Meet The Professor Debunking The Fake News Epidemic

Meet The Professor Debunking The Fake News Epidemic

Professor Kathleen Hall Jamieson is teaching students and community members about political and viral deception, otherwise known as the “fake news” phenomenon.
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Fake news has almost become a political buzzword — but in reality, it is a journalism and media problem that is lead and directed by the public and platforms of sharing.

One of the nation’s leading experts in political communication and news coverage traveled to Indiana University on Tuesday to speak to students and community members about political and viral deception, otherwise known as the “fake news” phenomenon. Professor of Communication at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania Kathleen Hall Jamieson has traveled to universities across the country to urge audiences to reject the concept of fake news.

Jamieson first used examples to prove that fake news is a problem and show how destructive it can be to society. She used an example of a video that was released in 1990 of the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador falsely testifying against Saddam Hussein. When this video went viral, it mobilized national action and helped propel the United States into war against Iraq in the early '90s. This immediately got the audience's reaction, many of whom were already realizing the huge impact that viral fake news can have.

Other dangers that Jamieson noted were that fake news can mislead the electoral about policy, as it did in the case of Obama’s broadcasted incorrect information about the Affordable Care Act, and that it can impugn character, like when Daily Mail falsely claimed that Melania Trump was an escort.

Jamieson also urges the audience to consider the definition of the buzzword, “fake news,” which has been a term coined by Donald Trump during the election when referring to mainstream media today. She rejects the term “fake news” and instead urges the audience to use the term “viral deception.”

She said, “I want you to move from the motion of fake news because news has a positive connotation, to the disease of VD, or Viral Deception.” The audience erupted into laughter at her comparison of fake news to a very unwanted disease.

It is clear throughout her speech that Jamison used examples of viral deception on all sides of the political spectrum. She urges the audience to also look for misinformation on their side of an issue, which can be hard to do because studies have shown that we are prone to accept information consistent with existing beliefs.

The most important strategy that Jamison emphasizes when it comes to debunking viral deception is to stop it before circulation. She emphasized Facebook’s work in this effort. Facebook works to fact check articles and inform readers before they share the articles containing false information.

Jamieson said, “They [Facebook] are not outright killing the content; they are reducing it to the feed.” She says this is the key to debunking viral deception long term.

A senior in the Kelley School of Business, Bryce Rickman said, “From a business point of view, I think it is interesting that businesses like Facebook are doing a journalist’s job and fact-checking articles on their platform. I think it’s more purposeful in the sense of loyalty to its customers to prevent them from sharing false information,” after listening to Jamieson’s lecture.

About 270 Indiana University students, professors, and community members attended her speech at the Presidents Hall for the Patten Foundation lecture series. Jamieson urges the journalism professors and students in the audience to try to teach strategies and good practices to ultimately eradicate viral deception and to create a more informed public that can distinguish what news is reliable.

She said, “The ultimate protection against this issue is all of us in the education field.”

Cover Image Credit: Creative Commons

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7 Truths About Being A Science Major

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Whether your major is Human Bio, Chemistry, Neuroscience or any other that deals with a lot of numbers, theories, experiments and impossibly memorizing facts, you know the pressures of pursuing a career in this field. So without further ado, here are seven truths about being a science major:

1. There is no “syllabus week.”

Coming back to college in the fall is one of the best times of the year. Welcome week has become most students' favorite on-campus holiday. But then you have syllabus week: another widely celebrated week of no responsibilities… Unless you’re a science major that is. While your other friends get to enjoy this week of getting to know their professors and class expectations, you get to learn about IUPAC nomenclature of alkanes on the first day of organic chem.

2. Your heart breaks every time you have to buy a new textbook.

Somehow every professor seems to have their own “special edition” textbook for class… And somehow it’s always a couple hundred bucks… And somehow, it's ALWAYS required.

3. Hearing "attendance is not mandatory," but knowing attendance is VERY mandatory.

Your professor will tell you that they don’t take attendance. Your professor will put all lecture slides online. Your professor will even record their lectures and make those available as well. Yet if you still don’t go to class, you’ll fail for sure. Coming into lecture after missing just one day feels like everyone has learned an entire new language.

4. You’re never the smartest person in your class anymore.

No matter what subject, what class or what concentration, there will always be someone who is just that much better at it than you.

5. You get totally geeked out when you learn an awesome new fact.

Today in genetics you learned about mosaicism. The fact that somebody can have a disease in part of their total body cells but normal throughout all others gets you so hype. Even though you know that your family, friends and neighbors don’t actually care about your science facts, you HAVE to tell them all anyways.

6. There is never enough time in a day.

You are always stuck choosing between studying, eating, sleeping and having fun. If you're lucky, you'll get three of these done in one day. But if you're a risk taker, you can try to do all of these at once.

7. You question your major (and your sanity) almost daily.

This is especially true when it’s on a Tuesday night and you’ve already consumed a gallon of Starbucks trying to learn everything possible before your . Or maybe this is more prevalent when you have only made it through about half of the BioChem chapter and you have to leave for your three hour lab before your exam this afternoon. Regardless, you constantly wonder if all the stress is actually worth it, but somehow always decide that it is.

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Saying "No" Is OK

It is okay to put yourself first and do what's best for you

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It's that time of year again when your days are filled with nothing but class, work, assignments, clubs, extracurricular activities and much more. Your time and brain are going in every possible direction. But what if it didn't have to be that way? What if letting go, actually gave you something back? That's right, I am talking about the word no and all it can do for you.

I too, fall into the trap of doing more is better. Having all my time devoted to activities or work is good for me. Taking nineteen plus credits hours somehow makes me a better person, even smarter person. Well, I hate to break it you, and me, that this thought process is extremely detrimental.

There are no rules that say we must do everything and anything. If there are, they are wrong. And that's why saying no is so important.

Currently, I am taking nineteen credit hours. Soon, I am going to make sure that it is sixteen. After the first week of classes, I discovered I was in a class that would provide me with a wonderful education, but it was not counting towards my major. After thinking about it long and hard, I decided that it would be best to say no to this particular class.

Before this year, I would have said, it's okay (even if it wasn't) and muster through the class. To the old me, dropping a class would be like quitting, but I cannot even begin to tell you, and me, how far from the truth that is.

Saying no is brave. Saying no is the right thing to do. Saying no allows you to excel in other areas. Because I have decided to say no, I am opening two more hours in my day. I am relieving myself of work and projects that would add to my already hectic schedule. I am doing what is best for me.

However, there is a part two to this no phenomenon. Continuing with my example, I now have two open hours in my week. The overachiever in me would try to find something to fill it. Maybe another club or activity. Maybe more hours at work or a place to volunteer. And while none of these are bad things to do or have in your life, you are just replacing a time taker with another. When you say no, mean it and don't fill it.

This is your year to say no. Not because you are lazy. Not because you aren't smart enough. Not because you can't. Say no because it is best for you. Say no because it frees you. Say no because you can!

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