Navigating International, Real and Fake News

KAITLIN HENNESSY: Hello everyone
and welcome to navigating international real
and fake news. I’m Kaitlin Hennessy,
the program coordinator at WSU Global Connections. Tonight presenting
is Lorena O’English, social sciences librarian at
Washington State University. Her specialties include
political science, sociology, theater, and sports. Thank you for coming today. I’m going to turn
it over to Lorena. LORENA O’ENGLISH: Excellent. We’re going to go
ahead and get started. And I’m just going
to tell you now that this presentation
is a reprise of one that I gave earlier this year
through the WSU Common Reading Program here on
the Pullman Campus. And I called it current events
and conversation keeping up with international news. We’ll kind of see why I call
it that a little bit more. And then originally
I was just going to talk about keeping up
with international news. But then towards the end of
last year, all of a sudden there was a lot more talk
about this fake news thing. So I decided, I’d put a little
bit of that in the talk, as well and we’d
see how they go. You can see my email is on
the screen [email protected] And I’m also available
on Twitter @wsulorena. And if you have questions
outside of this webinar, feel free to contact me
and I’ll try to respond. So we’ll go ahead
and get started. There we are. So because this originally
started as a Common Reading presentation, I just want to
talk a little bit about why I was talking about
international news in the context of the Common
Reading book I am Malala. And the reason is
that I actually did some looking in one
of our other library’s historical databases. We have historical database
for the London Times going back to about 1750 or something. And I just did a
little bit of research about Pakistan and Afghanistan
in India– that whole area– and found out that it
was really fascinating. In the 1830s, you have
Russia and the United Kingdom at war in that area, and it
was called the Great Game. And Russia won. And then the United Kingdom
tries again in 1880. And not so great. And then after World War II,
you have the partition of India where India separates
India and Pakistan. And then later on
Bangladesh leaves Pakistan. And then about 150 years
after the Great Game you have the Soviets
invading Afghanistan and just that whole area has
basically, for 200 years, had all of this chaos. And it’s really
interesting to think about that in the background
of Malala’s story, looking at the reason why
history has something to say and history and
news has something to say about why things are. So that got me thinking
about this particular topic. So I’m going to talk about
a couple of framing devices. The first one I’m
going to talk about is the information diet,
which is the information guide or our media diet. And this is a really
interesting book. You can read it if you want. You can check it out
from the WSU libraries or through Summit. But the guy who writes
it basically says, we don’t really have
information overload. We’re always told that we
have information overload. But that’s not true. What we really have
is something that he calls information obesity,
which is that it’s not that we have too much information. It’s that we are really
focusing on the wrong kinds of information. We’re eating too many
Doritos and Cheez-Its and not enough apples and kale. And the Doritos is
People Magazine. There’s room for people. And there’s room for Doritos. But if you made that your
whole diet all the time, then you’re not really going
to be having a good information diet. So that’s kind of our
first framing device. I see, yeah. Our second framing device is
the notion of the filter bubble. And we’ll talk a little bit
more about that in a little bit. But basically the filter bubble
is the idea that, in a way, we’re all kind of like– it’s like being
in a hollow tube. If you’re in a hollow tube
and you shout something, the sound reverberates
back to you. And so it makes
your sound louder. And that’s kind of what the
filter bubble is all about. If you only talk to
people who agree with you, then what happens
is the repetition of claims, the same thing
being told over and over and over again, essentially
rebounds back at you and reinforces your beliefs. So you are essentially
in a bubble, and your information
has been filtered so much that your ear bubble
gets smaller and smaller and smaller and you’re not
really open to information from other sources. It’s kind of related to the
notion of the echo chamber. In fact, I just reversed those. So all that I just said was
actually the echo chamber because the filter
bubble is actually something completely different. And the filter
bubble is essentially the idea of personalization. It used to be, if you
use a search engine, if you used AltaVista or Yahoo,
everybody had the same search engine experience. But in the last number
of years, search engines have had personalization. And so what happens
is the more you click on certain types
of links, the more likely they are to send
similar links to you. And you say, well,
I can avoid that. I cannot log into my Google
account when I do Google searches. So Google doesn’t
know what I’m doing. But that’s not true. Even if you’re not logged
into your Google account, there are a number of tells
that the browser can pick up on. The search engine can pick up
on what browser you’re using, where are you located
if you’re on a PC. It pretty much always
has location on. And so it’s able to
actually track, perhaps not you precisely, but that
computer or someone in your general area. And the result of
this personalization is that it sort of enhances
the notion of the echo chamber because you end up seeing
the same sorts of things. They’re being pushed
to you because you’re living in a bubble
and everything’s been filtered by
the fact that I like clicking these sorts
of links so that is what Google is going
to push to me based upon its personalization
algorithms. And it’s not just Google
that has algorithms. Facebook does this. All sorts of websites do this. The more they build
up a profile of you or your computer or
your geographical area, the more they kind of
constrain what they actually are going to share with. So that becomes an issue. We’re going to talk about
one more framing device. And that’s the notion
of confirmation bias. And I really love this cartoon
because this cartoon explains confirmation bias absolutely. I’ve heard the rhetoric
from both sides. It’s time to do my own
research on the real truth. And literally the first
link that agrees with you you’re going to believe. And so you’re
looking for something that’s going to reinforce
what you already believe. And that’s just a
natural human tendency. And at the same time,
you’re avoiding or not noticing things that
might disagree with you. And that’s called
confirmation bias. So you can say I did a search,
everything agreed with me, let’s go ahead and
do this and not understand that you’re
missing a lot of things. And that’s just a natural
bias that all of us have but something
that we really have to be aware of because it
is so natural that confirmation bias happens constantly and
we don’t even notice it. So we’re going to go back to
the filter bubble a little bit. And I’m not going to
do this for this talk. I don’t have a lot
of time, and I’m kind of moving
back between links. So I’m kind of doing
some things abbreviated. But everything that
I show you is going to be made available to you. You can actually find the
links in this presentation. And you’ll see, at
the end, that I’ve created a library guide that
has all the links, as well. So don’t feel like you need
to write down any links or worry about that
because they’re all going to be there for you. But we’re going to see that
it’s a little awkward sometimes moving between the
PowerPoint and the internet. So I just wanted to
minimize that a little bit. So I really recommend
watching this TED Talk. I think I got the year wrong. I think I said 2013. It’s actually 2011. But Eli Pariser basically
came up with this idea. Then he wrote the
book based upon it. And it’s a really
interesting read. And here’s the thing. Even if you don’t watch the
TED Talk or read the book, you can find enough
information about the filter bubble online to really
get a good idea of it. And the more you read
about it, the more you’re going to realize that
it’s actually really true. And we’re going to see
an example of that. So what it’ll do–
let’s cross our fingers and see if this works. I’m going to hit a
couple taps, and we are going to go to the internet. And we are going to look at
our first tap, which is– this is a project from
the Wall Street Journal. And this is blue feed, red feed. And what they did was they
created two separate Facebook feeds with the kind of
resources that someone on the blue or more
liberal side might choose versus someone on the
conservative, more redder site. And you can see, if we go ahead
and look at this– let’s go ahead and choose. Here, I’m in the Affordable
Care Act right now. And you can see, based upon what
shows up in somebody’s Facebook feed, these are the sorts
of links that we see. And we can see a
very big difference between our blue feed
and our red feed. And this is an example of
the filter bubble at work. If all you subscribe
to are web sites and feeds of a
particular persuasion, then that’s what
you’re going to see. And you can see that
the realities diverge. And it’s hard to believe
that you’re actually dealing with people who are
living in the same existence because their views
are so disparate. So that’s the filter bubble. And there’s a need, cross out
of it, and think about some of the other sorts of
things that are out there. So we’re going to move
back to the power point. And this was successful. Excellent. And let’s go on and talk
about the next thing. So thinking about this
notion of filter bubbles, I’ve been talking
about filter bubbles in the context of
personalization and algorithms. But there are other
filter bubbles that we deal with that
are based upon things that don’t have anything to do with
what particular site we click on in an internet browser. One thing is ideology. And you get a sense
of that looking at the website for a
red feed and blue feed. One thing is your status
or your situation. You’re college students. Well, I remember when I was a
college student in the 1980s. I read my campus
newspaper religiously, but it had very little
international news or national news. And there was a lot stuff going
on that I was really interested in, but I also
wanted to know what was going on in my own state. But a lot of times,
I just didn’t know. And I was always wondering. And occasionally I’d
buy The New York Times. But it was a little
bit intimidating to me at that time. It was also expensive. So I was really happy
when USA Today came out because it actually
provided me with a way to keep up with news
a little bit more in a more affordable way. So being a college student,
being busy, not necessarily maybe always having
time for news, maybe focused on other
sorts of things– that can kind of be a
little bit of a bubble for what you’re doing. Geography can matter, as well. I’m in Pullman. And I don’t know
where you all are. But sometimes you’re
in a big city, like Seattle or New York
or an international city. Sometimes you’re in
Pullman, Washington. Our library might be
a little bit smaller. There might be a few less sorts
of resources and opportunities that there might
be in bigger areas. So sometimes that might limit
the ideas that I’m exposed to. Financial situation. If I don’t have a lot of money
and I can’t afford cable, I can’t watch the news– I’m going to miss out. And I see someone
agreeing to me. If you’re in an
area where you don’t get exposed to
the greater world, then you miss out
on a lot of things. I missed out on a lot of
things in the early 80s, a lot of things
in the early 90s. And even now I still
don’t understand what was going on in
Bosnia in the 1990s. That just went right
out of my head. So our financial
situation matters. And so the effect of all of
this, the effect and the effect of this, is to reinforce
the notion of the filter bubble and the echo chamber
because your inputs are constrained and so you
make up your mind based upon less information. So what happens when you have
competing filter bubbles? Because that can happen. You might believe
in different things that just cognitively
don’t work. So you have
cognitive dissonance. You just can’t deal
with all of it. And you just go back
and turn on Netflix and watch Ace
Ventura Pet Detective for sixth or seventh
time and say to, today is a day for
information obesity. And let’s just go on with it. So that’s just real life. That’s the way it always works. So it’s talk a little
bit about sources. And the first thing that I want
to talk about is, you’re busy. You’re busy. You don’t have a lot of time. You’re students. You may be parents. You maybe deal with
elderly parents. You might have a job. You might have all those
things at the same time. So you’ve got a lot going on. So I’m going to show
you some resources of minimal to
increasing complexity. And if you just want to start
with one or two of them, that’s great. If you want to look at some of
the more expansive sources I have, that’s great, too. Most of these are going to
be from a US point of view, but not all of them. And that’s a really good way
to think about breaking out of the filter bubble
or the echo chamber, by looking at how news is being
perceived in other countries through different sorts of eyes. And we’ll see that we also have
some international sources, as well, because, after all, this
is a talk about keeping up with international events. And I want to be really clear. This is not anything remotely,
remotely at all a full list or even a best list. It’s not. These are things that
I’ve been exposed to. These are things that I’ve
learned about– some pretty recently. And these are things
that I thought I wanted to share because they
seemed to have some value. So a few things I
want to think about. One of the things
you’re going to see is that you’re going to notice
that I really definitely have a bias towards
traditional sources. And there’s a couple
of reasons for that. One of these is
that I’m an old– I was born in 1963. And so I really still
think kind of analog rather than digital sometimes. But the other reason is
that I’m a librarian. And there’s some things about
traditional news sources that I really value. So I just want to talk
about some of these things. And these things aren’t limited
to traditional news sources. These are also things
that we can think about as we look at more
modern news sources, as we look at news
from blogs or news from different
sorts of websites, or news that we hear on
a podcast, et cetera. These are just some
things to think about. What is the notion
of a code of ethics? And here I’m going to
do my little thing here. But go over and switch to
the Society of Professional Journalist Code of Ethics. And this is something
that’s important to me. This is the notion that,
if you are a reporter, that you subscribe to a
certain code of ethics– and not always. People actually err. People make mistakes. People cheat. People lie in journalism, as
well as any other profession. But still there
really is this idea of a code of ethics
that colors what news is and what news is about and the
kind of things that people do. The second thing is the
notion of expertise. And if you’re a
journalist, if you are a reporter who’s been
covering a beat for awhile, you really know. You know your community. You know your issues. You know what’s going on. You have you developed
expertise over time as you learn how to do your job. Sure, if you start off
as a cover reporter, you don’t know very much. But over time you learn things. And whether you’re an
investigative reporter or a crime reporter,
given a couple of years, most reporters in the
community are really going to know all the dirt,
where all the bodies are buried, and what all the
issues are, and who to talk to. And these are really
important skills– knowing your community
and knowing the areas upon which you actually
write your stories. Curation. Curation is big for me. So I don’t want to be hit
with a huge amount of stuff. I would be happy to
see the top picks. So I like a well curated list. Not everybody does. Some people like to get a
lot of stuff thrown at them and have the fun of choosing
what they want to see. So I’m going to show you some
resources that are curated, as well as some resources
that just throw a lot of stuff at you and let you choose. But I value curation. And curation just means that
these stories are selected in place for a
particular purpose, that they have something
to say, that they establish a story, a narrative,
along the way, and they’re going to choose
this story and not that story. Now sometimes that
can be problematic because sometimes things
can be overcurated, leaving out important things. Sometimes also curation can
move more into biased content. So you have to
watch out for that. But for the notion
of it, I think it’s a good place to start. There’s also the
notion of archiving. I want to know
that I can go back. And if I’m reading a story
and I think to myself, hmm, I think I read
about something about that five years
ago, I want to know that I can go back to that. If we’re talking about
internet resources, there’s a really
cool resource that I don’t include on this
called the Wayback Machine for the Internet Archive. And if you’ve never looked
at it, write that down– Internet Archive Wayback
Machine– because it’s amazing. What it enables you to do
is to go to any website, let’s say, WSU’s
website and see what it looked like at various points
over the last 15 or 20 years. Well, it’s really
interesting to look and see what the WSU webpage
looked like in 1997 compared to what it
looks like in 2017. So not everything is covered
by the Internet Archive. And it doesn’t cover every day. But it does let you go
back and archive the web, see what the web looked
like in the past. And that can be really important
as you’re trying to figure out whether something is true. Sometimes what happens is
they say, oh, it’s like this, it’s like this,
and it’s like this. And you’re like, no, it’s not. And I can prove that. Yes somebody else remembered
that I talked about that. You can tell that I love the
Wayback Machine because I really want to talk about that. But in addition to the Wayback
Machine for online sources, let’s also talk about archiving
physical copies of newspapers in databases and on the
web and in microfilm so that you can go back
to it and get information. And I think that’s a
really important thing so that things are not ephemeral. Sometimes on the
web, a site exists and then three weeks
later it’s gone. And with traditional sources,
all that information there is a paper trail or
an online paper trail that you can follow
to get information. Fact checking. That’s a really big one. Newspapers have fact checking
departments– newspapers, news magazines– they have
fact checking departments and they have lawyers. And they know how to
use both of those. So it’s more likely that the
information being provided is legitimate than
perhaps some other sorts of nontraditional
sources that may not have fact checkers
or lawyers making you use the fact checker. Multiple viewpoints
are really important. Reporters are trained
to actually try to get multiple
perspectives so that you can see that every story
has different sides. Now that can be
problematic sometimes. Sometimes there really is just
one particular or two ways to look at things. And then you say, oh, I have
to go find somebody else. And so you find
somebody on the fringe. And that just messes
up the whole context of what you’re trying to say. There’s actually
a name for that. It’s called false equivalence. And it’s like sometimes
you say, well, we have to provide equal time to
this theory and that theory when one of the theories is
clearly a crackpot theory. So you can go a little bit too
far with multiple viewpoints, and you can go a little bit
too far with all of this. But in general multiple
viewpoints is really important because you have
to recognize, we want we don’t want to have our
new source be an echo chamber. We want to recognize that
there are competing viewpoints out there with
differing perspectives. Retractions. Sometimes things
are printed wrong. So retractions being
printed or put online, being archived– so you can
go back and find them later– being prominently viewable so
that they can be identified. It’s really nice
if a news outlet has a public editor or
an ombudsman whose job is to basically hold the news
resource’s feet to the fire and make sure that they’re
properly serving their readers. Also want separation of
advertising and editorial. Sometimes bloggers will
review products and not tell you that they were
given that product for free. So I want to be sure that there
is a distinction between what I read on the editorial page and
what I read in the news page. I also got follow up. One of the things about
traditional news sources is you do have people
with beats, and you do have time to actually continue
a story across weeks, months, years, et cetera, in series. So you can kind of
build up a way for you to continue to learn
more about the story as it progresses over time. I also want
investigative reporting. Investigative
reporting identifies some of the hugest disasters
and calamities and miscarriages of justice of over time. But the thing is,
investigating reporting is also very expensive. And it requires
resources, including things like foreign bureaus. I value newspapers of record
like the New York Times or The Washington Post
or The London Times or The Economist that have
foreign bureaus in places like London or Venezuela
or Nairobi or Pakistan so that I can get the viewpoint
from people who are actually embedded in a community and
not the viewpoint of someone who’s sitting in
the United States, trying to get a sense of
what people are talking about in those various places. But the thing is that
not all of these elements are always going to be present. And also there are failures. Every single thing– we
have failures of ethics. We have failures of curation. We have failures of
multiple viewpoints. We have failures of
investigative reporting. All those things
are going to happen. But being aware of
those and looking out for those sorts of resources
is something to think about. So now we’re going to start
talking about some sources. But one thing I
wanted to mention is you’re going to
see that I’m actually a big fan of sources
that provide summaries, just the basics of the news. And so I had thought
about this a little bit. Do they provide value
to other people? And one of the things
I thought about is a journalistic tradition
called the five W’s and an H, which is how, when a
journalist writes an article, all the important
information is at the top. That’s the most
important information. And then as you go
further down the article, you’re actually giving
still crucial information and then more detail and
more detail and more detail. And so that structure
is really helpful. And snippets, it’s
usually the same thing. Snippets, or
summaries, are usually going to be what’s continued
in the lead, the most important information. And journalists are trained to
look at who, what, where, why, when, and how– all of those. Those are the important
things are supposed to be in the first couple of
paragraphs and the snippets to give you the most
important information. So even if you just read the
first paragraph or a snippet or a summary, you’re still going
to have an idea of something that’s going on. You still have values
to learn something. Something else, by the
way, that journalists are trained to think about
in the context of who, what, where, why, and how, of course,
is the old Watergate dictum– follow the money. And that’s always
the important one. So let’s talk
about some sources. And I started off as
summaries because that’s the very first thing
I’m going to do. This is one of my
favorite things. This is a relatively new
service called The Skimm. It’s available by email. There is an iOS app
that you pay for. That’s how they monetize. And it’s freely
available on the web. And you can subscribe to it. You can also follow
them on Facebook. They are a daily email blast. And their tagline is making it
easier for you to be smarter– and mostly domestic content,
some international content. They provide summaries,
links out other sources. The links will generally
provide you sources that are freely available. Heavily curated by
two journalists. And they have a
very definite tone. And they’re very
snarky, very fun– an enjoyable thing to
read in the morning. There’s a six week
archive back on the web– thinking about archiving. And they also have The Skimm
guides, that are explainers. And you know this is just
a really low threshold way to start. Just sign up for The
Skimm, and you’ll be able to actually have
a good idea of what’s going on with some of the
different perspectives that are around it. So that’s a good place to start. Now I also want to talk
about The New York Times. And I know everyone’s familiar
about The New York Times. But it is a newspaper of record. There are other
newspapers of record. There’s The Washington Post. There’s the LA Times,
The Chicago Tribune. But The New York Times is
certainly one of the oldest. And one of the things that
I’m not sure people realize is that they have a very
amazing educational rate, which is just like– digital access $1 a week. And so I think it might
even be less than that. But it’s a really good deal. $1 a week– that’s certainly
less than you spend on coffee. And you’ll get web access and
smartphone and tablet apps. And I really recommend it. I do it myself. And I love it. I love having access to it
on my phone and on my tablet, as well as on the web. But you can also get access to
it through the WSU libraries. And I’ve given you a link there. And that will also be
on the library guide. Now I want you to
look at the screen. And you’ll notice, if
we look over there, that there is this little thing
over here in the corner that says world. And most of the time, we
really don’t pay much attention to that fact. Most of the time, frankly,
we don’t pay attention to any of these things
on the very top. We just start going down,
which is the way people look at web sites. But let’s go ahead and see
what happens when you actually click on that World link
because something that happens is interesting. So let’s go back to the
late 19th century in Paris. And there was a
journalist there who started a paper called
The Paris Herald. And it was very popular,
especially with ex-pats because they did a
really good job of kind of covering United States
news and international news. And over time, it became
The Herald Tribune and then The International
Herald Tribune. People like Ernest Hemingway
read it and wrote for it. And it was really
important newspaper in the early part
of the 20th century. And The New York Times
bought it some years ago. And they’ve incorporated it
into The New York Times’ site. So what you don’t realize
is The New York Times is really two different papers. It’s The New York Times and
The New York Times World, and they’re actually kind of
distinct because they actually have some different
people involved with them. And the thing is that
some of this content is incorporated into
the regular New York Times and the physical paper. But a lot of it isn’t. So there’s a lot of
content beyond what you’re going to see in
the physical newspaper. So I’m going to go ahead and
do our little thing here. And we’re going to go
look at it very quickly. Let’s go find The
New York Times. Here we are. So here I am in The
New York Times world. And you can see there’s some
basic sorts of things, the kind of things what’s going on. And then I can choose. I can look at things–
let’s go ahead and look at what’s happening
in the Middle East. And I can click on this. And like I said, this is going
to provide me New York Times quality articles but from
different sorts of perspectives looking at different
sorts of areas. And most of these
articles are not going to be available
on the regular paper. So I’m getting different
sorts of stuff. So let’s go back
to our power point. The other thing that
I wanted to mention is that you can also
follow The New York Times World or individual
journalists’ accounts on Twitter or Facebook. And the nice thing about The
New York Times and social media is that, like many
sources, they give you a certain number of
free articles a month if you don’t subscribe. It can be anywhere
from one to 10. In The New York
Times case, it’s 10. But with the social
media articles, generally, if you have used
up all of your 10 sources that month. If you click on a link
from Twitter Facebook, you’ll generally be able
to read the article, which is really kind of nice. I particularly like
their newsletters. Let’s see if I actually
included that link here. I’m going to go back over here. And we’re going to go find The
New York Times’ newsletters. These are great. These are email things
that you can sign up for. And the Interpreter
covers world news. You can see some of
them are regional. Here’s Canada,
another world one. And these are really great
because they give you these little snippets. They give you a
sense of what you need to know understand
what’s going on in the world– not a huge amount of
detail, just the basics. If you want more detail,
you can click on a link and read the full story. But at least in the snippet,
you’re getting the basics. So we’re going to
go back over here. So I’m going to
progress a little bit. Reuters News Service. Reuters is actually
a news service that provides content
to the newspapers. But they have a
freely available site for members of the
general public, as well. And let’s go ahead
and take a look at it. And let’s see. Here we are. And you can see,
if I go over here– and you can see business,
markets, et cetera– I can go over and choose– I’m looking at the
United States’ edition, but they have editions for all
these other countries, as well. And they’re going to be in the
actual language of the country. So that helps me see news
from different perspectives. And Reuters is high quality. It’s very legitimate. They have reporters
all over the world. And they provide
news, as well as podcasts that you can watch
online or download, RSS feeds. And they have a
really nice little app that you can download. I have it on my own phone. And it’s really cool
to get used to that. And they also have
an ethics statement with their trust principles. The next one– I just want to make one more
comment about email blasts. Some people say oh I
get too much email. I can’t stand to
have another email. And I’m, like,
that’s really true. We do get too much email. But, again, it goes back to that
notion of information obesity. If I actually cut back a little
bit on my winter [INAUDIBLE] and other sorts of
email lists that I’m on and actually did a
few more news lists, I would actually
be more informed. I don’t have to
read them every day. But I subscribe to
a number of these. I really like Foreign
Policy Interrupted, which is women in the
foreign policy community . And it’s basically a source
that amplifies their voices. The Economist puts out some
really good newsletters. Here’s a really nice one that
keeps me up [? on things. ?] Foreign policy– I actually like foreign policies
lists so much that I actually subscribed to it. I got really good
education rate. And the thing is that think
tanks and research institutes and policy organizations
and opinion journals on every side
of the political spectrum generally have these sorts
of newsletter blasts. So go to a site that
looks interesting to you and look to see what kind
of publications– and they probably going to have
an email newsletter blast that’s going to give
you access to things for free. A couple more things– Public Radio International. This is just amazing. Let’s go a take a look
at this one over here. And let’s go find it. Sorry, I’m kind of squinting. I don’t have my glasses, and
I’m navigating two screens. But I love PRI. It’s just great. And you can see, one of
the things that it has is– I can go over here, these
links over here in the corner. I can click on Global Post. And this is going to give
me the latest stories. And I can click on these
and get the full story. But I get a wide
variety of stories that I wouldn’t
otherwise have seen. And if I would rather
get them in audio format, I can different
stories as podcasts. And I can watch them
online or download them. And you can see, I can
also look at the sections. And there’s a wide variety
of topics and sections. So this is actually
a really good way to keep up with
international news. Next thing we’re going to
look at is Global Voices. And Global Voices is a
different sort of tool. Go back here. And this is another
source that’s going to give us things
from different perspectives. And you can see– Africa, America– and I
can go up here and see it in different– if I
speak another language, I can actually read news in
these languages, as well. So right now we’re looking
at the English edition. And, again, I’m getting
international news that I probably wouldn’t
see in my own newspaper or through my own filter bubble. This really breaks my filter
bubble, breaks my echo chamber, and exposes me to a lot
of different things. And I can just skim
the latest stories. And I can subscribe
to their email blast or follow them on Facebook
or get a daily email. Or I can look at these more
intently if I wanted you. Look at our next resource– Unfiltered News. This one is just
the coolest thing because what this does is
they actually have this– it’s this technology
partnership with Google News. And what they do– let’s get rid of this– is they look at
Google News, and they look at what stories
are not being talked about in a particular area. So let’s go ahead and
skip the tutorial here. I’m going to choose
the United States. And you can see, these
are topics that are less reported in the United States. And I could choose different
countries if I want. Or I could use this little
filter bubble sort of thing. And these are some of the
stories that I can see it if I’m interested in
looking at what’s going on with FC Barcelona, you’ll
see that this actually has to do with soccer. Because this is
actually pulling things from guilt from Google News. So there’s a random aspect of
this that is just really cool. And the way they figure out
what is not being talked about is they have Google
News’ data to draw upon, and they’re actually
able to look and see what’s being talked about,
what links are being clicked in Spain or Egypt versus the
links that are being clicked in the United States. So this a really great way
to see how people are looking at news in different ways. We really used to the echo
chamber of the United States news. And we forget about the fact
that everybody has news. So how do we incorporate
this into our lives and our practice? So I really believe in
low key, low threshold ways of doing this. I don’t want it to
be too elaborate. So I like my email newsletters. I like my read it later apps. I used a really cool
tool called Instapaper. And this is an example of it. If I find an article, I can
use a bookmark link to save it. Once I’ve saved the article,
I can read it online. And I read it in this
beautiful format. No ads. The links all work. I see pictures. And it just is easier to read. I can increase the
font if I want. I can make it more narrow. I could do all sorts of things. I could even use just this
little click over here and have it read out
loud to me while I’m on the elliptical trainer or
I can send it to my Kindle and read it that way. So these are all weigh– And since I started
using Instapaper, I read so many
more news articles because I read them when I
want to not when I see them. But I save them and
read them later, and I read them without the ads
and in a much more easy to read format. So this is really handy. Or you can also use
digital radio and podcast because one of the
things is that all of us end up spending a lot of
time standing in line. So while we’re standing
in line, why not quickly catch up on our read
it later apps or quickly listen to a podcast. And for a lot of
these things, you don’t even have to have an
internet connection or a lot of juice in your phone. My Instapaper updates every
time I’m on a Wi-Fi network. And so even if I
don’t have Wi-Fi, I can open it up and see
the most recent thing that I saved and actually just
go ahead and start reading it. So I have significantly
expanded the variety of articles that I’ve read and
actually reading them, which are two very
different things, by using this, by looking for a way
to actually incorporate this in a way that’s easy. I really believe in easy. I don’t believe in complexity. So the way most of us get
news is through aggregators. We get it through– it’s not
going to sites like PR directly or Global Voices, but we get
it through links on Flipboard or Google Play or
Facebook or Twitter. And that kind of brings us
into the notion of fake news because those aggregator sources
are more likely to actually show us fake news
sites– either links that people share or the kind of
things that in Facebook show up on the news feed to the side. So let’s talk about
that a little bit. When we talk about
fake news, we’re not talking about The Onion. Three years ago, if you
asked me about fake news, I would have said, oh,
you mean The Onion. But I’m not talking about these
sorts of charming humor sites that actually say a
lot about modern times in the context of humor. I’m talking about something
that is a little bit more not as sweet as The Onion. So I like this
typology of fake news that’s about done by Claire
Wardle writing in the Columbia Journalism Review. And she talks about
authentic material used in the wrong context. And that, for example, might
be a picture or some video of a protest march
in one country that is being claimed
to actually be happening in another country. Or we might have
imposter news sites. I almost fell for that. I found something
really interesting. And it looked like
it was from ABC. And I’m like, oh. But it wasn’t from ABC. It was from And they had taken some of the
branding elements from ABC. And so you wouldn’t
know that it was fake news if you didn’t really
carefully look at the URL. So it’s really easy to get
[INAUDIBLE] false by that. Fake news sites–
the kind of things that we think about when
we think about fake news. The pope is behind Donald Trump
or some of the other things that we saw last year. Manipulated content–
that might be photographs. A couple of years ago, I
did a Common Reading talk about manipulated photo– it is very easily
fooled by these sites. That’s very true. It’s very easy to be fooled
by manipulated photographs. But there are ways
to get around that. I did a talk on,
how can you tell whether those crazy pictures
in your Facebook feed are real. And there’s actually
tools that help you trace the provenance of images. And those are just some really
cool tools that you can use. Then we also have
parody content, which would be like fake Steve
Jobs or fake Donald Trump. So we’re not going to talk
about this very much because you guys all know that fake news
is not really fake news. Fake news is really
misinformation, disinformation, distortion, and lies. And it’s done
intentionally for a profit. Those Macedonian kids,
they made over $60,000 because people clicked
on the links they made. And they made all this
money in ad revenue. So it’s very attractive. And they make this fake
news to be attractive. It’s carefully written to
appeal to the sorts of things that make us actually
click on links. It’s made to be delicious. It’s made for you to want to
read it and want to share. It’s very intentional. And it’s not just in
the United States. Fake news is
happening in Germany. It’s happening in
India, where they’re using not Facebook
but the more commonly used WhatsApp as a way. So basically fake
news will adapt itself to fit the technology
that’s made available. And the thing is it’s confusing. And one of my favorite
tools is actually the Pew Center for Internet
Technology and Society. And they do really good surveys. They do high quality surveys. Take a look at them. Just do a Google search
for Pew Internet, and you’ll find their site. In their data, they have
wonderful, good social science data. And their data sets are
available for you to download. So that’s kind of the
opposite of fake news. This is one of their surveys. And you can see
that the majority says fake news
has left Americans confused about basic facts. But at the same
time, they’re also confident in their ability
to recognize fake news. That’s a little bit untrue. There’s a really interesting
psychological theory called the Dunning-Kruger effect. And the Dunning-Kruger effect
says that people actually think they’re better at
things than they really are. Because it’s our
own personal echo chamber about who
we are in a way, our own little filter bubbles. But the fact is
really that most of us have been fooled by
fake news and most of us have shared fake news. Sometimes we don’t
have all the skills. This one is from a
really interesting study done from Stanford
just last November. They say our digital
natives may be able to flip between
Facebook and Twitter while simultaneously uploading
a selfie to Instagram. But when it comes to
evaluating information that flows through
social media channels, they are easily duped. And this was a really easy
study talking about all this. So what do we do? So here we have another
survey from Pew. And they asked
people, who should take the responsibility
for stopping the spread of fake news. And people said, it
should be a government. It should be social networking
and search engine sites. And yet it should also be us. So let’s talk about
this a little bit. The government– we have in the
Czech Republic and in Germany and in Finland– we have governments
that are actually setting up fake news units. And that might be a
little bit problematic. I’m a little bit
disturbed by that because it really can be this
notion of state sponsored spin. You attack fake news
by in a way framing it in a way that
might also be fake. And I love this little graphic
from The Washington Post about how Russia used news
in the Czech Republic. And you can see how it
makes its way all the way through the extremists,
all the way down to the moderate politicians
and general citizenry. Social networking
sites– so Facebook. Actually you probably saw– I think it was
last week when you logged into Facebook– there
are tips to spot fake news. And they are working
with fact checking groups to automatically flag fake
news, the kind of stuff that you see in
the sidebar menu. They’re also changing
their advertising practices to make it less
remunerative for people to actually do fake news, doing
intensive education efforts, and making it easier for you
to report if you see this. Is this the best way? Not necessarily. So there is a professor at WSU
Vancouver called Mike Caulfield. And we’re going to learn a bit
more about it in just a second, too. Let’s see if I can find this. Yes. He actually argues
that it’s actually harmful to news literacy. And his point is that
a lot of this stuff is too difficult to do. And we should
actually really more focus on network activities. And we’ll talk about
that a little bit later. I’ll give you some resources
to explain where he’s coming from in different ways. We also have Google
doing the same thing. And Google actually has this
little fact check thing. You can see, this
is a search I did– Obama, Kenya, birth certificate. And you can see,
I do that search and the first thing that comes
up with something from Snopes. And it’s even going
to tell me Fact Check by is false. And they’re also
trying to, again, change the rules for ad revenue. And in the long term,
people are thinking about technical solutions. One really cool thing
is the Trust Project. And the Trust Project– many journals have recognized
that people have, because of things like echo
chamber and filter bubble and cognitive
bias, some people have lost their
faith in the news. So the Trust Project
is this big project being done to create real
sorts of modes and indicators to actually work to regain the
trust of the American people. We also have a number
of browser applications. I don’t have time to show these. But this is pronounced awesome. This one is from the
University of Indiana. This is the one, if I
were going to use these, I would actually use this one– Hoaxy– more than
some of these others. Because the problem that
some of these others, I’m not really so sure about. There are a lot of these
fake news detectors. And I really worry
about sorts of these– I think that they are
good starting points. But I certainly wouldn’t
use them all the way. But there are good
starting points. This is such a new thing. Even though fake news
has been around forever, this iteration of it, the way
it can spread like wildfire, is new. And it’s going to take while
for these sorts of tools to actually really
make a difference. There’s also really cool
fact checking sites. We’re all familiar with Snopes. But there’s a really cool thing
called the International Fact Checking Network
because it turns out– Let’s ahead and find that. Where is my international
fact checking network? Here we are. –that fact checking is
happening all over the world. And so this is actually
this really cool project that is gathering
the fact checking arms in various countries
and making it sort of an international
effort, which I think it’s a really cool thing. And you can see
this map actually shows you all the different
places that have fact checking. And here’s some of the services
available in Australia, the charmingly named Crikey,
Get Fact and also a reminder that fact news is not
just about fake news. It’s not just about politics. There’s a lot of fake news
about medicine topics. And you can see here, we have
the Medical Observers Metafact as a way to talk about that
sort of different disciplinary aspect to fake news. And then finally there’s us. So one of the things is
that, when it comes to us, one of the things we have
to kind of think about is looking outside
of our Facebook feed, not just the things
that show up on a feed. But if we have a friend who
has a different political persuasion, maybe go
look at his or her site and see what he or she is
sharing, not just the stuff that’s showing up on your feed. Because remember
personalization, filter bubble– all that sort
of stuff is happening. You want to memorize the
Breaking News Consumers Handbook. One of the things it says
is don’t trust stories that site another news outlet as
the source of the information. Or don’t trust a story
where, if you go look it up, you see it repeated over
and over and over again. Because sometimes
what happens is something like a game of
telephone, where stories– that’s a good question. I will answer that. –where stories basically
get distorted all on the way and become more and
more crazy and wild. Or you actually have
networks of fake news people who are actually repeating
what each other is saying so that, if you say, oh, I
want to triangulate and see if there are other sources
that agree with this, you’ll see exactly
the same thing. So when I say triangulate,
I mean focus more on these traditional sources
because you say, well, if somebody is showing
up on Twitter or Facebook and it’s not on The Washington
Post or The New York Times. You might say, first of
all, they’ve got to scoop. And is it really that important
to see it immediately? I would kind of wait and see
what more traditional media outlets are saying. Second of all, it
could be very sketchy. And third of all, it
might just had happened and they just really lucked
into an amazing scoop. So I’d be really
careful and really think about this Breaking
News Consumer Handbook. But you really need to think
about expanding your filter bubble. Some people say, I
have enough friends of different
political persuasions. I’m going to see it all on my
Twitter feed or my Facebook feed. Again, they don’t because
of personalization. This really cool study
that just came out was basically people who
say the news will find me through social media. That’s not true. They don’t see all the news. They see very definitely
filter bubble news. One of the things you
really want to think about is reading the full story. This actually is a link
from Slate Magazine. And they look at data from
an organizational called Chartbeat. So every time you
click on a link, every time you save
something to Instapaper, all that is being logged. And Chartbeat sees that. And Chartbeat can actually
see where people actually turned away from a site. And it turns out that,
if you’re looking at an article on the
web, a lot of people don’t make it past
50% of the article. Now remember we have our who,
what, where, when, and how. All the most
important information is up at the top theoretically. But a lot of times, some of
the most really useful details are at the bottom. So sometimes people just start
reading an article or maybe they just see the headline. How many of us can
say that we have never shared an article just
from the headline? I have. But the thing is,
a lot of times it’s really better to read the
full story because you will see a lot more
nuance if you read it all the way through. So you want to
break out of that, of just reading
the first paragraph or just going to the 50%, and
actually read the whole thing. Now I’m a big fan of annotation. And one of the things
that you can do is, that Instapaper
site that I showed you, you may have noticed– oops, I hope I didn’t– I don’t know what
I just clicked. Let’s go back over
here where we were looking at it very quickly. And you’ll notice
that I actually had a little bit of
highlighting here. I’m going to really regret this. Hopefully, you
remember that there was something that was actually
highlighted on that screen. Because when I’m reading
Instapaper on my phone, on my tablet, or online
I can highlight stuff and I can add in notes. I can annotate it
just like you would annotate a scholarly article. So as I’m reading it, if I see
things that I disagree with, I don’t just say, oh, I
disagree with that and go on and then completely
forget about it. I write myself a note and maybe
I come back and investigate it a little bit more. So I’m reading
articles critically, and I’m taking notes about them. And I can do this
on Instapaper, and I can do this on other
sites, like Medium. You may be familiar
with Rap Genius, which is way of actually kind of
crowdsourcing out lyrics. There’s also a
version of it called News Genius, which lets you
actually annotate the web. You can actually annotate
blogs or the State of the Union address or etc. So that you or
other people who use News Genius tool can
actually see those annotations and
have conversations. And there is a
scholarly equivalent of that called
Hypothesis that is used to annotate scholarly articles. But also it can be used to
annotate anything on the web. And the more you annotate, the
more you talk about things, the more you discuss– Hypothesis, by the
way, actually requires you to use your university
email account and your identity. So it really is probably
the most rigorous of all of these things. The more you do
all of this stuff, the more you
investigate and read, you keep up with the news, you
develop your own knowledge, your own expertise and networks. And you become part of networks. And Mike Caulfield, the guy who
I was talking about a little bit earlier, the guy
at WSU Vancouver, has actually written a new
book that you can really download called Web Literacy
for Student Fact Checkers. And I have not added
it to the web page yet, but I will tomorrow. And then also really partially
committing to being informed means actually
supporting newspapers and news sites with your money
because news is not free. This is your saying
yourself, Lorena, this is a little bit light. And I admit that it is
because I only had 50 minutes, but only half of
it was fake news. But what I really want
you to think about is this notion of
really evaluating information and developing
a little bit of expertise and knowledge. And if you become
an expert, say, on things having to do
with space exploration and your friend becomes an
expert on political campaign finance or something, you
create these sorts of networks. And then in your Facebook
conversations, in your blogs, in your larger
conversations, you have this network of people
who you trust to actually be able to say, I actually
did some research on that, and it’s legit. Or it’s not legit Mike Caufield over
at WSU Vancouver is doing something called
the Digital Polarization Initiative, which is
actually something that students can work on. And this is a way for students
to actually investigate information on the web
using tools like Hypothesis. And you can see they even
have a little chrome extension that you can use to
basically look at issues of digital polarization. And digital polarization
is things like our red feed and our blue feed. So that’s a really
exciting thing. So I’m going close now. And I want to close thinking
about a couple of things. We’re you go back to the things
that I framed my talk around. And you might have
noticed that– I mention them
occasionally, occasionally with the wrong definitions. I talked about filter
bubbles and echo chambers and confirmation bias. But not a lot because
I think that was implicit in what I was saying. So I want you to think about. This, I want you to broaden
your information diet. I want you to break out
of your filter bubble. I want you to blow
up your echo chamber. I want you to bury your
confirmation bias so deep you can never find it again. And I want you to bring
on your critical thinking and your digital and
information literacy skills. The kind of skills that
you use when you’re doing scholarly
research, you can apply those same sorts of
analytical and critical skills to looking at news. And this link right over
here, this first one, the one that says keeping up the news– this is the link that
includes all the resources that I provided from this talk. And like I said, I’ll
be updating it tomorrow. The second one is
actually better. And it’s from Erica Nicel, who
is WSU Pullman’s Communications Librarian. And she has a really
nice library [? guide ?] on fake news. We will take a quick
look at both these. And then we’ll go ahead
and do some questions. So I’m just going
to quickly show you. This is my guide, keeping
up with international news. And this is Erica’s guide,
evaluate news, fake news, and beyond. And she’s going to go more
into evaluation techniques. Olivia noted that the news
was so different in Kenya. She had a hard time figuring
out what’s going on. Yeah, that’s really true. Sometimes that’s hard because
you don’t know the context. Sometimes that’s
good because you have to exercise different
aspects of your brain, and it really makes you realize
that the same thing can be viewed in multiple dimensions. Let’s see. Tony commented that
it’s really easy to be fooled by these sites. And it really is because be
they are made to fool you. They are made to appeal
to you in a way that makes you want to click on that
in a way that’s almost a cue. If the title looks
too good to be true, then maybe you say
to yourself, I really do have to put on my
critical evaluative cap on as I look at this and do
some of the checkmark things that are traditional– who published this, what’s the
URL, when was it published? Let’s look at the language. Where’s the about statement? And then also some of the
more critical thinking evaluative networks thinking. Let’s see what people are
talking about this on. Is there anything
about it on Wikipedia? Is there anything about
it on a fact check site to kind of do those
sorts of strategies? Tony asks if I believe
whether fake news will ever be more monitored and removed
from social media entirely. No. Fake news has been
around forever. I read the most wonderful
account of fake news in Germany in the 19th century, where
some journalist sitting in his apartment in
Berlin just made up all these stories
about events that were happening in Great Britain. He read articles, and he
pulled in enough details to make them seem legit. But he made up his
own interviews. He made up all sorts of stuff. Fake news has always
existed and always will. In fact, it’s going to get
more sophisticated the way it is now, which means
that our skills have to advance to keep up with it. So I’m kind of
cynical about that. But the more we’re aware
of it, the less likely we are to be fooled by it. Kaitlin asks, do I think
fake news is getting worse in the United States? So why do you think it has
more attention right now? I think it has more attention. I think it’s probably a little
bit of both but [INAUDIBLE] more attention. And a lot of that is
really because of there are more opportunities for news
to be shared through things like Twitter or Facebook. If you think about
10 years ago when we didn’t have those
social media outlets, it was fake news was
maybe something on a blog or maybe something on some
sort of online bulletin board. But it didn’t have
the reach that things have now with our resources
like Facebook and Twitter and the ease of
sharing information and the ease of cloning
information and copying it and manipulating it like
manipulating photographs. So it’s here to stay. But so are we.

Comments 1

  • Video Resources:
    Way Back Machine-

    WSU Library Guide for Keeping up with the News-

    WSU Library Guide for Fake News-

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