People Who Trust News Sources More Likely to Identify Fake News

Argument analysis flowchart
Figure 1 from Cook, Ellerton, and Kinkead 2018. CC BY 3.0

A recent survey to find out who is susceptible to “fake news” found that people who hate the media were more likely to misidentify misleading information. The research studied a few thousand individuals in the USA about their thoughts on news sources and their education. In an ironic twist those that believe in fake news couldn’t identify what was fake. The findings of the research found that higher education and older age both were factors in being able to find the fake headlines.

That divide — a positive or negative reaction to “news” — mapped onto a number of other elements the researchers surveyed.

For instance, people were given three at least somewhat plausible headlines and ledes that might appear in their local newspaper. Two were real; one was fake. Those with positive attitudes fared better in figuring out which was which. In Kansas City, 82 percent of the half-glass-full types figured out which was fake, versus only 69 percent of the half-glass-empties. (The fake headline? “New study: Nearly half the nation’s scientists now reject evolution.”)

Read more.

VLC Demonstrates the Awesomeness of the FOSS Movement

VLC plays anything you can throw at it as it’s an amazing piece of software. The application is focussed on doing one thing really well: playing media. It’s so good because of the philosophy behind it, known as Free and open-source software (FOSS). Meaning that anybody anywhere can contribute to the source code and make VLC better, and everybody can download it for free. It’s hippy meets technology – essentially VLC is the most cyberpunk and useful application you can have on your computer.

Jean-Baptiste Kempf is one of the core developers of VLC and in the interview above you can see how and why he supports the FOSS movement through VLC.

Louder is a New Website Designed to Increase Your Media Impact

Louder is a new site that aims to bring important news that is usually ignored to the forefront. The site does this in two ways which revolves around Twitter: organic stories can get attention or organizations can sponsor some of the content they want to spread. This could get more attention for fringe candidates in elections to local issues that deserve larger attention.

After an intensive, four-month accelerator program, Matter – the world’s only startup accelerator focused on independent media – recently launched its 3rd class of portfolio companies. Readers interested in new technology that organically pushes worthy, underreported stories up into the mainstream spotlight, will want to know about louder, a news amplification platform that mixes crowdsourcing and content marketing to help people shape what gets promoted in our culture.

Check out Louder.

BBC Drastically Improves Science Coverage and Debate

The BBC is finally doing something that all media organizations should do – don’t let crazy people derail important debates. For this entire millennium mass media organizations have invited reality-denying people to debates on issues like climate change. This causes the issue to not actually be talked about.

No more will climate change deniers and other wackos be welcome on the BBC. Hopefully other media organizations will follow suit.

To illustrate the ridiculousness of having one fringe “expert” come in to undermine a scientific consensus, the report points to the network’s coverage of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which in September released a report concluding, with 95 percent certainty, that man-made climate change is happening. As was their due diligence, BBC reporters called a dozen prominent U.K. scientists, trying to drum up an opposing viewpoint. When that didn’t happen — probably because 97 percent of scientists agree that man-made climate change is happening — they turned instead to retired Australian geologist Bob Carter, who has ties to the industry-affiliated Heartland Institute.

To be clear, having one guy dismiss the consensus of hundreds of the world’s top climate scientists as “hocus-pocus science” wasn’t the “balanced” thing to do, and the only reason why people like Carter continue to be taken seriously is because news networks continue to suggest they should be.

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Worldviews Conference Looks at Media and Education

Universities and colleges do a lot of research and sometimes their findings can make a large difference on the world around us. Unfortunately, it can be hard to get the media to represent what the research actually means and how the media can best work with academics to ensure that the coverage is accurate. At the same time, individuals who perform the research need help explaining quite complex ideas in rather simple ways.

The Worldviews Conference is focused on this very topic and their second conference is happening next month in Toronto. If you’re interested in media and academics than you’re going to want to check this conference out!

How do media cover higher education issues – locally and around the globe? How does coverage shape public perceptions? Does the academy look in media’s mirror to see itself? Can the academy help the press translate complex issues into accessible stories?

Let’s talk about it.
Given the crucial role of higher education and its explosive growth in some parts of the world, the stakes are high for the academy and ultimately the societies we serve.
In both higher education and media, much is in flux and many global trends are at play.

Let’s assemble thinkers – academics, editors, students, journalists, communications professionals and others – to chart where we are and forge new paths in a fast-changing landscape.

Find out more at the conference’s website.

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