GRCC Library to host Fake News series

GRCC Library to host Fake News series

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- Rachael Yadlowsky

With many Grand Rapids Community College students wondering where they can find credible sources, the GRCC Library organized a series of events to discuss “Fake News.”

Brian Beecher, the Director of the Library along with John Cowles, Dean of Student Success and Retention, created a committee to organize the series.

“It’s our job at the library to help the students find credible sources for their papers and assignments,” Beecher said. “But as time progressed, we discovered more and more students didn’t know where to go to get legitimate sources and there was all this confusion about what fake news is.”

A viewing of the 2005 movie, “War of the Worlds” will be held on Oct. 30 in the Applied Technology Center Auditorium, room 168 from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

The Library has partnered with the Audio Technology Department to set up a large screen in the auditorium for the best authentic movie theater experience.

“There will also be two screens on either side of the viewing screen that will have the (GRCC) Library’s Twitter feed on it,” Beecher said. “The spectators will be able to look at the feed as well as the movie if they’d like. We’ll have a hashtag going so people can comment on the movie and there will also be trivia and fun facts about the movie on the feed that people can read and respond to.”

There will also be a raffle to win prizes from Celebration Cinema. The event is free for all students and there will be refreshments available.

The second event will shed more light as to why “War of the Worlds” was chosen for a fake news series.

Brad Schwartz, author of “Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds and the Art of Fake News”, will be coming to the GRCC library to discuss his book on Nov. 2. This event will be held on the second floor of the library.

For those who do not know, Orson Welles, he was a host on a theater radio show in the 1930’s. In 1938, a performance about an alien invasion was aired. Although most of the listeners knew that it was not true, many tuned into the show after they announced that it was a performance and those late to tune in believed that it was a breaking news announcement.

Many people were fleeing their houses and telling others about the news. The panic didn’t last long once listeners realized that it was a performance, but some considered it fake news.

“Fake news goes back even before the election where it really became a huge issue,” Beecher said. “There are documents of pictures and stories being fabricated and so we (the community) thought that we would bring him in since his book was about the drama and the panic.”

Schwartz will talk about his book and other fake news from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and audience members will have time to ask questions with a book signing to follow. For those interested in getting the novel, they are free at the GRCC Library but are going fast.

“We’re actually almost out,” Beecher said. “A lot of people have been coming to grab them it’s amazing.”

The second two events will be held during the winter semester.

One of the events is a panel discussion of fake news and its effect on journalism and journalists.

Adjunct journalism professor, Collegiate adviser and former MLive columnist, Jennifer Ackerman-Haywood will be joining a reporter from Wood TV8, a reporter from MLive and an editor of The Collegiate on the panel.

“There will be time given for the panel to talk to the audience and discuss issues and then we’ll open it up to audience members,” Beecher said.

The final event in the series will be an audience skype call with author Paul Levinson. Levinson is the author of “Fake News in Real Context.”

Paul Levinson will be talking about the history of fake news and how it impacted the last presidential election, Beecher said.

“It’s very interesting, especially on the fake news during the election,” Beecher said.

The panel discussion and Skype chat with Levinson have yet to be scheduled.

Beecher hopes to record Schwartz’s and Levinson’s lectures and add them to the GRCCtv YouTube channel and allow them to be streamed for students and faculty who are not able to attend.

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