Education, News, People, Politics

How media literacy can help students discern fake news

Recognizing bias in news stories is one form of media literacy. Spotting when the news is totally fabricated is something else entirely. How can teachers help students tell fact from media fiction? Educators and media literacy advocates in Washington state are working together with legislators to address the problem.

Special correspondent Kavitha Cardoza of Education Week reports in the June 6, 2017, edition of PBS NewsHour, featuring AME member Claire Beach and Washington State Senator Marko Liias (D) speaking in the weekly series Making the Grade.

Read the full article here.

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Entertainment, News, People, Social Media

Fans manage to will a Lupita Nyong’o-Rihanna buddy movie into existence

A Tumblr post. A tweet. A Netflix deal.

It’s not the normal Hollywood production pipeline, but it’s real: The people of the Internet have managed, through determination and enthusiasm, to bring a movie project into being — one written, directed by and starring black women.

This is a short story, so we’ll get right to it. Here’s the Tumblr post, featuring actress Lupita N’yongo and singer Rihanna, both fashion icons in their own right, looking fabulous at a Miu Miu show in 2014.

Read more at NPR.

Image courtesy of NPR.

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Entertainment, News, People

Every color of cardigan Mister Rogers wore from 1979–2001

While y’all were watching the world fall apart this week, I was watching Fred Rogers build it back up. For the past few days I’ve been transfixed by the “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood” marathon that began on Monday afternoon over on Twitch. Like watching the “Joy of Painting” with Bob Ross, zoning out to “Mister Rogers” is an exercise in escapism. After Rogers helped reset my brain I began to wonder about all the handsome, colorful sweaters he famously wore. Did Rogers have a favorite?

Read more at The Awl.

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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.

Entertainment, News, People

Roger Moore was the best Bond because he was the Gen X Bond

One of the most telling and interesting reads about the passing of James Bond actor Roger Moore , who brought an over the top edge to the character, appeared yesterday in The New York Times:

Mr. Moore exerted himself heroically, grappling with villains atop a moving train, chasing them down ski slopes or into outer space, his unflappable suavity accompanied by an occasional smirk or upward twitch of the eyebrow. He knew exactly how silly these endeavors were, but he was committed to them all the same. He was an ironist and a professional, and as such a pretty good role model for post-’60s preadolescents.

Read more at The New York Times.

Net Neutrality, News, People, Privacy

F.C.C. chairman pushes sweeping changes to net neutrality rules

The chairman of the Federal Communications Commission on Wednesday outlined a sweeping plan to loosen the government’s oversight of high-speed internet providers, a rebuke of a landmark policy approved two years ago to ensure that all online content is treated the same by the companies that deliver broadband service to Americans.

The chairman, Ajit Pai, said high-speed internet service should no longer be treated like a public utility with strict rules, as it is now. The move would, in effect, largely leave the industry to police itself.

Read more at The New York Times.

Image courtesy of The New York Times.


News, People, Privacy

New Seattle cable rule to protect internet data privacy

Seattle Mayor Ed Murray has directed that curbs be imposed on internet providers to protect customers’ data privacy.

Under a new rule scheduled to take effect May 24, the three companies that have cable franchise agreements with the city must get customer permission if they want to sell personal information or web browsing details.

The city privacy protections come after President Donald Trump signed a bill last month rolling back upcoming federal measures that would have stopped internet companies from collecting and selling customer information without permission.

Read more at The Seattle Times.


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.

News, People

Fox News co-president Bill Shine out in latest shake-up for network

Fox News co-president Bill Shine is out at the network, the latest casualty in the scandal that has plagued Fox News and its parent company 21st Century Fox since last summer.

Shine’s departure was announced Monday. The network said he resigned.

“This is a significant day for all at Fox News,” Rupert Murdoch, the executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, said in a statement announcing Shine’s resignation. “Bill has played a huge role in building Fox News to its present position as the nation’s biggest and most important cable channel in the history of the industry. His contribution to our channel and our country will resonate for many years.”

Read more at CNN or view the video below for more information.


Advertising, News, People

With O’Reilly out, Fox News advertisers wait in the wings

Bill O’Reilly’s name was effectively wiped from Fox News on Wednesday night, with the show he anchored for two decades, “The O’Reilly Factor,” renamed simply “The Factor.” While the cable news behemoth has taken steps to distance itself from O’Reilly, however, advertisers that fled the show this month after The New York Times reported on sexual harrassment allegations against him are so far remaining quiet about whether things will return to business as usual now that his exit is official.

Wednesday’s episode of the show, anchored by Dana Perino, had the lightest ad load to date since the April 1 Times report, excluding a shortened episode on April 6 when the show was interrupted by breaking news of the U.S. missile strike against Syria, according to iSpot.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.


Net Neutrality, News, People, Privacy, Take Action

FCC Chairman Ajit Pai just got “rickrolled”

During today’s agency meeting a group of Net Neutrality activists disrupted the chairman by singing and dancing along to the Rick Astley song, and classic internet meme, “Never Gonna Give You Up.”

That’s because we’re never gonna give up fighting for Net Neutrality. Today’s protest is only our latest effort to protest the chairman’s plans to destroy the open internet.

Read more at Free Press.

View the original music video that inspired the Rickroll meme below.

News, People

The age we live in: A TED Talk from His Holiness Pope Francis

A single individual is enough for hope to exist, and that individual can be you, says His Holiness Pope Francis in this searing TED Talk delivered directly from Vatican City. In a hopeful message to people of all faiths, to those who have power as well as those who don’t, the spiritual leader provides illuminating commentary on the world as we currently find it and calls for equality, solidarity and tenderness to prevail. “Let us help each other, all together, to remember that the ‘other’ is not a statistic, or a number,” he says. “We all need each other.”

View the TED Talk below, or read about its potential impact in this article from the Washington Post.

News, People, Technology

Steve Ballmer launches USAFacts, a “digestible” government database

What if the U.S. government had to file a 10-K, an annual report required by the SEC that provides a comprehensive summary of a company’s financial performance?

It was that curiosity which led Los Angeles Clippers’ owner and businessman Steve Ballmer to launch USAFacts, a comprehensive database on the American population, government finances and their impact on society. It combines data from more than 50 government sources on the federal, state and local level.

“I got interested in the context of learning about the way government serves kids who group in disadvantaged situations. And it was hard to find the numbers I was looking for. And I thought, jeez, if it was a company I’d look for the 10-K. And I couldn’t find anything like that,” Ballmer said Tuesday on “CBS This Morning.”

Read more at CBS News.

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Advertising, News, People

With O’Reilly gone, all eyes on advertisers

It’s the spring of brand safety, and Fox News just gave advertisers some reassurance, cutting ties with its most prominent anchor Bill O’Reilly amid allegations of sexual harassment.

“After a thorough and careful review of the allegations,” the No. 1 cable news network said in a statement on Wednesday, “the company and Bill O’Reilly have agreed that Bill O’Reilly will not be returning to the Fox News Channel.”

“Tucker Carlson Tonight” will take over the 8 p.m. timeslot starting next week. “The Five” will move into the 9 p.m. timeslot Carlson previously occupied, having been brought in to fill the role vacated by Megyn Kelly in January.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Associated Press.

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News, People, Politics, Social Media

Profile of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg reviews “like” campaign

This great piece from BuzzFeed highlights the Facebook CEO’s strategy to appeal to his constituents and expand the brand, drawing on his matured personality and candid lifestyle. The article goes on to say:

Until recently, Mark Zuckerberg’s most iconic public appearance may have been the image of the young startup founder sweating through his hoodie onstage while journalist Kara Swisher grilled him at a tech conference in 2010. But Zuckerberg’s reputation as someone averse to the hot seat began a couple years earlier, on 60 Minutes.

In the segment, anchor Lesley Stahl tells a 23-year-old Zuckerberg he’s replaced Google cofounders Larry Page and Sergey Brin as the tech exec that “everyone is talking about.” In response, the CEO of Facebook says nothing, his face placid. “You’re just staring at me,” says Stahl. “Is that a question?” Zuckerberg shoots back. Cue the voiceover: “We were warned that he can be awkward and reluctant to talk about himself.”

Zuckerberg, now a 32-year-old dad with one daughter and another on the way, has evolved considerably in the intervening decade. He hired speechwriters. He spruced up his uniform from Valley schlub to monochrome minimalism. He took on a series of annual self-improvement challenges that made him into a “lifestyle guru” for some male tech workers, according to the New York Times Style section.

Read more at BuzzFeed.


Advertising, News, People

After the rise of ‘femvertising,’ is ‘oldvertising’ the next big thing?

Reebok’s new brand ambassador in China isn’t a taut young athlete, a muscular sports star or a dewy-cheeked model. It’s Wang Deshun, an 80-year-old grandfather who became an instant star after baring his super-ripped torso on the runway at Beijing Fashion Week in 2015.

Reebok’s official WeChat called Mr. Wang “the coolest grandpa” and noted that he had always reached for new experiences in life, such as learning English at age 44, starting fitness at 50 and showing off his abdominal muscles on a fashion runway at age 79. In a news release, the brand said his “example has helped reshape China’s views on aging and shown you’re never too old to pursue your goals.”

What’s more, Mr. Wang is not the first octogenarian to front a major sports brand’s campaign. Last year Nike centered an ad that ran during the Olympics on 86-year-old nun Sister Madonna Buder, who competes in Ironman races.

These are just two examples from a string of recent ads from all over the world in which the seniors have taken the spotlight. Meanwhile, the way brands target this age group is also changing.

Read more at Ad Age Creativity.

Video courtesy of Ad Age Creativity.


Events, News, People

Here are the winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prizes

Winners of the 2017 Pulitzer Prizes were announced Monday. The annual prizes, which mark the best in journalism from the year, have evolved over time to include digital and magazine journalism.

Public Service:

The New York Daily News and ProPublica

“For uncovering, primarily through the work of reporter Sarah Ryley, widespread abuse of eviction rules by the police to oust hundreds of people, most of them poor minorities.”

Finalists – Chicago Tribune
Houston Chronicle

Breaking News Reporting:

East Bay Times

“For relentless coverage of the “Ghost Ship” fire, which killed 36 people at a warehouse party, and for reporting after the tragedy that exposed the city’s failure to take actions that might have prevented it.”

Finalists – The Dallas Morning News Staff
The Orlando Sentinel Staff

Read more at Poynter.


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.

Advertising, Education, News, People, Places

Students taking on new skills, challenging authority

Here are two pieces from local and national papers highlighting students using media literacy tools to impact their communities.

This piece from the Kitsap Sun features elementary school students here in Washington tackling a popular advertising campaign.

Students in Heather Wilson’s library class frowned as they watched the time-lapse video of an ordinary woman transformed into a super-model. Bad enough the layering on of make-up, the teasing of hair. A few of the kids made gross-out faces, as the video showed the woman’s neck in a photo digitally lengthened before her image was slapped on a billboard.

The video, part of Dove’s “Real Beauty” campaign, has been around for a decade, but it was new to these fourth-graders, and it had the desired effect. The students learned — or had reinforced — the fact that images on the Internet can be digitally altered. Wilson asked them to think about an advertiser’s purpose in taking such liberties.

Read more at the Kitsap Sun.

Meanwhile these Kansas high school students began looking into their new principal’s past and discovered several discrepancies, causing her to resign. Their story of investigative journalism has since gone viral.

Connor Balthazor, 17, was in the middle of study hall when he was called into a meeting with his high school newspaper adviser.

A group of reporters and editors from the student newspaper, the Booster Redux at Pittsburg High School in southeastern Kansas, had gathered to talk about Amy Robertson, who was hired as the high school’s head principal on March 6.

The student journalists had begun researching Robertson, and quickly found some discrepancies in her education credentials.

Read more at The Washington Post.


Advertising, News, People, Social Media

Pepsi’s Kendall Jenner ad was so awful it did the impossible: It united the internet

In case you’ve just awakened from a brief coma, Pepsi is taking a lot of heat for its latest ad. The broad strokes: Its official title is the word salad “Live for Now Moments Anthem”; it features reality star/model Kendall Jenner (if your coma was not-so-brief, that’s a whole other thing, which we don’t have time to get into right now); its gist is that we should all unite and “join the conversation.” In that way, the soft drink ad succeeded. It did indeed provoke conversation—about Pepsi’s tone-deafness.

In the 2-minute-39-second “short film,” Jenner throws off the chains of the modeling industry by taking off her wig, then leaving a photoshoot to join a protest. After sharing some knowing nods and #woke-ass fist bumps with her fellow protestors, the Keeping Up with the Kardashians star manages to bring everyone together by … handing a cop a Pepsi. The message is clear: All those Women’s Marches, Black Lives Matter protests, and demonstrations outside Trump Tower would be much more effervescent—and effective!—if someone had just brought some soda.

Read more at Wired.

News, People, Resources, Technology

Read this before you ever make fun of Comic Sans again

In this interesting piece from Narratively, the author shares how the oft-maligned font Comic Sans is one of a few typefaces recommended by influential organizations like the British Dyslexia Association and the Dyslexia Association of Ireland.

This is because the the irregular shapes of the letters in Comic Sans allow readers with dyslexia to focus on the individual parts of words. This stands in marked contrast to the mockery the poor font receives from graphic designers and communications industry professionals the world over.

The article features a telling interview with the author’s sister, who has used the font throughout her schooling and is proudly completing a rigorous program in marine zoology at Bangor University in Wales, UK.

Read more at Narratively.

Image courtesy of Narratively.

Bill Update, Education, News, People, Politics

AME featured in News Tribune article regarding media literacy

An article about media literacy in the Tacoma News Tribune features several AME members discussing our impact within the education field and work on the Digitial Citizenship/Media Literacy bill. Linda Kennedy, Claire Beach and Marilyn Cohen are mentioned, as well as Senator Marko Liias, who has championed the bill since the very beginning.

The article quotes AME members and Senator Liias:

“Screens wake us up in the morning. They send us off to school,” says Linda Kennedy, a former Seattle television journalist who now offers media literacy education.

“It was something we needed to tackle, and we could do it in a way that does not put a burden on districts.” -Sen. Marko Liias, D-Lynnwood

“How do students interpret information they find online? That goes to the heart of media literacy…. We’re seeing thousands of devices being delivered into our schools,” Marilyn Cohen said. “We are in a revolution.”

Read more at The News Tribune.

News, People, Technology

Could Ms. Pac-Man train the next generation of military drones?

A recent article in The New Yorker explains how the video game (and sometimes feminist) icon will possibly impact the creation and use of military drones.

Pac-Mania was short-lived. The way in which the game was programmed meant that skilled and attentive players could eventually memorize its patterns. With mastery came boredom….Ms. Pac-Man’s grand innovation was to randomize the movements of the ghosts, named Inky, Blinky, Pinky, and Sue.

Three decades later, these simple tweaks serve a weighty new purpose. The skill that Ms. Pac-Man demands of its players—making multi-objective, dynamic decisions quickly—turns out to be the same ability that artificial-intelligence researchers wish to program into many of their bots. And according to Silvia Ferrari, the director of Cornell University’s Laboratory for Intelligent Systems and Controls, the game is an especially ideal environment for training autonomous military machines. In January, a bot that she created with three of her colleagues set a new A.I. world record for Ms. Pac-Man, beating the previous record by more than seven thousand points.

Read more at The New Yorker.

Image courtesy of The New Yorker.