Dangerous Liaisons - UW Libraries

May 25, 2017

Fine, Let’s Talk about Fake News

Nia Lam

Recently, I’ve been getting more requests from instructors to incorporate more discussion of fake news into my information literacy instruction. At first, I felt somewhat unsure about how to respond to these requests. Were instructors looking for shortcuts or tips…like “how to tell if something is fake news in 3 easy steps?” How would this differ from discussing source evaluation or information creation processes?

So I did what I often do when I’m stuck…I asked other librarians. We had a productive discussion here at the Bothell Campus Library, ranging from practical teaching activities to a broader philosophical argument about “what is fact?” I also reached out to librarians Jessica Albano (UW Seattle) and Marisa Petrich (UW Tacoma). They both had wonderful recommendations for suggested readings as well as their own examples that could be used in teaching.

As a result, I started compiling a list of Fake News/Media Literacy Teaching Resources. I would like to ask other librarians and instructors to contribute resources to the document. Feel free to add to the document; anyone can edit. (I was inspired to create this document after hearing about the Social Justice Teaching Resources list created by other UW librarians.)

Talking with other librarians and compiling resources has been extremely helpful! I know many librarians are using the interest in fake news as a hook to digging deeper into information and media literacy. I also have decided to just be honest; I tell students that information is complicated and I don’t have easy answers. My best recommendation is to take the time to think critically about what they read and ask questions about how information was created.