News, People

The information war is real, and we’re losing it

A University of Washington professor started studying social networks to help people respond to disasters. But she got dragged down a rabbit hole of twitter-boosted conspiracy theories, and ended up mapping our political moment.

This article by The Seattle Times quotes crisis informatics professor Kate Starbird:

“Your brain tells you ‘Hey, I got this from three different sources,’ ” she says. “But you don’t realize it all traces back to the same place, and might have even reached you via bots posing as real people. If we think of this as a virus, I wouldn’t know how to vaccinate for it.”

Starbird says she’s concluded, provocatively, that we may be headed toward “the menace of unreality — which is that nobody believes anything anymore.”

Read more at The Seattle Times.

Image courtesy of The Seattle Times.

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, People

Well known media agency features long-time, senior employee as SXSW correspondent

J. Walter Thompson (JWT), a well known marketing and communications brand, is covering the South by Southwest (SXSW) conference for the first time. SXSW is an annual conglomerate of film, interactive media, and music festivals and conferences that take place annually in Austin, TX.

JWT has decided to feature their longest-serving employee, Ginny Bahr, as the media correspondent, as she has been with the agency for 65 years and has seen firsthand the continuous developments within media and technology.

Bahr has worked at the agency since 1951 and is reporting on SXSW from the agency’s New York office, highlighting short videos about some conference highlights. The videos are being posted on Twitter, as well as on a microsite created by the agency, Ms. Bahr won’t disclose her age, but said, "You’d be amazed!"

"I was asked to participate in this current project since I’ve seen technology change so quickly over the years," she said. "I was flattered and a little scared at first, but so far it’s been a lot of fun and I hope my appearances have helped to inform people that can’t be there."

So far, Ms. Bahr said she’s enjoyed seeing "how modern technology has increased at such a rapid rate."

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

Fake News, News, People

Students highlight products made by refugees in clever sticker campaign

Two students from a New York high school have come up with a creative way to highlight how refugees have contributed to American life, during a time when refugees and immigration are a hot topic due to the President’s recent travel ban,

Kien Quan and Jillian Young have been going around stores in New York City and pasting "Made by Refugee" stickers on any products that were created by refugee migrants.

Books, food, cars and records have all been adorned. The stickers are available for others to download and share as well. You can download and print a sticker sheet to label products, and follow the campaign’s Facebook page.

"This inspiration came from one of my Facebook rants," explained Mr. Quan. "Reading up on the fact that refugees have always been unwelcomed throughout history, I realized that if Vietnamese refugees did not make it over in the 1970s, we would not have the privilege to rave about today’s newest craze, Sriracha. Afterwards, my partner and I just expanded the idea into many more examples."

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of AdAge.

News, People

A refreshing media moment that gets a laugh

Two children crashed their father’s BBC interview this past weekend, and made the internet smile.

Robert E. Kelly, a political-science professor at Pusan National University in South Korea, appeared as an expert on the BBC via Skype to discuss the South Korea impeachment scandal.

Midway through the interview, his children came in, and under 40 seconds, endeared themselves and their parents to the world.

View the video clip below. Read more about this at The New York Times.

Advertising, News, People

Women’s History Month celebrated with creative advertising

In honor of Women’s History Month, several companies are rolling out interesting and engaging marketing campaigns to build on the enthusiasm. Among them are:

Brawny, the kitchen towel brand, has temporarily replaced its logo of the buff "Brawny Man" with a female version. This is part of a larger campaign to honor "women who exhibit strength and resilience and have broken down barriers." Read more at Creativity.

Echoing this, General Electric has developed emojis of famous female scientists, for purchase within the app store. The emojis include engineer Millie Dresselhaus, Katharine Burr Blodgett, the first woman to receive a PhD from the University of Cambridg, and nuclear physicist Chien-Shiung Wu, among others. Read more at Creativity.
Image courtesy of Creativity.

News, People

An interesting story about the man whose claim to fame was telling us about junk food

Holy_Chicken_Morgan Spurlock

Morgan Spurlock, the man whose “Super Size Me” helped shine a light on overeating at fast-food chains more than a decade ago, has a new job: owner of a fast-food restaurant. Yes, really. Mr. Spurlock, who famously ate massive McDonald’s meals over the course of his 2004 film, just opened Holy Chicken! to serve “fast food with integrity” such as crispy chicken sandwiches and sides such as crunchy green beans, in Columbus, Ohio. A representative said the restaurant served well over 500 people on Saturday’s grand opening day and sold out of food by 3 p.m. Along with raising its own chickens, the for now one-shop restaurant serves food that it says is “hormone free, antibiotic free, cage free, free range, farm raised, humanely raised and 100% natural!”

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of Ad Age.

News, People

The problem with Ken Bone

The meteoric rise of internet sensation Ken Bone brought about costumes, memes and general online admiration. He was a speck of authenticity and optimism during what was a heavy, and at times, brutal second debate.

But his fifteen minutes of fame are coming to an end as detractors have shared his browsing history, online comments and basic humanness with the rest of the world, showing that even this hero is a simple man.

Without considering the fickle mind of internet fans, Ebay proudly endorsed him on Imgur, a photosharing website closely related to Reddit, without actually reading the commentary that came out of Ken’s “ask me anything” Reddit session.

As the backlash against Ken began to swell, Ebay pulled the photo ad to negate any negative associations, proving once again that brand and ambassador vetting is important.

Read more at Ad Age.

Image courtesy of CNN.

News, People

Longtime media mogul leaves for new venture

ariannahuffingtonArianna Huffington has changed her departure date from Huffington Post, the online publication that she co-founded in 2005. After the publication was sold to Verizon as part of a $4.4 billion deal to acquire parent company AOL, Huffington said she would stay on until 2019. Now she is announcing that she plans to leave her position to found a new venture.

“I thought HuffPost would be my last act. But I’ve decided to step down as HuffPost’s editor-in-chief to run my new venture, Thrive Global,” said Huffington via Twitter on August 11.

Read more at the Stream Daily TV.

Image courtesy of Stream Daily TV.

Advertising, News, People

Media perpetuates body image expectations even Olympians can’t shoulder

swimming-eating-disordersOlympic female swimmers Misty Hyman, Maya DiRado and Amanda Beard discuss female athletes’ attempts to cope with issues of body image and eating disorders.  Body image has special meaning for these young women in a world of unrealistic expectations about the female body promoted by the media.

Hyman battled bulimia for almost 10 years, beginning with her senior year in high school. She told USA Today that her eating disorder became a way of coping. “Part of it was my own insecurities; part of it was my own control, the sense of being in control or something I could control,” Hyman said. “It wasn’t strictly just a body image issue or strictly just, ‘I’m trying to perform better.’ As an athlete I think there were other emotional challenges that I manifested into my eating disorder as a way of coping.”

Read more at Teen Vogue.

Image courtesy of Teen Vogue.

News, People

Remembering Mohammad Ali

The recent death of Mohammad Ali has sparked a whole new conversation about this great athlete and his influence which extended far beyond the world of boxing. News of Ali’s death spread quickly throughout the world.

I enjoyed taking a few minutes just to compare and contrast the ways different newspapers chose to announce his death to their readers. To view some sample front pages, check out this article from Ad Age magazine.

News, People

Justin Bieber image compared to Renaissance paintings, classical art

While a somewhat irritating public figure, it appears that Justin Bieber has recently endeared himself to art aficionados and meme enthusiasts.

Maxim, Yahoo News and other sources cite a photo taken from his visit to a Houston nightclub as inciting multiple online art discussions, revolving around use of placement, perspective and action.

The articles and others compare the image to Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

Continue reading “Justin Bieber image compared to Renaissance paintings, classical art”

News, People

Beyonce visual album discussed on PBS

Don’t miss this piece on PBS News Hour with University of Pennsylvania’s Salamishah Tillet as she explains how Beyonce’s Lemonade allows the artist to align herself with and benefit from the new technologies available to her while at the same time maintaining control of her content.

Her visual album addresses issues such as femininity, African-American culture and romance, and utilized media platforms HBO and Tidal, a music streaming service (owned by husband and fellow artist Jay-Z).

View the interview below:


News, People

Mattel’s new “Hello Barbie” doll saying goodbye

Campaign for a Commercial Free Childhoood (CCFC) is encouraging its members to celebrate the difference their collective voices have made in the lagging sales of Mattel’s new Hello Barbie doll.

Nearly 45,000 people signed CCFC’s petitions urging Mattel not to release the doll that records and analyzes children’s conversations. See CCFC’s article for more information Hell No Barbie: 8 Reasons to Leave Hello Barbie on the Shelf.

Coinciding with this is a report from Bloomberg News that sales of Barbie are extremely weak.

News, People

Never before seen footage of Prince reminds us of his critique of media

With his recent passing, Media Burn just released a never before seen profile of Prince from 1984 from a TV pilot called Rocker.  It was produced just after the release of Purple Rain.

It hasn’t been seen in 32 years and features behind the scenes footage and commentary about our favorite ruffly shirt wearing singer.

As one of the few artists to be vocal in his critique of media and copyright use, we share this video with you in the hopes that you’ll remember his excellence as an artist and musician, and his sensitivity and intelligence to the impact media has in our lives.

Additional headlines about Prince and his passing felt around the world were compiled by Ad Age.