[sust-mar] Reposting: Mount Allison University talk on Fighting Fake News aims to test & teach

Laura Landon laura.landon at bellaliant.net
Mon Jan 30 18:03:48 EST 2017

Don't get fooled again: Mount A. session on "fake news" aims to test and

Feb. 3, 2017-Did Google put fake news at the top of its search page? Did the
U.S. House Science Committee tweet that climate change is bogus? Did
teenagers make thousands of dollars with a fake news story about Justin
Trudeau and marijuana?

"Fake news is on the rise," says Erin Steuter, a sociology professor and
media expert at Mount Allison University, which is hosting a talk on fake
news on Friday, Feb. 3. "You see the story everywhere and it starts to feel
true. You're surrounded by it."

Fighting Fake News: Tips for Aspiring Truth Detectives is a 90-minute
session led by Professor Steuter and colleague Jeff Lilburn, a librarian
specializing in media literacy. The event, which will be held from 3:30 to
5:00 p.m. on Feb. 3 in the Mount Allison Library theatre, is free and open
to the public. It will cover current examples of fake news, why fake news is
on the rise, and how it has political consequences. The session will also
give participants tools they can use to identify and debunk fake news.

"A big part of what we're doing is highlighting the importance of
information sources and how to critically evaluate them. Libraries are where
you go for that," says Jeff Lilburn.

"People are trying to trick us," says Steuter. "And I don't think people
want to live in a world where many are ignoring facts."

Even media-savvy sociology professors aren't exempt from the fake-news trap.
Steuter says she received a forwarded e-mail message containing a shocking
comparison of two Wall Street Journal covers from the same day. The covers
had identical photos and dates, but radically different headlines. The
explanation supplied with the photos said one edition was for an East Coast
audience, and the other for Texas.

"It looked like the newspaper was pandering to different audiences based on
what each one would want to hear," said Steuter. "I was going to forward it.
But then I decided something smelled a bit fishy."

Snopes-a web source that debunks a variety of false online claims-saved her
the embarrassment of passing along a fake story. Steuter and Lilburn will
point to many other useful tools and tips to identify and deconstruct fake

"We're news junkies," says Steuter. "We'll help you get some skills so you
won't be fooled."


What: Fighting Fake News: Tips for Aspiring Truth Detectives
When: Friday, Feb. 3 from 3:30 p.m. - 5:00 p.m.
Where: R.P. Bell Library, Mount Allison University. Library Theatre, Room
Why: To help people understand, identify and debunk fake news



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