Breaking news, Gulls! - This headline is not true. And the picture? Photoshopped.
This week the student leaders of the News and Information Literacy Across the Curriculum initiative (or NILAC) have been spreading misinformation and manipulated images just like this all across campus. Our mission? To prove just how easy it is to spread false information.
Student leader Seth Rawls proposed the idea, saying, “To celebrate hopefully warmer weather, we wanted to invite students to partake in a fun scavenger hunt around campus focused on learning more about misinformation, deep fakes, and image manipulation. I hope everyone has a fun time but also learns the real world effects that these topics have on our news media.”
Since the end of March, the NILAC student leaders have worked hard to produce social media, posters, and photos that would catch the attention of Endicott’s students and faculty. We brainstormed topics that would hopefully resonate with fellow Gulls without causing too much trouble.
Kylie Breen, another student leader, took charge of image manipulation through photoshop. She created an image of a Kiwibot having fallen into one of the campus ponds, Gary the comfort dog with dyed fur, and of course, an ice cream shop located inside the shack on Mingo Beach. Of this, she said, “Misinformation is very apparent among college students, especially because of our avid use of social media where much of this misinformation originates and is spread–even by friends…Our goal with this process is to raise awareness of how misinformation and disinformation are spread and ultimately have Endicott students learn some useful tips on how to spot fake news.”
While the misinformation the news literacy leaders spread this week may seem silly, it showcases the real-life consequences of not verifying the sources of your news. False information is all around us and can take any form, from a headline, to a social media post, to a photo, and more. As we rely more and more on social media, it becomes more difficult to be able to tell fact from fiction.
Along with our week of misinformation, NILAC also wants to provide tips and resources for debunking misinformation. First and foremost is our News and Information Literacy Resource Center on the Halle Library’s LibGuides. By accessing this hub, Endicott students and faculty can find information on relevant topics such as bias, propaganda, and promotional content. Most significantly, the tab labeled “verifying information” offers users a wide variety of resources and information about misinformation and how to identify it. Some of these include FactCheck.org, Politifact, and Snopes.
For more bite-sized information, the NILAC Instagram and Twitter accounts are also great places to learn more about topics related to false information. The student leaders post weekly about issues concerning news literacy and current events as well. You can follow us on Instagram (@ecnewslit) and Twitter (@ecnewslit1).