Following the epic failure of media on election coverage, one of the thoughts that has crossed my mind frequently of late is that my job seems to have gotten exponentially harder in the last two weeks.
That’s not really, true.
The real truth is that my job was exponentially hard than I had realized. Confronting the truth of your professional failure is painful, but if you ever hope to get better you need to look at your truth. All of it. Even the ugly parts.
The truth here is that we (everybody, but I’m a school librarian so this is aimed, largely, at that audience) should have been teaching the difference between “news media” and “journalism.”
This piece by Kaitlyn Tiffany via The Verge made the school librarian rounds last week:
In the war on fake news, school librarians have a huge role to play – The Verge
Concern about the prevalence of fake or sensationally biased news sources has escalated in the days following the presidential election, with many citing it as a factor (some even the primary cause) of Donald Trump’s win.
“It seems like there are two different types of literacy to talk about here. There’s the academic literacy, which is about looking for the academic sources and peer-reviewed sources that are necessary for your formal education, and then there’s this citizen-training which is more about being savvy about the type of information that you see around you all the time. Is that second type of literacy actually a part of written curricula or do you just have to hope individual librarians consider it important enough to teach?…”
This stuff is hard for a 14-year old human being to grasp. Think about this. This stuff is hard for adult Americans to grasp.
Our news media and journalism apparatus is broken so kids need to begin to understand what that means.
This fascinating tweet stream came my way via Clive Thompson at Wired. Click on the image of the tweet and read the entire 10-12 tweet stream. Very eye opening.
1. New reality for the press: the president-elect’s Twitter account is a competing media outlet spreading fake news. https://t.co/VPvjKnW5PI
— James Poniewozik (@poniewozik) November 18, 2016
How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study – The New York Times
By Sapna Maheshwari
Eric Tucker, a 35-year-old co-founder of a marketing company in Austin, Tex., had just about 40 Twitter followers. But his recent tweet about paid protesters being bused to demonstrations against President-elect Donald J. Trump fueled a nationwide conspiracy theory — one that Mr. Trump joined in promoting…
Source: How Fake News Goes Viral: A Case Study – The New York Times
I’m struggling to figure out how to begin approaching this…
I kind of like Brian Stelter’s framework as a starting point.
- Understand that there are different kinds of media sites:
- Hoax sites with completely fake news
- Hyperpartisan sites with misleading info
- Hybrids with a mix of fact and fiction
- Understand that sites like the National Review or sources like the Wall Street Journal may be considered to be conservative leaning or Mother Jones or the New York Times on the left, but they adhere to a different set of journalistic standards than other media outlets that are popular amongst voters.