I’ve converted the curriculum for the first week of this info literacy learning community covering fake news into this newsletter. This post is divided into three sections that you can review and study at your leisure this week.
Fake News existed well before the term was popularized. With the advent of digital technologies it has evolved to dominate online spaces through social amplification and virality. Now there’s a lot of money to be made in the fake news industry, even before legitimate and illegitimate political advertisements join the mix. In other words, fake news will continue to surround us for the foreseeable future, so how do we address misinformation and the onslaught of targeted fake news in our communities and in our classrooms?
Our goal for the next several weeks is to tackle questions like this as we study news, technology, and its impacts on society.
Before we take the dive, I wanted to pause a moment to give a disclaimer. In our time together, we’ll view things that are upsetting and emotionally taxing. There’s no way around it— propaganda and weaponized technologies are not fun topics, but they are very real challenges we face. So, I ask that you constantly reflect on your emotional and mental state as you engage with this content. Both in the name of your health and because fact-checking and combatting misinformation require being aware of our biases and state of mind. Not to mention there may be polarizing topics and issues where we’ll disagree and need to remain conscientious that we are all human.
This week, keep a few questions in mind as you’re studying fake news, such as “Why does Fake news exist?” “What intentions do people producing fake news have?” and “How do we personally deal with fake news when we see it?” An example to the first question, this video sheds some light on the monetary motivations of some people producing fake news.
Additionally, this week, familiarize yourself with some reputable fact-checking organizations (from Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers). This will be your first line of defense against misinformation. We’ll dive into more specific fact-checking next week.
- Washington Post Fact Checker
- Truth be Told
- NPR Fact-Check
- Lie Detector (Univision, Spanish language)
- Hoax Slayer“
As you feel compelled, here are a few more topics that make up the complexities of fake news. Explore as your interests inspire you:
- Reading: Reality and Truth in our Political Discourse by Cindy Simon Rosenthal
- Reading: Real News, Fake News: For Lawmakers, No News is Good News by Mary Layton Atkinson
- Reading: Fake News: A Perfect Storm by Patrick C. Meirick
- Reading: Fake News, adtech, and the spread of misinformation by Kris Shaffer
- Activity: Mining Twitter data with R, TidyText, and TAGS from Kris Shaffer
- Reading: Adtech and Misinformation: the Middlemen Who Sell to All Sides by Bill Fitzgerald
- Reading: Media Literacy When the Platforms Are Complicit by Bill Fitzgerald
- Reading: AdTech, the New York Times, and Normalizing Fascism by Bill Fitzgerald
For the Classroom
- Reading: Growth in Presenting: reflections on “combating fake news” by Autumm Caines
- Curriculum: Fake News/Media Literacy Overview and Digital Comic Lesson Plan by Kevin Hodgson
- Curriculum: News Literacy Course from The Center for News Literacy
- Video: How to seek truth in the era of fake news featuring Christiane Amanpour
Lastly, you’re invited to reflect this week on questions such as:
- From the content you studied this week, what should we be teaching our students about fake news?
- What’s a small change you can make in your course for the benefit of your students?
If you’d like for your reflections to contribute towards a “collection of recommendations” composed of all the reflections of participants in this training, you can submit your thoughts to this form.