Sunday, April 23, 2017

Real, fake and satirical news

This week's project took much time and effort, but I was pleased with the way it turned out in the end.
I've been focusing most of my attention on real, fake and satirical news this semester. Since I am in the business professionally, it's really hit me hard how the term "fake news" is generally applied to media outlets by folks who may not agree/like a story. If it doesn't fit their worldview, it's fake news.
I have also been disturbed by friends on my social media pages who share fake news stories on my feed. They fail to read beyond the headline, without checking facts, dates, etc. A few weeks ago, someone shared the "shocking" news that actor Don Knotts had passed away. That news was slow moving ... considering Knotts died in 2006 -- 11 years ago.
If my adult friends are sharing old/fake/satirical news, what about our young people who are inundated with this stuff? After all, most kids have their nose buried in a smartphone/tablet practically at every hour of the day and night. They're seeing this stuff so much the lines can become blurred as to what is real and what isn't.
So I designed a Jeopardy-style game that focuses on real, fake and satirical news - and how to tell the difference between them. Students play the role of contestant; the instructor is the game show host. Categories are arranged in the style of the TV game show (only one round, at this juncture). They choose a subject with a corresponding point value (10 is easier than a 50-point question), and the students answer with three possibilities: What is real news? What is fake news? and What is satire? Categories are: National news, sports, politics, entertainment, photographs and quotes.
It took practically all week to search, find and credit sources for fake and satirical news; real news came from recent sources within the past two days as I wanted it to be as fresh as possible.
The great thing about this game is it can be changed at any time and replaced with fresher content so that references do not become obscure to future students.
I am really proud of this project as it literally came to be out of thin air. But as with anything, I know I could have made it even better. As I stated earlier, it can be adjusted and updated accordingly.

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