Fake News Panel: Democracy in the Digital Age, March 28
With terms like “fake news” and “alternative facts” populating our everyday conversation and news coverage alike, it is growing increasingly difficult to decipher fact from fiction. One of the most controversial and divisive topics at the forefront of media, fake news is being produced and distributed in novel yet covert ways through digital media. To help combat the trend, The DiMenna-Nyselius Library will host “Fake News! Media Skepticism and Democracy in the Digital Age,” a panel discussion and Q&A on Tuesday, March 28 from 4-5:30 p.m. in the Multimedia Room of the Library.
Co-sponsored by the Center for Faith and Public Life, the Communication Department, the Digital Journalism major (part of the English Department) and the Politics Department, the event will discuss the current challenge of fake news and its intersection with the topics of media skepticism, engaged citizenship, democracy and media literacy. An issue for media consumers at large, Jackie Kremer, head of Library Academic Partnerships and Assessment at Fairfield, said the problem of fake news extends into academia as well.
“This issue poses significant challenges for those of us in higher education,” Kremer said. “How do we educate our students to be global citizens and agents of change if our culture no longer views the ability to distinguish between fact and opinion as a worthwhile pursuit and even questions the existence of objective fact?”
Helping students, faculty and staff understand the issue as media consumers and academics are four panelists who will be part of the discussion, each of whom understands the link between politics and information:
- The senior political reporter for WSHU Public Radio, Ebong Udoma has spent his career covering presidential visits and high-profile political races. He regularly contributes spot news to NPR and has worked at the NPR National News Desk as part of NPR's diversity initiative.
- Part of Fairfield University’s Politics department since 2016, Dr. Gayle Alberda is an assistant professor of Politics and Public Administration. Dr. Alberda teaches undergraduate American political science courses and graduate courses in Public Administration.
- Matthew Tullis is an assistant professor of English and digital journalism at Fairfield University. He is the host and producer of Gangrey: The Podcast, which focuses on narrative journalism and the reporters who write it.
- Assistant Professor of Communication and Media at Merrimack College, Dr. Melissa Zimdars researches television programming, communication policies and global media industries. She is currently working on a co-edited anthology entitled Fake News, which brings together scholars who study media literacy, big data and technology, cultural studies, political science and psychology in order to examine the history and contemporary realities of fake, misleading, propagandistic and conspiratorial news.
The conversation will be moderated by Dr. David Gudelunas, professor of Communication and director of the School of Communication, Arts and Media. Dr. Gudelunas will be introduced by Jesse Erickson ’17, Editor-in-Chief Emeritus of Fairfield’s independent student newspaper The Mirror.
To register for the event, visit the DiMenna-Nyselius Library website.
Submitted by Nicole Funaro ’17
Image by Free Press Pics