Worth Reading: After Election, Some Americans Seek News from the Other Side…

Worth reading!

After election, some Americans seek news from the other side – CSMonitor.com

BRIDGING DIVIDES Many Americans, especially on the left, are trying to wean themselves off fake news and social-media feeds designed to show them what they want to see.

By Harry Bruinius, Staff writer NOVEMBER 19, 2016

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NEW YORK — Like many of those who voted for Hillary Clinton, Steve Hudson was pretty stunned to watch as Donald Trump swept through the supposed “firewall” states presumed to align with the Democratic nominee, going on to win the United States presidency.

Feeling blindsided, he questioned what may have been the myopic perspectives of his “news bubble.” He concluded that he needed a wider range of reliable reporting to get a more accurate understanding of what was happening in the country.

“My trust in my news sources has been shaken,” says Mr. Hudson, a Chicago resident and self-employed advertising planner, who says he’s mostly relied on The New York Times in the past – a source that shares his center-left perspective. “I’m reacting to the the overall confidence my news sources expressed in Hillary’s potential for winning, all the talk about the death of the Republican Party, the focus on Trump’s many inflammatory statements and personal failings.”…


“Will Simpson, a marketing strategist in Los Angeles, who relies on sources such as The New York Times, Quartz, and CNN, said he was shocked by how wrong so many “legitimate publishers” got the election. “It demonstrated to me that those of us that consider ourselves ‘informed’ and ‘educated’ are susceptible to the same vicious echo chamber cycles that we accuse so many people across party and socioeconomic lines of being ‘dumb’ enough to fall victim to.”

Building ‘webs of trust’

“What I’ve seen is a lot of people compiling lists of fake news sources, and actively asking their friends on social media not to share news from those sources,” Professor Sinnreich says, noting that some developers have created software to identify fake news sites.

“What little solace and tactical benefit there is to be found is in building webs of trust,” he adds, “communities of shared trust where there’s a tacit agreement only to share verifiable information.”

For Simpson, staying informed “requires a certain voluntary exercise.” And now he’s more than willing to pay for a wider range of sources, and he’s looking to organizations like Al Jazeera, the BBC, and even The Drudge Report to stay informed on a range of opinions.

on escapism…

I just finished watching the final two seasons of The Office. It’s been a needed escape from the real world. I know that there are some who may not have liked the finale, but I came to know these characters over nine seasons and it made me happy that they, largely, got their mostly happy endings. Sometimes, what we need in a world that doesn’t seem so very nice, is a reminder that happy endings can happen…

on the face of new media…

This is the face of new media, folks. So what do we teach kids about media literacy?

For the ‘new yellow journalists,’ opportunity comes in clicks and bucks – The Washington Post:

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By Terrence McCoy November 20

LONG BEACH, Calif. — Fewer than 2,000 readers are on his website when Paris Wade, 26, awakens from a nap, reaches for his laptop and thinks he needs to, as he puts it, “feed” his audience. “Man, no one is covering this TPP thing,” he says after seeing an article suggesting that President Obama wants to pass the Trans-Pacific Partnership before he leaves office. Wade, a modern-day digital opportunist, sees an opportunity. He begins typing a story.

“CAN’T TRUST OBAMA,” he writes as the headline, then pauses. His audience hates Obama and loves President-elect Donald Trump, and he wants to capture that disgust and cast it as a drama between good and evil. He resumes typing: “Look At Sick Thing He Just Did To STAB Trump In The Back… .”


“news media” vs. “journalism” …

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

Photo by Thomas Lohnes/Getty Images

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?…”

Source: In the war on fake news, school librarians have a huge role to play – The Verge

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.


Or this…

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.

life in a filter bubble – no bueno…

I first recall learning about the concept of the filter bubble in the summer of 2011. My partner in library crimes and misdemeanors at the time, Anna Martino, were middle school librarians in Los Angeles at the time and were attendees to Lab School @ Punahou that summer. Our cohort’s focus was digital ethics and the amazing Doug Kiang talked about Eli Pariser’s filter bubble work one day.

When we returned to school the following fall Anna Martino and I built online privacy and the filter bubble awareness into our middle school library curriculum. We presented a session on our work at the California Association of Independent Schools Southern Regional Meeting in 2012.

While our work was always greeted with nice platitudes and an “Oh, that’s so interesting…” level of acknowledgment, it was always pretty clear that this was “important stuff for kids to know” but that nobody knew how these concepts and ideas fit into their work as science, history, math, whatever… teachers. Nobody was going to carve out time to develop this because they were already behind. “I should have been done with the crusades last Monday…”

I don’t know what discussion is like at other schools around the country, but I know that at the school I work at now, post-election discussions on media-literacy instruction are being taken extremely seriously.

The realization that the enormous volume of information coming our way via our computer, tablet, and phone screens did so little to inform us about the lives of virtually half of the rest of the country and that, in fact, the filter bubble effect seems to have made us LESS well informed about the lives of half of the country has given thinking people a real reason to pause and reflect on what the hell really matters when it comes to a 21st century education.

It’s weird to realize that something you’ve talked about and thought about for for so long has suddenly gone rather mainstream, but it has. In all honesty, I was SHOCKED by the election results. I KNEW that my Facebook news feed was a filter bubble, but I grossly underestimated just how thick the walls of that bubble were. The really hard part, though, is knowing what one can do about it. The nature of online life is that there is a huge amount of data that we give up about ourselves just by being online.

Don’t believe me? Head on over to clickclickclick.click and see what happens.


What can they do with that data?

Or Blue Feed, Red Feed from the Wall Street Journal…


Here’s to bursting the bubble!

Edited: Maybe there’s hope…


AS AMERICANS INCREASINGLY live their lives online, they risk encountering people they disagree with less than ever. Digital lives are circumscribed by algorithms and social media networks that create separate but homogenous red or blue realities. Filter bubbles are a problem technology didn’t create but certainly seems to exacerbate.

Now, technologists are trying to use software to burst those same bubbles…

Source: Do-Gooder Technologists Are Trying to Burst the Post-Election Filter Bubble | WIRED

why media-literacy matters to a 21st century education…

Why does media-literacy matter? Let’s sample a little of the issue.
If you aren’t familiar with Eli Pariser’s Ted Talk on Beware Online “Filter Bubbles” start here:
  • Media Literacy in a Post Truth World – We are so compelled to believe the worst of one candidate and the best of another, that we are incapable and unwilling to entertain any critical thought. We are more interested in what we believe rather than what is true.
  • What Facebook Did to Media Literacy in America – While our view of what’s transpired in this country in recent months may not be crystal clear, over the past week, many have raised questions about the proliferation of fake news, raising concerns about how inaccurate stories — widely circulated on sites like Facebook — might have influenced voters in the presidential election.
  • Clickclickclick.click – Think you are careful about what data you are giving away about yourself when you browse online? You’re probably giving a lot more away about yourself and your habits than you realize.
  • Red Feed, Blue Feed-An amazing tool from the Wall Street Journal. “To demonstrate how reality may differ for different Facebook users, The Wall Street Journal created two feeds, one “blue” and the other “red.” If a source appears in the red feed, a majority of the articles shared from the source were classified as “very conservatively aligned” in a large 2015 Facebook study. For the blue feed, a majority of each source’s articles aligned “very liberal.” These aren’t intended to resemble actual individual news feeds. Instead, they are rare side-by-side looks at real conversations from different perspectives.”
  • Why you should Triple Check before you Share? – Brian Stelter, host of CNN’s Reliable Sources, explains why you should triple check sources. Particularly useful is explanation of 3 different types of misleading news sources.
  • News Use Across Social Media Platforms 2016 – According to this May 2016 report from the Pew Research Center, “A majority of U.S. adults – 62% – get news on social media, and 18% do so often, according to a new survey by Pew Research Center, conducted in association with the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation. In 2012, based on a slightly different question, 49% of U.S. adults reported seeing news on social media.”

on evidence that is not always so evident…

What do jury duty, reading student applications for National Honor Society, and public policy debate research in frosh classes have in common?

Why, that would be… EVIDENCE!

My question to you this month is: What are you teaching your students about evidence in their research work?

I have been thinking a lot about evidence of late because I recently won the jury pool lottery; I have been reading National Honor Society applications from students, and we are just about to start working on research for a debate project with some of our frosh classes.

Juror #10 for the Win! – In my worst moments as human being, I sometimes dream of winning a ginormous lottery, buying all the businesses that have given me bad service over the years, and firing all the people responsible for the heinous wrongs they have inflicted upon me. Unfortunately (or, in reality, fortunately…) the Universe isn’t designed around Dave’s crazy delusions of revenge so try as I might I never seem to win huge cash lotteries. Not winning huge cash payouts, payable to me either in a lump sum or as an annuity over a period of twenty years, means that the rather obscene scenario outlined above will likely never come to pass – in the scheme of things, not such a bad thing…

Things to do: Make friends with Peter Theil

You know what kind of lotteries I do seem to win, though? The jury pool lottery! Last week I served on my third jury. While serving on a jury isn’t an experience that I have yearned for over the years, I believe with all my heart that with the rights come responsibilities. As a good American citizen, after receiving my jury summons in the mail, I show up when it says to show up. If you are not an American citizen or just have not been called for jury duty, here’s how it works. You show up at the appointed time. The names of all of the prospective jurors in the jury pool go into a bingo game-like hopper. The bailiff spins the bingo hopper around like an organ grinder. If your name is one of the first twelve that falls out, you sit in the jury box so the lawyers can ask you questions and decide if they like you or if they want to strike you and call another juror with a better face.

I have the juror lotto wired! I win almost every time!

Aside: My lawyer friend says that lawyers love librarians because, “Librarians are used to weighing evidence and evaluating arguments so usually I’ll try to keep them.” Yay for us…

As it turned out, I was assigned to a dog of a case. There was no credible evidence so my jury of seven men and five women found the defendant not guilty after about fifteen minutes of deliberation.

Evidence of Leadership – The wheels of American justice turn rather slowly so during our hour-and-a-half lunch break, and our half-hour breaks throughout the day, I was also reading student applications for membership to our National Honor Society. National Honor Society asks that students show evidence of: scholarship, character, service, and leadership. This is the third year that I have been a file reader for the NHS selection process and over the years it has become clear that even some of our best students struggle with concept of “evidence.” Evidence of service is easy. “I did ___ hours of community service at the Institute for Human Services serving meals to homeless people.” However, how one documents “evidence of leadership” is a task that seems to challenge many of even our very best students.

Which brings us back to my question for you this month. What are you teaching your students about evidence in their research work?

We are about to start working with some frosh classes doing research for public policy debates on global issues. We teach that a good debate argument has three parts: the assertion, the reasoning, and THE EVIDENCE. While it is a nice formula, I think that 14-year old me would have struggled to develop a complete 3-part argument and I think that EVIDENCE would have been the piece to give me the most difficulty.

In the past, my approach has been to teach student students that supporting evidence might come in these basic forms:

  • Facts
  • Numbers (and statistics)
  • Quotes
  • Examples (historical and contemporary)
  • Analogies

Adapted and used with permission courtesy: http://erikpalmerconsulting.com/

Click here to view as a Powtoon video.
Click here to view as Google Slideshow

I’ve never seen or read anything about how other librarians help students find evidence to support their arguments so I’d love to hear about what you are doing!