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Sandy and media literacy
. . . one of the things that’s now becoming clear is the major role that social media played during and after the storm. Sites like Twitter and Facebook were, for some, incredibly useful tools. They were ways to keep up with friends and relatives and neighbors in a stressful time, but they were also vehicles for spreading false information and, sometimes this was done deliberately.
NPR, hosted by Michel Martin, Why Some Spread Misinformation in Disasters
On my way back from Dunkin’ Donuts this morning, this story played in my car. My grad student, Maureen Schlosser, also shared a few resources over our class Forum this morning–we’re discussing credibility.
We can approach this storm, and other major news stories, in terms of the media and information literacy opportunities they present.
In my mind, truth is usually negotiated. Text is seldom neutral. And ever since I studied the work of Civil War photographers Mathew Brady and Alexander Gardner, I’ve understood that photography usually involves the point of view of the person behind the lens.
It now also involves the point of view and motives and ethics of the person behind the image editor.
Social or citizen journalism is both exciting and complicated.
The tweets and images posted, emerging from the official and unofficial coverage of this past hurricane, as well as their levels of acceptance, present opportunities for serious discussion about credibility and ethics.
Here’s a playlist of new and old content for beginning classroom and library conversations:
- Sorting the Real Sandy Photos from the Fakes, Alexis C. Madrigal (The Atlantic)
- 11 Viral Photos Not of Hurricane Sandy (BuzzFeed) and its real/fake quiz (preview this first)
- Is Twitter Wrong? a public service pedantry hub that emerged to distinguish and curate fake images
- Fake Hurricane Sandy Photos Spread On Internet As Storm Barrels Toward Northeast (Huffington Post)
- 7 Fake Hurricane Sandy Photos You’re Sharing on Social Media (Mashable)
- 10 Fake Photos of Hurricane Sandy (The Week)
- Why Some Spread Misinformation In Disasters (NPR)
- Superstorm Sandy Inspires Hoaxes, Halts Business (NPR)
- The Smug Tweeter Posting Hurricane Sandy Misinformation (CNET)
Some advice relating to credibility:
- How journalists can avoid getting fooled by fake Hurricane Sandy Photos (Craig Silverman, Poynter)
- Three Ways to Spot if an Image has Been Manipulated (Craig Silverman, Poynter)
- Is Seeing Believing? Resources for Teaching About the Manipulation of Photographic Images (Frank Baker)
- Challenging Fake Hurricane Photos (Frank Baker)
- Nieman Reports: The Process of Verification
- Does the Camera Ever Lie?
- The Mathew Brady Bunch
- Manipulating Photographs: Can You Trust Photographs? (PBS lesson plan)
- Photo Editing and Ethics lesson (Katrina Hester)
Filed under: images, information ethics, media, media literacy, Uncategorized
About Joyce Valenza
Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza
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