The death of Lisa Marie Presley, AI problems, and more news literacy lessons


Here’s the latest edition of a regular feature I’ve been running for several years: Lessons from the Nonprofit News Literacy Project (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), which aims to teach students and the public how to sort fact from fiction in our digital age—and controversial ones. There has never been a time in modern US history when this skill has been as important as it is now due to the spread of rumors and conspiracy theories on social media sites and partisanship.

The material in this post comes from Sift, the organization the news For Teachers, which has approximately 22,000 subscribers. Published weekly during the school year, it explores timely examples of misinformation, addresses media and press freedom topics, explores social media trends and issues, and includes discussion prompts and activities for the classroom. Get smart information about the news, similar to Sift, is a free weekly the news to the public.

NLP has an e-learning platform, check upThis helps educators teach middle and high school students how to identify reliable information, look for reliable sources, and know what to trust, what to exclude, and what to debunk.

It also gives them an appreciation for the importance of the First Amendment and a free press. Checkology and all NLP resources and programs are free. Since 2016, more than 42,000 teachers and 375,000 students in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and more than 120 other countries have signed up to use the platform.

Material from the Jan. 23 issue of Screening:

Dig deeper: do not miss A resource ready for classes this week.

A graph from the Edelman Trust Barometer report shows political polarization in the 28 countries surveyed. The United States, Colombia, Argentina, South Africa, Spain and Sweden are the top six countries that are most polarized.

1. The United States is one of six “highly polarized” countries. included in 2023 Edelman Trust Barometer, among the 28 countries surveyed. The driving factors behind this polarization the report, They include mistrust of the media and government, lack of a shared identity, systemic injustice and economic pessimism. Notably, only 34 percent of people with A Polarized mentality Trust in the media.

Debate: How can disinformation lead to political polarization? What role do you think Internet “echo chambers” play in political polarization? How does the inclusion of multiple points of view make the national dialogue stronger/better?

idea: Use NLP From Newsroom to Classroom A program to connect students with a journalist in person or online to discuss standards for news reporting and trust in the media.

resources: “misinformation” And “Is it legitimate?” (NLP’s Checkology® Virtual Classroom).

2. Several bugs have recently been found in Stories Created by Artificial intelligence (AI) on CNET, a popular consumer tech news website. Other news outlets have criticized CNET for its lack of transparency about the practice; The site used “CNET Money Staff” as a byline for AI-generated stories and failed to make a public announcement about them.

Following this criticism, CNET Editor-in-Chief wrote a post Explaining that the news site began experimenting with AI in November, noting that 75 AI-written, human-edited CNET articles have been published since then. It is now reported by CNET Temporarily disable the use of artificial intelligence. Meanwhile, A.J Future report It found that CNET’s articles on artificial intelligence included plagiarized work—a dangerous claim that could discredit CNET readers.

Debate: If you were a news editor, would you consider using artificial intelligence to create stories? Why and why not? What might lead some media outlets to consider “machine journalism?” Is it ethical to publish stories written by AI without explicitly revealing them to readers? Why do you think some news organizations turn to artificial intelligence as a source? How is artificial intelligence currently in your life?

idea: Ask the students to share their favorite news sites. As a class or in small groups, visit news websites and share notes on the bylines of each story. How are they represented? Do reporters get credit and clearly identify each story? Is there contact information for them? Are some stories attributed to employees or other entities that are less transparent? Is anything attributed to Amnesty International? Why is it important for standards-based news outlets to be transparent about who (or what) writes or generates their stories?

NB: Reputable news organizations have used AI technology for stories. For example, Associated Press AI began to be used in 2014 for various projects, including automated stories on corporate earnings and sports.

“A news site used AI to write articles. It was a journalistic disaster.” (Paul Farhi, The Washington Post).

“Inside CNET’s AI-Powered SEO Machine” (Mia Sato and James Vincent, The Verge).

Opinion: “Local news will depend on AI” (Bill Groeskin, Nieman Lab).

you deeper: Uses This thinking paper To take notes on the implications of creating AI stories on CNET.

3. Anti-vaccination conspiracy theories about ‘sudden deaths’ Like singer-songwriter Lisa Marie Presley and radio DJ Tim Gough keep it up It spread on Twitter, which no longer enforces its covid-19 misinformation policy and has recently restored previously banned accounts. After famed sports journalist Grant Wahl died of an aortic aneurysm in December, his widow V NPR interview She continues to receive harassing messages from conspiracy theorists, some of whom blame her for killing her husband through vaccination. “Grant didn’t deserve it. My family didn’t deserve it,” she said.

Debate: Why do you think misinformation about coronavirus vaccines continues to circulate online? How does misinformation and misinformation online affect people offline? How should social media companies deal with false claims about vaccines?

With the start of the World Economic Forum, conspiracy theorists have escalated their claims

yes: At the World Economic Forum conference, world leaders usually discuss major global problems and think about how to address them.

number: the WEF did not ban vaccinated pilots From transporting industry leaders to the conference.

number: the The World Economic Forum has not created a “15-minute city” zone around the world That would prevent people from traveling outside this area.

number: the The World Economic Forum has not published a statement Declaring that pedophilia will save the world.

number: WEF Founder and CEO Klaus Schwab He did not detail a plan to launch a global cyberattack to shut down vital services.

NewsLit takeaway: Every year, world leaders gather in Davos, Switzerland, for the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum — and every year, conspiracy theorists meet online to take their statements out of context, misinterpret their videos and conjure rumors from the whole cloth.

Many conspiratorial claims portray the NGO as an extremely powerful entity like the Illuminati or the New World Order, wielding power in secret and supposedly enacting global policies to suit its own agenda. But this is not the case. The World Economic Forum cannot make statements that the rest of the world must follow. Furthermore, the forum often includes planning exercises that allow leaders to theorize and practice strategies they might implement in the event of a disaster. This makes it especially easy for conspiracy theorists and other bad actors to take these coaching sessions out of context and misrepresent them online.

No, Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D) didn’t say “IQ is a measure of albedo.”

number: presley (d) He did not post a tweet which says, “IQ is a measure of albedo.”

yes: This is a fabricated tweet that never appeared on Pressley’s Twitter timeline.

NewsLit takeaway: Fake Tweets often go viral when they reinforce the preconceived beliefs and convictions of a large number of people. In January, commentary about the supposed teaching of critical race theory found its way back into the news cycle when the Florida Department of Education not allowed A new Advanced Placement course in African American Studies is being offered at state high schools. This may have helped this old fake Presley tweet – originally posted to the online message board 4chan in June 2021 – go viral again.

confirmation bias It can narrow horizons and even reinforce extremist political beliefs based on exaggerated caricatures of perceived political opponents. Avoid anger-baiting by recognizing these biases and taking an interest in basing political opinions on verified information.

You can find examples of this week’s rumors to use with students at These slides.

• Maine newspaper I faced a backlash after playing a heavily edited version of Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech on its editorial page. The editorial board published a file apology He pledged to be a “voice for equality, freedom and justice”.

• After mass murder after the Lunar New Year celebration in Monterey Park, California Association of Asian American Journalists It issued guidelines for journalists covering violence – including focusing on “community experiences and stories of victims and survivors.”

• at least 40 journalists They were targeted with threats and physical violence during or after the Jan. 8 riots in the Brazilian capital, according to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

• Twitter failed to enforce its own policies against it climate disinformation. Tweets containing language that denies climate change saw a 300% increase last year, according to an Advance Democracy report.

TikTok is prohibited At some universities students and advocates criticize Internet freedom as censorship. Others note that blocking is ineffective, as students can still access the app using cellular data on their personal device.

Tik Tok It will now label publications from state-controlled media in 40 countries, including the United States. The label was initially piloted last year after the start of the Russia-Ukraine war.

• ICYMI: In case you missed it, the most clicked link in a file The latest issue of Sift I was This story About a psychic on TikTok who falsely accused a professor of killing four Idaho students.

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