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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10 Things Someone Who Grew Up In A Private School Knows

The 10 things that every private school-goer knows all too well.

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1. Uniforms

Plaid. The one thing that every private school-goer knows all too well. It was made into jumpers, skirts, shorts, scouts, hair ties, basically anything you could imagine, the school plaid was made into. You had many different options on what to wear on a normal day, but you always dreaded dress uniform day because of skirts and ballet flats. But it made waking up late for school a whole lot easier.

2. New people were a big deal

New people weren't a big thing. Maybe one or two a year to a grade, but after freshman year no one new really showed up, making the new kid a big deal.

3. You've been to school with most of your class since Kindergarten


Most of your graduating class has been together since Kindergarten, maybe even preschool, if your school has it. They've become part of your family, and you can honestly say you've grown up with your best friends.

4. You've had the same teachers over and over

Having the same teacher two or three years in a row isn't a real surprise. They know what you are capable of and push you to do your best.

5. Everyone knows everybody. Especially everyone's business.

Your graduating class doesn't exceed 150. You know everyone in your grade and most likely everyone in the high school. Because of this, gossip spreads like wildfire. So everyone knows what's going on 10 minutes after it happens.

6. Your hair color was a big deal

If it's not a natural hair color, then forget about it. No dyeing your hair hot pink or blue or you could expect a phone call to your parents saying you have to get rid of it ASAP.

7. Your school isn't like "Gossip Girl"

There is no eating off campus for lunch or casually using your cell phone in class. Teachers are more strict and you can't skip class or just walk right off of campus.

8. Sports are a big deal

Your school is the best of the best at most sports. The teams normally go to the state championships. The rest of the school that doesn't play sports attends the games to cheer on the teams.

9. Boys had to be clean-shaven, and hair had to be cut

If you came to school and your hair was not cut or your beard was not shaved, you were written up and made to go in the bathroom and shave or have the head of discipline cut your hair. Basically, if you know you're getting written up for hair, it's best just to check out and go get a hair cut.

10. Free dress days were like a fashion show

Wearing a school uniform every day can really drive you mad. That free dress day once a month is what you lived for. It was basically a fashion show for everyone, except for those upperclassmen who were over everything and just wore sweat pants.

Cover Image Credit: Authors Photos

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22 Things Parents Should Send Their Children At College, If They Love And Miss Them

We're getting to that point in the semester, y'all.

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Even though college students are just a little over a month into the spring semester, we are already feeling high amounts of stress over tests and papers. Nobody said college was going to be easy, and this statement is ringing truer and truer each day. So, to the parents, grandparents, or anybody else who loves us and cares about our well being, here are 22 things you should send us if you love and miss our presence.

1. Gift cards to the local grocery store. 

Preferably Walmart or Food Lion, since that's all we have here in Farmville, VA.

2. Room decor from the Target dollar section. 

Or anything from Target, for that matter. Some college towns don't have one of these glorious establishments, and we are experiencing withdrawals.

3. School supplies. 

You can never have too many sticky notes or colored pens.

4. Mints. 

Because some people need it after lunch, and gum is disgusting.

5. A cozy blanket. 

For those cold nights spent in the library until 2 in the morning.

6. A handwritten letter. 

These are one of my favorite things to get in the mail, and there is always something so sentimental about snail mail.

7. A giant box of fruit snacks...

Definitely one of my favorite grab and go snacks.

8. ... Or candy, in general. 

Preferably, gummies. But, I won't refuse chocolate candy either.

9. Cash. 

For those late night Taco Bell runs, or just to make us feel a little bit better about ourselves.

10.  A funny movie/DVD. 

There's something so simple and serene about watching a funny movie on a DVD player that brings us back to the less stressful times of our childhood.

11.  Hot chocolate mix. 

I always get random cravings for hot chocolate, but it's never enough to make me want to go buy a box of mix.

12.  Starbucks/Dunkin Donuts gift cards. 

Because the majority of our lives revolve around coffee, and sometimes our Keurigs just don't cut it.

13.  Peanut butter crackers. 

These are so quick and easy to eat between classes (or if you're like me, IN class).

14.  Scent diffuser. 

This can be even better if you send a scent that reminds us of home.

15.  Hair ties. 

For some reason, I only own about five at a time because I am always losing these!

16.  Homemade cookies/brownies. 

These always make me so happy knowing my mom took time out of her busy day to think of me and bake yummy treats.

17.  Gift cards for our favorite online shopping stores. 

What better way to relieve stress than buy clothes you don't need?

18.  Nail polish. 

You can never have too many bottles of the same shade of pink.

19.  Mug warmer. 

These help keep your cup of coffee warm for long periods of time so you don't end up wasting such a sacred drink.

20.  Lysol wipes/hand sanitizer. 

I go both of these things at an alarming rate because some places are just plain disgusting.

21.  Band-aids. 

No one ever really thinks of buying these, but they work for so many more reasons than their typical use.

22.  iTunes gift card. 

For all those "educational apps" our professors tell us to buy. *wink wink*

Every college student loves getting a care package in the mail, so if you really love and miss us, please send one our way!

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