Defining the Fake News Moment: Fiction, Fad, Fatal or Media Lit Opportunity? – Alumni Hall

Bill Densmore, Katherine Fry, Allison Butler, & Mellisa Zimdars

Link to Wiki and Collaborative Statement


In the last six months, our political discourse has been infected by a new term: “Fake News.”  In a 45-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 p0int 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. The “catalysts” will include Katherine Fry, a journalism scholar and co-founder of a media literacy organization who teaches graduate media-literacy education at CUNY-Brooklyn, Allison Butler, who runs the media-literacy certificate program and teaches at UMass Amherst, and Mellisa Zimdars, Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at Merrimack College who is 
working with a team of librarians and computer programmers to create tools for navigating “news” websites through the OpenSources project.  They’ll be joined by Bill Densmore, a director of Journalism That Matters and a research fellow of the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute at the Missouri School of Journalism. After the plenary discussion, Fry, Bulter and Zimdars will each lead half-hour, deeper-dive breakouts.

Here is the Link to Wiki and Collaborative Statement