“Alternative facts” and “fake news” were on the minds of journalists and journalism scholars at the conference Reporting in the Age of Alternative Facts, presented by the Journalism Department at the College of Media, Communication and Information (CMCI), Saturday, April 15, 2017 at the University of Colorado Boulder. Featuring journalists from organizations like ProPublica, The New York Times, The Denver Post and the Rocky Mountain PBS, as well as professors from CMCI, the conference covered a range of issues including accessing government information, transparency and media literacy.
As information professionals, librarians are deeply engaged in similar questions. For decades, librarians have worked to understand information literacies and develop learning opportunities that cultivate critical habits of mind. Like our colleagues in the CMCI, librarians at CU believe that viewing information skeptically and developing strategies to understand it are core civic literacies.
Librarians can also connect people to government information. CU Boulder’s Norlin Library is home to the Regional Federal Depository Library for the State of Colorado. A Federal Depository Library receives and makes freely available all materials published by the Government Publishing Office. Government information librarians and staff at CU Boulder help students, faculty and the public negotiate the range and depth of government produced information.
The Reporting in the Age of Alternative Facts conference allowed the Libraries to show its commitment to assisting people find, evaluate and use information. A table at the conference included materials on CU Boulder’s Federal Depository, how to fact-check and spot fake news. Resources included:
Breaking News Consumer’s Handbook: Fake News Edition: Eleven tips and questions to think about when reviewing an article
A Journalist’s Guide to Working with Social Sources: A book on how to work with people and information from social media
Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning: Stanford University’s study on middle school, high school and college students ability to evaluate the news
Ten Questions for Fake News Detection: Questions to ask to determine if an article is accurate
Accuracy Checklist for Reporters: A list of tips for journalists to consider when writing accurate articles, as well as tips for consumers to keep in mind when evaluating articles
The Libraries would like to thank CMCI Assistant Professor Mei-Ling McNamara for inviting us to participate at the conference, and all the guests who stopped by our table.
For more resources on fake news, check out the the resource guides CU Librarians put together: