. Here’s what we learned about sleuthing ‘big data.’

A University of Washington seminar, “Calling BS in the Age of Big Data,” promises to help students develop a BS detector — and it’s become a global phenomenon, with universities as far away as Australia planning to teach a version of it this fall.

Did you hear about the researchers in China who said they’d developed an algorithm that could predict whether somebody was a criminal by scanning a photo of their face?

The researchers used “fancy machine learning” to eliminate human biases and come up with a scientific way to determine criminality by examining facial features, University of Washington professor Carl Bergstrom told his class in Mary Gates Hall one day last month.

“What do you guys think?” Bergstrom asked.

In unison, more than 100 students responded out loud: “Bullshit!”


Read more at The Seattle Times.

Image courtesy of The Seattle Times.

BS in the age of big data

Fake News, News, Social Media

Facebook posts fake-news ads in newspapers ahead of UK vote

Facebook launched a UK newspaper campaign on Monday warning British citizens to be wary of fake news in the lead up to the General Election on June 8.

The social network took out ads in major papers including The Times, The Guardian and the Daily Telegraph, which list ten things its users should look out for when deciding whether to trust information they read online. The tips include checking headlines, URLs, photos and dates.

The spread of fake news has been a problem online for years, but blew up during the US presidential election last year. Facebook resorting to physical media to warn people about fake news is an indication of how widespread the problem has become and the perceived potential for it to impact the outcome of elections.

“People want to see accurate information on Facebook and so do we,” Simon Milner, Facebook’s director of policy for the UK in a statement. “That is why we are doing everything we can to tackle the problem of false news.”

Read more at C-Net.

Image courtesy of C-Net.

fbook ads

Education, Events, Fake News, News, Places

Local librarians to lead workshop on media literacy

Media Literacy, a free two-hour workshop, is set at the Port Angeles Library at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Librarians Danielle Gayman and Sarah Morrison at the Port Angeles Library of the North Olympic Library System will present the workshop at the library at 2210 S. Peabody St.

“Today’s media landscape and technologies mean that misinformation or disinformation can be widely shared and disseminated, accidentally or purposefully, regardless of the facts,” according to a news release issued by the library system.

Read more in the Peninsula Daily News.

To attend, here are the workshop details

Title: Media Literacy: Thinking Critically about News & Other Resources

Date/Time: Thursday, May 18, 2017 from 6 to 8 p.m.

Location: The Carver Room at Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody Street, Port Angeles, WA 98362

Description: NOLS Librarians Danielle Gayman and Sarah Morrison will present an introductory session on Media Literacy, including types of journalism, identifying perspective, and determining bias.  Find out about “Truthiness” and learn how to identify “Fake” or “Fabricated” news.

For more information, visit the North Olympic Library website.

Image courtesy of The Peninsula Daily News.

library workshop.jpg
North Olympic Library System librarians Danielle Gayman and Sarah Morrison will offer a workshop about Media Literacy on Thursday night.
Fake News, News

The real “Fake News”

The following is a blog post that Eni Mustafaraj has recently published in The Spoke. We reproduce it here with permission.

Fake news has always been with us, starting with The Great Moon Hoax in 1835. What is different now is the existence of a mass medium, the Web, that allows anyone to financially benefit from it.

Etymologists typically track the change of a word’s meaning over decades, sometimes even over centuries. Currently, however, they find themselves observing a new president and his administration redefine words and phrases on a daily basis. Case in point: “fake news.” One would have to look hard to find an American who hasn’t heard this phrase in recent months. The president loves to apply it as a label to news organizations that he doesn’t agree with.

Read more at TwitterTrails, a research project at Wellesley College.

Image courtesy of TwitterTrails.


Fake News, News, People, Politics

CNN refuses Trump campaign’s ‘fake news’ ad

The head of President Trump’s re-election campaign accused CNN of “censorship” on Tuesday afternoon after the broadcast network refused to run the group’s latest advertisement.

CNN said it would run the 30-second television spot, a celebration of Mr. Trump’s first 100 days in office, only if the campaign removed a section that featured the words “fake news” superimposed over several TV journalists, including Wolf Blitzer of CNN, and others from MSNBC, PBS, ABC and CBS.

CNN defended the decision in a statement on Twitter.

“The mainstream media is not fake news, and therefore the ad is false,” the network said. “Per our policy, it will be accepted only if that graphic is deleted.”

Read more at The New York Times.


Fake News, News, People

Wikipedia’s founder wants to fix fake news

The cofounder of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, has a rather unconventional plan to stamp out the current scourge of the Internet, fake news. Taking inspiration from his world-changing online encyclopedia, he wants to reinvent the way that news is made.

Wales imagines a future where a civic-minded community of voluntary workers can help create news in such a way that reporters have nowhere to hide. The resulting product, which will be called Wikitribune, will be a totally free online news service that tirelessly provides links to sources and data, with legions of committed helpers keeping it on the straight and narrow path of accuracy.

To that end, Wales plans to hire a small team of professional journalists who are paid via donations from supporters based on a crowdfunding model.

Read more from MIT Technology Review.

Image courtesy of MIT Technology Review.

Entertainment, Fake News, News

Unchecked fake news gave rise to an evil empire in ‘Star Wars’

We never see a journalist in “Star Wars.” Not in eight movies and counting.

The galaxy is otherwise rich in professions. There are bartenders, bounty hunters, geneticists, one librarian, medics, moisture farmers, musicians, senators, soldiers and a lady who sells toads out of the sewer. The character who comes closest to an act of journalism, if we’re being generous, is a two-headed alien who commentates during a podrace. His sportscast is mostly hackwork, stuff like “It’s Skywalker!” and “The crowds are going nuts!” Worse still, he’s not very impartial; at the sight of the gangster Jabba the Hutt, both of his heads gargle in apparent fealty.

If there was ever a galaxy far, far away in need of a smart and independent press, you’re looking at it.

“Fake news in ‘Star Wars’ is probably their number one problem,” says Ryan Britt, an editor who specializes in science fiction at the website Inverse. Britt, in his 2015 book “Luke Skywalker Can’t Read,” makes a provocative claim: Most “Star Wars” denizens, if they’re not illiterate, seem fundamentally disinterested in reading.

Read more at The Chicago Tribune.

may the fourth

Education, Fake News, News

Tips from Teen Vogue: 5 Steps to Improve Your Media Literacy

Even the popular fashion youth magazine Teen Vogue has felt the need to educate its readers about how to improve their media literacy skills.

In between articles about fashion, entertainment and beauty, the magazine’s news and technology section recently featured a piece intended to help teens distinguish between what is real news and what can be considered “fake” news. The article begins:

Sure, most of us know that just because you read something on the Internet doesn’t mean it’s true. And lately everyone is talking about fake news — hoaxes, propaganda, and flat-out lies that are intentionally meant to look like real news. Confusingly, President Donald Trump has been attempting to redefine the term to mean anything that is reported by the mainstream media with which he disagrees. Even satire, a worthwhile and thought-provoking writing genre, is often incorrectly lumped together with fake news or taken at face value and mistaken for news.

Read more at Teen Vogue.

Image courtesy of Teen Vogue.

Education, Fake News, News

What media literacy means in the age of alternative facts

cml logo.jpgPost-truth, alternative facts and fake news. Media has changed a lot since we began tweeting, but the last year has left media and its consumers in a crisis. A Pew Research study revealed that 62 percent of adults get their news from social media. We now live in a hyper-partisan world where sensational fake news often spreads faster than real news, according to a post-election BuzzFeed analysis. In this age of citizen journalism, media literacy is a confusing proposition.

Adults may assume that digital natives, who can text, post and Google at the same time, are able to sort through the information onslaught better than they can. In fact, Stanford University released a study in November that indicates students have a lot of trouble discerning the credibility of online information. For example, 82 percent of middle schoolers couldn’t distinguish between an ad labeled “sponsored content” and a real news story on a website. Even worse, this study was completed well before the reports of fake news surrounding the u.s. presidential election surfaced.

There is hope. A study by the Civic Engagement Research Group found that media literacy training does make people significantly less likely to believe a factually inaccurate claim, even if it aligned with their political point of view.

Read more at the Center for Media Literacy.

Fake News, News, Places, Politics

California fake news bill

A legislative proposal aimed at outlawing “fake news” websites was sidelined in the California State Legislature at the eleventh hour Tuesday upon drawing fire from free speech advocates over its certain implications on the First Amendment.

California Assemblyman Ed Chau, Monterey Park Democrat, abruptly canceled plans Tuesday to hold a hearing dedicated to A.B. 1104, a bill that would have made it illegal to publish false or deceptive statements on the internet about a political candidate or ballot measure.

Also known as the California Political Cyberfraud Abatement Act, Mr. Chau’s office previously called the proposal “an important step forward in the fight against ‘fake news’ and deceptive campaign tactics.”

Read more at The Washington Times.

Image courtesy of The Washington Times.

Education, Fake News, News, People

Omidyar network gives $100 million to boost journalism and fight hate speech

The philanthropy established by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar will contribute $100 million to support investigative journalism, fight misinformation and counteract hate speech around the world.

One of the first contributions, $4.5 million, will go to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ), the Washington-based group behind last year’s Panama Papers investigation, which revealed offshore businesses and shell corporations, some of which were used for purposes such as tax evasion.

“We think it’s really important to act now to keep dangerous trends from becoming the norm,” Stephen King, who heads the Omidyar Network’scivic engagement initiative, told The Washington Post in the philanthropic group’s first public comments on the three-year funding commitment.

Read more at The Washington Post.

Image courtesy of The Washington Post.

Fake News, News, People, Politics

The odd love-hate relationship between Donald Trump and mainstream news

While there may be resentment from many on how much the news focuses on Donald Trump, viewership on news network has jumped, according to Nielsen ratings.

Two articles outline the strange connection between The Donald and his influence on the rise in news consumption, as well as how this conflicts with the overall decline in TV watching specifically.

This piece from Fortune shares:

The election of Donald Trump as president may be having a questionable effect on the economic and political outlook for the U.S., but it has been a considerable shot in the arm for the TV news business, according to new numbers from Nielsen.

Last year, adults over 18-years-old watched over 27 billion minutes of national cable television news programming per week. That’s almost 45% more than they watched in 2015, according to Nielsen’s latest Total Audience Report, which looks at consumption patterns for cable, smartphones, and desktop computers.

Read more at Fortune.

And this other piece from The New York Times focuses on Trump’s relationship with news giant CNN and CNN Worldwide president Jeff Zucker specifically.

Had Trump lost the election, CNN would probably have returned to its previously scheduled struggle for survival. Instead, it has become more central to the national conversation than at any point in the network’s history since the first gulf war. And the man who is presiding over this historic moment at CNN happens to be the same one who was in some part responsible for Donald Trump’s political career.

Read more at The New York Times.

Education, Fake News, News

UW’s ‘Calling BS’ class tackles fake news

A University of Washington class titled “Calling Bull**** in the Age of Big Data” has drawn worldwide attention and even a book deal for the professors. And the school doesn’t censor the second half of that particular word.

Assistant Professor Jevin West and Biology Professor Carl Bergstrom stood in front of a packed auditorium Wednesday. An overflow of students had to sit on the stairs. The lecture was broadcast to the world. The professors continue to balance local and national media requests.

The professors adhere to this definition of the word: BS is language, statistical figures, data graphics, and other forms of presentation intended to persuade by impressing and overwhelming a reader or listener, with a blatant disregard for truth and logical coherence, according to the class’ website.

“I think people are sick of seeing pollution, and I think they just want to clean it up,” said West, knowing they’ve hit a nerve.

Read more at King 5 News.

Image courtesy of King 5 News.


Fake News, News, Social Media, Technology

Facebook is spending millions to make you trust news again

Facebook and other companies are partnering up to help fund a 14-million-dollar initiative to help restore trust in the media — at a time when it really needs it.

The News Integrity Initiative will be based at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism in New York City and partner with a number of institutions around the world to help educate people about media literacy.

“As part of the Facebook Journalism Project, we want to give people the tools necessary to be discerning about the information they see online,” Campbell Brown, Facebook’s Head of News Partnerships, said in a statement. The company launched its own media literacy project in January. Faculty and students of the CUNY Journalism program will collaborate with researchers and technologists, and conduct research in support of the initiative’s goal.

Read more at Vocativ.

Image courtesy of Vocativ.

Education, Fake News, News, People

How you know fake news education is working, when your students call you out

This fifth-grade teacher taught his students to identify fake news, knowing that it was important for them to be able to recognize verified information in an ever-increasing world of fabricated journalism.

What he came to be surprised by, and proud of, was his students’ interest in using their new skills to fact-check him.

I was determined to change the way I help my students critically analyze the information they were finding on the internet.

Read his story at Vox.

Image courtesy of Vox.

child classroom

Fake News, News

Taking it to the video game streets

As pervasive as fake news has become, it has yet to be immortalized in merchandise. Or has it? Fake news has started to appear as a story line in popular TV shows like Homeland, Quantico and The Good Fight within the last year, and sadly enough, has even become the main arc of a newly released video game.

Yes, you can actually climb inside the minds of real-life humans who distribute lies for money. Fake It to Make It describes itself as "a social impact game about fake news."

By that definition, it’s less a celebration of fake news and more a socially conscious dissection of it. Well, that’s at least what it’s intended to be, as its creator Amanda Warner explains.

Read more at Mashable.

Image courtesy of Mashable.

Fake News, News, Resources

A good resource on fake news

Not all information is created equal. Remember: Anyone can publish on the Web. There is no editor, fact checker, or peer review process for the "free" content that is available on the visible web. The Web is the ultimate Wikipedia – anyone with Internet access can publish to it. As scholars, you must choose the best and most reliable information that meets your research needs.

This guide from the University of Washington, University Libraries provides three strategies for being a Savvy Information Consumer:

  1. Ask the 5 W Questions
  2. Perform the SMART Check
  3. Perform the CRAAP Test

Read more at the University Libraries website.

Image courtesy of University Libraries.

Advertising, Fake News, News

Ad trust rises as news trust sinks

Two recent articles highlight the impact trust has on effective marketing, creating identities and emotions for consumers to not only buy into, but also stylize their beliefs after. This creates friction due to the underlying belief that a better, moral, more valuable life can effectively be bought, instead of personally achieved.

This piece from The Atlantic reads:

And so, this moment of anxiety and creativity and cultural fracturing and political engagement and political apathy has brought a slight plot twist to the long and winding story of American advertising: It has gone and grown a conscience. The commercials that are ascendant at the moment are selling not just what ads so long have—power, prestige, beauty, glamour, sex—but also, more broadly, a vision of how those things can serve society. They are substituting claims about what is desirable for claims about what is right. They using their particular bully pulpit to moralize and sermonize and offer up, in the end, that most American of reassurances: that a better world can be achieved, because a better world can be bought.

Read more at The Atlantic.

And this piece from Axios states:

A new survey finds that 61% of people trust the advertising they see, an 11% jump from March 2014, according to eMarketer. In addition, 72% of respondents also said the ads are "honest," a 16% increase over the past two years.

Other studies have indicated that ad trustworthiness depends on the medium. Some studies show people are less likely to trust digital ads vs. traditional print or television ads.

Read more at Axios.

Image courtesy of The Atlantic.

Advertising, Fake News, News

Behaviors, emotions and moments: A new approach to audience targeting

For decades, we’ve been taught that reaching the right audience with the right message at the right time is the holy grail of marketing. But is it? And even if it is, do we have the tools we need to achieve such a lofty goal?

After all, many brands and agencies struggle to identify just the first of these three “rights,” and, truth be told, traditional media processes and practices aren’t helping.

Consider this: a client tasks a media agency with targeting people looking for a new car. Or maybe it’s consumers interested in on-demand entertainment, or shoppers seeking an alternative to high-calorie snacks. The target audience is then translated into a demographic: 18-34, male or female, urban, $50k+, ABC1.

Read more at Ad Age.

Advertising, Fake News, News

More big advertisers suspend Google ads over offensive videos

Another wave of marketers has suspended advertising on YouTube or in some cases other Google properties in what’s shaping up as an unprecedented revolt against the world’s largest digital media player over ads placed with objectionable content.

General Motors, Walmart, Pepsico and FX Networks on Friday joined brand marketers that include Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and AT&T, which earlier in the week said they’ve halted YouTube advertising over brand-safety issues.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.