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DIGITAL ENGagement Conference

Center for Worker Education--CUNY / 25 Broadway / New York N.Y.
Sponsored by the M.S. program in Media Studies at Brooklyn College

(This page also linked from: http://tinyurl.com/ccsu-fake-news
This is a update of a page (SEE ORIGINAL) first created for a breakout session of the Northeast Media Literacy Conference: The Past, Present and Future of Media Literacy Education held on Sat., Feb. 4, 2017 at Central Connecticut State University in New Britain, Conn. You can listen to AUDIO of Fake News plenary on Feb. 4. You can also view Notes of plenary-session discussion as well as Notes of subsequent breakout sessions. The session in Connecticut was called: Defining the Fake News Moment: Fiction, Fad, Fatal or Media Lit Opportunity?. Participants were Katherine Fry, Allison Butler, Mellisa Zimdars and Bill Densmore.

The situation

In the last seven months, our political discourse has been infected by a new term: “Fake News.” In a 70-minute, circle-round session, we’ll probe the limits of what the term might mean, and how it might be an opportunity to mainstream media-literacy education. We’ll drive toward a consensus statement, addressing such questions as: How do current concepts of “fake” news differ from what was published by 18th-century pamphleteers, or 1960s supermarket tabloids? Is news “fake” based on point of view only, or because it reports as facts things that are demonstrably untrue? Is it only “fake” if its intention is to mislead? Who defines “mislead?” In an age when all of us can be reporters via our Facebook feed, do we all need tutoring on how to create — and consume — trustworthy reporting and information? In social media, is news now anything more than verified gossip? Who is the trusted verifier? Our “conversation catalysts” will start the discussion, then we’ll invite all to to participate.

Updates since Feb. 4

What do we mean by 'fake news'?"

  • NYTIMES: Media's next challenge -- overcoming the thread of fake news
    EXCERPT: “It’s the biggest crisis facing our democracy, the failing business model of real journalism,” Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri and a longtime critic of fake news, told me on Saturday. Ms. McCaskill said that “journalism is partly to blame” for being slow to adjust as the internet turned its business model upside down and social media opened the competitive floodgates. “Fake news got way out ahead of them,” she said.

"Fake news" -- A metaphor for all that ails our media ecosystem?

  • Lack of facts / alternate facts
  • A partisan intent to mislead through hoaxes
  • Comedy, satire masquerading as real
  • Undisclosed/obfuscated point of view -- an opportunity for media-literacy educators?


  • A robust, liberating cacaphony of voices -- but who are they and what motivates them?
  • The decline of trusted "gatekeepers" (See: RJI report)
  • Do we need a new paradigm for trusted information (See: infotrust.org)


  • the 21st Century Journalism Code project
  • CraigsList founder has a plan to save journalism | CRAIG NEWMARK: I'm joining the fight against fake news" -- Inside Philanthropy
  • Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post: "It's time to (just) retire the tainted term "fake news" | Jan. 8, 2017
  • How libraries can lead the way | American Libraries Magazine
  • Helping Youth Think Critically in an Age of Fake News | Youth Today (online)

    Also see: Frank Romano (RIT emeritus) published, 1990 in TypeWorld: "We are the Press"


    What consensus statement can we reach about news, trust, community and citizenship in a media-literate society?

      • What do we mean by fake news?
      • What do we do about it?
      • What roles must media-literacy educators -- and the public -- play?
      • Allison Butler: How to bring subject of "truth" into classroom?
      • Allison Butler: Who is on charge of "the truth" and how can youth make sense of it?


    Our “conversation catalysts” include:


      BELOW FROM: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/01/11/opinion/online-and-scared.html


      It’s a huge legal, moral and strategic problem, and it will require . . . “a new social compact” to defuse.
      Work on that compact has to start with every school teaching children digital civics. And that begins with teaching them that the internet is an open sewer of untreated, unfiltered information, where they need to bring skepticism and critical thinking to everything they read and basic civic decency to everything they write.
      A Stanford Graduate School of Education study published in November found “a dismaying inability by students to reason about information they see on the internet. Students, for example, had a hard time distinguishing advertisements from news articles or identifying where information came from. … One assessment required middle schoolers to explain why they might not trust an article on financial planning that was written by a bank executive and sponsored by a bank. The researchers found that many students did not cite authorship or article sponsorship as key reasons for not believing the article.”
      Prof. Sam Wineburg, the lead author of the report, said: “Many people assume that because young people are fluent in social media they are equally perceptive about what they find there. Our work shows the opposite to be true.”


  • STANFORD STUDY: Most students can't tell fake news from real news
  • WIRED MAGAZINE: Journalism Fights for Surviva in a Post-Truth Era
  • THE GUARDIAN: If newspapers won't check viral stories, who will listen to them about 'fake news'?
  • YOUTHTODAY.ORG: Help Youth Think Critically in Age of 'Fake News'
  • MICHAEL ORESKES/NPR: "Audiences, Citizens and the Future of Journalism" -- Speech Oct. 19, 2007 at ONA Toronto
  • MICHAEL COPPS / FCC: Getting Media Right: A call to Action -- Speech, Dec. 2, 2010, NYC
  • HOWARD DEAN: On the failure of American media to call out Donald Trump's campaign untruths -- Jan. 12/Williams College
  • DIGIDAY: Internet's underbelling: How digital advertising feeds fake news
  • MARKETINGLAND: Why Google may not be able to stop fake news
  • Shorenstein Center's academic resources and reports on 'fake news'
  • Digiday: How content ad networks fund fake news
  • AP story summarizes Trump-CNN dispute over Russian report
  • NYTimes, Amanda Taub: "The Real Story about Fake News is Partisanship"
  • TECH: How Facebook and Google technologies make lies as pretty as truth | The Verge
  • TECH: Why Google may not be able to stop fake news | MarketingLand
  • The BBC is setting up a team to detect and debunk so-called 'fake news'
  • Craig Newmark gives $1M to Poynter Institute to help with ethics and 'fake news' challenge | SECOND STORY/Inside Philanthropy
  • What does a news organization optimized for trust look like?
  • VANITY FAIR: Preparing for 2016 -- an environment of even more-scary fake news?
  • NYTIMES: In race against fake news, Google and Facebook stroll to the starting line
  • COLUMBIA JOURNALISM REVIEW: Is fake news a fake problem?
  • TECHCRUNCH: Facebook changes algorithms to avoid posts that are fake, promotional or spam
  • THE VERGE: How Facebook and Google content technologies make lies as pretty as truth
  • THE GUARDIAN: The real crisis in journalism is geographic


  • Walter Williams: The Journalist's Creed
  • American Society of News Editors: Statement of Principles
  • BOOK: New Ethics of Journalism by Kelly McBride and Tom Rosenstiel
  • Society of Professional Journalists: Code of Ethics
  • The 21st Century Journalism Code project