Today, media surrounds us everywhere we turn. From the local news, or watching a show on Netflix, to checking your Facebook Feed or making a new TikTok video. Or listening to Spotify while your working out or maybe catching with up with the news from NPR on KRPS. A lot has changed in just the past 10-years where regular everyday citizens can now become apart of the media, broadcast and share their voice to millions of listeners, viewers or followers around the world. With the rise and the availability of media to anybody there has also been an increase in the amount of fake news that is spread to both confuse and amuse.
Learning Outreach Librarian at Pittsburg State’s Axe Library Jorge Leon has been working for a number of years to both create and provide tools to spot fake news and how to understand it. He stresses that there are different types of fake news and various ways that news can be fake. Whether it be a quote that was mis-attributed, a photograph that is real but aspect about it have been altered or a video that was edited with high detail to make it look like the speaker was acting in a way that there were not.
While the use of the term ‘fake news’ has been popularized over the last few years by President Trump the phrase actually dates back to the late 1600’s. There was another instance when the phrase ‘fake news’ was used in 1836 when two competing newspapers reported two different set of facts about a murder. Leon, a scholar for a number of years on the topic of fake news even before the term reemerged into today’s society.
One of Leon’s duties an the Learning Outreach Librarian is to work with students and assist them in accessing what’s fake and what isn’t. In working with PSU students he’s found that many of them feel that because they grew up in the social media world that they feel the world of media is native to them. And in doing so they perhaps have let their guard down when it comes to weeding the good from the bad. Because of this Leon has developed a ‘How To Spot Fake News” card game that he uses an ice breaker when working with students at Pittsburg State.