Let’s Get Real: Southeastern’s Library Hosts Fake News Panel

Information Literacy instructor Stephen Sanders and Communication professor Joseph Mirando on Fake News panel. Photo credit: Jordan Reid

Southeastern’s library hosted a “Fake News” panel in the student union theater on Tuesday during which communication professors and librarians gave students their professional opinion on false news.

Communication professors, Joe Burns, Joseph Mirando and Claire Procopio represented the fake news panel. They were joined by Stephen Sanders, an information literacy instructor, and Dayne Sherman as moderator.

Procopio pulled students from the audience with different news outlets and told them to put the outlets in order of least to most credible before any discussion from the panel began. This activity presented multiple false news channels and showed students that it is hard to differentiate real news websites from fake based off of its name.

Audience members holding poster strips of news sites and ranking them based on credibility. Photo credit: Jordan Reid

Audience members were also encouraged to come up during discussion to ask any questions pertaining to the fake news topic. Burns mentioned that with the increase in use of technology, society tends to lack a sense of time and there is an urgency to receive information. He also mentioned that although fake news is not credible due to the lack of facts, the information and photoshopped images still exist.

“I think that fake news still exists because people want to hear things that they agree with. Even if an article has 100 percent facts, if it’s against what they believe, then they will read something with less facts and that is more entertaining,” said Tara Barbe, a senior communication major studying journalism.

Communication professors Joe Burns and Claire Procopio on Fake News panel. Photo credit: Jordan Reid

Mirando noted that people now filter news based off of entertainment rather than the importance of knowing information. The business model is to now entertain its viewers and that news outlets are being outsourced.

“I think that fake news, as Dr. Burns has said, will morph into something else like Kellyanne Conway’s ‘alternative facts.’ People have ways of interpreting things and not seeing eye to eye, but we are the truth-tellers so people can get direct facts,” said Mirando.

Procopio discussed the filtering of news on social media and used the election as an example of how credible news sources are becoming unreliable to others because it doesn’t share the same perspective as the readers.

Communication seniors Connor Raborn (left) and Mason Dauphin (right) with poster strips of news outlets. Photo credit: Jordan Reid

Each member gave references to multiple sources that checked the information posted on news articles. Some examples were Snopes, FactCheck, AllSides and Politifacts.

“I really liked how they gave us resources during the discussion. It was very useful information for checking if information is real or fake,” said Barbe.

The panel was hosted by Southeastern’s Library Department and Phi Kappa Phi.

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