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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If You Wanna Be A Humanities Major, Know Your Worth

A call to arms or a sinking ship? How we should feel about being Humanities majors.
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In the wake of the tragic blows Stony Brook University has made against the Humanities departments, the overall sense of self and self-preservation within has been oceanic and more Byronic than ever. At moments it can feel like an opportunity for protest and community bonding, in others its reminiscent of being on a sinking ship.

We as Humanities majors can recognize our utility to society, that we are not all aspiring solely to be poets or artists, that there are myriad other career paths for us to follow and be just as successful as the deified STEMs, but with the stigma surrounding liberal arts, there is becoming less room for us in academia. The Modern Language Association (MLA) has reported that the full-time jobs in teaching English and foreign language has been steadily withering for the past five years with the number of job ads for tenure-track assistant professor of English positions declining from 879 in the 2007-08 year to 320 in 2016-17.

See also: Dear Stony Brook University, Stop Cutting Back Programs That Aren't 'STEM' Enough

The knee-jerk reaction to these numbers is the claim that society just isn’t valuing the critical thinking skills that the Humanities teach as much as they once did. It’s no question that it certainly feels this way. Most college-related websites are guilty of focusing their sights on increasing the volume of STEM majors. High school students bombard themselves with articles and lists stating the "The 10 Best College Majors For The Future" (which to no surprise at all does not list any Humanities field) to facilitate the responsibility of choosing a major that will supposedly "guarantee" a job or a high salary.

Sure, in modern society the amount of money needed for a comfortable lifestyle is increasing, and median salary numbers can be informative, but the more important variable for an individual’s future is the individual: their interest in the field, their success in it, their hard work, and their drive to reach the top and earn the salary they deserve.

In fear of becoming preachy, I’ll leave you with this. For all of my peers, predecessors, colleagues, and prospectives, we must hold down the fort. We are important for more than just learning how to write and communicate clearly.

Almost every question we ask ourselves is a question for the Humanities. When you want to know something more deeply, past empirical reasoning, that is a question for the Humanities. Politics, ethics, sociology, history, art, literature—these are the questions of the Humanities and they are all inherently valuable.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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31 Quotes for Theatre Majors

Wise words for the drama in your soul.
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Every theatre major is drawn towards two things: the human experience - or at the very least, the storytelling of it - and the movement from words on a page to life, especially on a stage.

Here's a series of quotes that speak to the gamut:


"I regard the theatre as the greatest of all art forms, the most immediate way in which a human being can share with another the sense of what it is to be a human being." - Thornton Wilder

"The further a society drifts from the truth the more it will hate those that speak it." - George Orwell

"The theatre was created to tell people the truth about life and the social situation." - Stella Adler

"When you ask me why I care so much, I wonder why you do not. When you ask me how I do so much, I wonder how you do not. When you ask me what I'm trying to prove, I wonder what you are not. You ask because you wonder, I wonder because you ask." -Ashley Owen Hill


"A theatre, a literature, an artistic expression that does not speak for its own time has no relevance." - Dario Fo

"I actually think that the most efficacious way of making a difference is to lead by example, and doing random acts of kindness is setting a very good example of how to behave in the world." - Misha Collins

"The theatre is a world in itself. The possibility for creating experiences that move people is increased many times over. In the end, the best stories are usually about a battle of good over evil - that has never changed." - Cat Stevens

"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion." - Albert Camus

"Unless the theatre can ennoble you, make you a better person, you should flee from it." - Constantin Stanislavski

“The only way you can conquer me is through love and there I am gladly conquered.” - Bhagavad Gita

"A theatre is the most important sort of house in the world because that's where people are shown what they could be if they wanted and what they'd like to be if they dared to and what they really are." - Tove Jansson

"History shows us that the people who end up changing the world are always nuts, until they are right, and then they are geniuses." - John Eliot

"I like the ephemeral thing about theatre, every performance is like a ghost - it's there and then it's gone." - Maggie Smith

"The only thing that makes life possible is permanent, intolerable uncertainty; not knowing what happens next." - Ursula K. Le Guin

"Great theatre is about challenging how we think and encouraging us to fantasize about a world we aspire to." - Willem Dafoe

“I promise I shall never give up, and that I’ll die yelling and laughing, and that until then I’ll rush around this world I insist is holy and pull at everyone’s lapel and make them confess to me and to all.”- Jack Kerouac

"Our stories come from our lives and from the playwright’s pen, the mind of the actor, the roles we create, the artistry of life itself and the quest for peace.” – Maya Angelou

"Oh we're a mess, poor humans, poor flesh—hybrids of angels and animals, dolls with diamonds stuffed inside them. We've been to the moon and we're still fighting over Jerusalem.
Let me tell you what I do know: I am more than one thing, and not all of those things are good. The truth is complicated. It’s two-toned, multi-vocal, bittersweet. I used to think that if I dug deep enough to discover something sad and ugly, I’d know it was something true. Now I’m trying to dig deeper.
I didn’t want to write these pages until there were no hard feelings, no sharp ones. I do not have that luxury. I am sad and angry and I want everyone to be alive again. I want more landmarks, less landmines." - Richard Siken

"People who believe they’ll be happy if they go and live somewhere else, learn it doesn’t work that way. Wherever you go, you take yourself with you." - Neil Gaiman

"If you go looking for adventure, you usually find as much of it as you can manage. And it often happens that when you think it is ahead, it comes on you unexpectedly from behind." - J.R.R. Tolkien

"Those who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it." - George Bernard Shaw

"It's okay to fall down and lose your spark. Just make sure that when you get back up, you rise as the whole damn fire." - Collete Werden

“I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them.” - Pablo Picasso

"I don't want to be a product of my environment. I want my environment to be a product of me." - The Departed

“All the world’s a stage
And all the men and women merely players:
The have their exits and entrances;
And one man in his time plays many parts.” - William Shakespeare


"Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Willing is not enough; we must do." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

"When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak." - Audre Lorde

"Hardships often prepare ordinary people for extraordinary destiny." - C.S. Lewis

"We fear violence less than our own feelings. Personal, private, solitary pain is more terrifying than what anyone else can inflict." - Jim Morrison

“Never apologize for burning too brightly or collapsing into yourself every night. That is how galaxies are made.” - Tyler Kent White

“It matters not who you love, where you love, why you love, when you love or how you love, it matters only that you love.” - John Lennon

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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