👓 How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians | Project Information Literacy Research Institute

Read How Students Engage with News: Five Takeaways for Educators, Journalists, and Librarians [.pdf] by Alison J. Head, John Wihbey, P. Takis Metaxas, Margy MacMillan, and Dan Cohen (Project Information Literacy Research Institute)
Abstract: The News Study research report presents findings about how a sample of U.S. college students gather information and engage with news in the digital age. Results are included from an online survey of 5,844 respondents and telephone interviews with 37 participants from 11 U.S. colleges and universities selected for their regional, demographic, and red/blue state diversity. A computational analysis was conducted using Twitter data associated with the survey respondents and a Twitter panel of 135,891 college-age people. Six recommendations are included for educators, journalists, and librarians working to make students effective news consumers. To explore the implications of this study’s findings, concise commentaries from leading thinkers in education, libraries, media research, and journalism are included.

A great little paper about how teens and college students are finding, reading, sharing, and generally interacting with news. There’s some nice overlap here on both the topics of journalism and education which I find completely fascinating. In general, however, I think in a few places students are mis-reporting their general uses, so I’m glad a portion of the paper actually looks at data from Twitter in the wild to see what real world use cases actually are.

Perhaps there are some interesting segments and even references relevant to the topics of education and IndieWeb for Greg McVerry‘s recent project?

As I read this, I can’t help but think of some things I’ve seen Michael Caulfield writing about news and social media over the past several months. As I look, I notice that he’s already read and written a bit about a press release for this particular paper. I’ll have to take a look at his take on it tomorrow. I’m particularly interested in any insights he’s got on lateral reading and fake news above and beyond his prior thoughts.

Perhaps I missed it hiding in there reading so late at night, but another potentially good source for this paper’s recommended section would be Caulfield’s book Web Literacy for Student Fact-Checkers.

Highlights, Quotes, Annotations, & Marginalia

The purpose of this study was to better understand the preferences, practices, and motivations of young news consumers, while focusing on what students actually do, rather than what they do not do.  

October 22, 2018 at 08:28PM

YouTube (54%), Instagram (51%) or Snapchat (55%)  

I’m curious to know which sources in particular they’re using on these platforms. Snapchat was growing news sources a year ago, but I’ve heard those sources are declining. What is the general quality of these sources?

For example, getting news from television can range from PBS News Hour and cable news networks (more traditional sources) to comedy shows like Stephen Colbert and The Daily Show with Trevor Noah which have some underlying news in the comedy, but are far from traditional sources.
October 22, 2018 at 08:35PM

Some students (28%) received news from podcasts in the preceding week.  

October 22, 2018 at 08:38PM

news is stressful and has little impact on the day-to-day routines —use it for class assignments, avoid it otherwise.” While a few students like this one practiced news abstinence, such students were rare.  

This sounds a bit like my college experience, though I didn’t avoid it because of stressful news (and there wasn’t social media yet). I generally missed it because I didn’t subscribe directly to publications or watch much television. Most of my news consumption was the local college newspaper.
October 22, 2018 at 08:46PM

But on the Web, stories of all kinds can show up anywhere and information and news are all mixed together. Light features rotate through prominent spots on the “page” with the same weight as breaking news, sports coverage, and investigative pieces, even on mainstream news sites. Advertorial “features” and opinion pieces are not always clearly identified in digitalspaces.  

This difference is one of the things I miss about reading a particular newspaper and experiencing the outlet’s particular curation of their own stories. Perhaps I should spend more time looking at the “front page” of various news sites?
October 22, 2018 at 08:57PM

Some (36%) said they agreed that the threat of “‘fake news’ had made them distrust the credibility of any news.” Almost half (45%) lacked confidence with discerning “real news” from “fake news,” and only 14% said they were “very confident” that they could detect “fake news.”  

These numbers are insane!
October 22, 2018 at 09:04PM

As a matter of recourse, some students in the study “read the news laterally,” meaning they used sources elsewhere on the Internet to compare versions of a story in an attempt to verify its facts, bias, and ultimately, its credibility.25  

This reminds me how much I miss the old daily analysis that Slate use to do for the day’s top news stories in various outlets in their Today’s Papers segment.
October 22, 2018 at 09:15PM

Some respondents, though not all, did evaluate the veracity of news they shared on social media. More (62%) said they checked to see how current an item was, while 59% read the complete story before sharing and 57% checked the URL to see where a story originated (Figure 7). Fewer read comments about a post (55%) or looked to see how many times an item was tweeted or shared (39%).  

I’m not sure I believe these self-reported numbers at all. 59% read the complete story before sharing?! 57% checked the URL? I’ll bet that not that many could probably define what a URL is.
October 22, 2018 at 10:00PM

information diet  

October 22, 2018 at 11:02PM

At the tactical level, there are likely many small things that could be tested with younger audiences to help them better orient themselves to the crowded news landscape. For example, some news organizations are more clearly identifying different types of content such as editorials, features, and backgrounders/news analysis.57More consistent and more obvious use of these typological tags would help all news consumers, not just youth, and could also travel with content as itis posted and shared in social media. News organizations should engage more actively with younger audiences to see what might be helpful.  

October 22, 2018 at 11:37PM

When news began moving into the first digital spaces in the early 1990s, pro-Web journalists touted the possibilities of hypertext links that would give news consumers the context they needed. Within a couple of years, hypertext links slowly began to disappear from many news stories. Today, hypertext links are all but gone from most mainstream news stories.  

October 22, 2018 at 11:38PM

“Solutions journalism’ is another promising trend that answers some of the respondents’ sense of helplessness in the face of the barrage of crisis coverage.62  

October 22, 2018 at 11:40PM

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👓 Free Speech in the Age of Algorithmic Megaphones | Wired

Read Free Speech in the Age of Algorithmic Megaphones (WIRED)
Researchers have long known that local actors—as well as Russia—use manipulative tactics to spread information online. With Facebook suspending a slew of domestic accounts, a difficult reckoning is upon us.

We need something in the digtial world that helps to put the brakes on gossip and falsehoods much the same way real life social networks tend to slow these things down. Online social networks that gamify and monopolize based on clicks using black box algorithms are destroying some of the fabric of our society.

Lies were able to go across the world before the truth had a chance to put on it’s breeches in the past, but it’s ability to do so now is even worse. We need to be able to figure out a way to flip the script.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: Putting ‘Fake News’ on Trial | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: Putting ‘Fake News’ on Trial by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

The families of children killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in 2012 are suing a conspiracy theorist who claims the massacre was a hoax. Their lawsuits are bringing the issue of “fake news” to the courts.

On today’s episode:

• Elizabeth Williamson, a reporter in the Washington bureau of The New York Times.

Background reading:

• The families of eight Sandy Hook victims, as well as an F.B.I. agent who responded to the massacre, are suing the conspiracy theorist Alex Jones for defamation. Relatives of the victims have received death threats from those who embrace the falsehoods Mr. Jones has propagated on his website Infowars, which has an audience of millions.

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🎧 ‘The Daily’: When Facebook Rumors Incite Real Violence | New York Times

Listened to ‘The Daily’: When Facebook Rumors Incite Real Violence by Michael Barbaro from nytimes.com

A series of damning posts on Facebook has stoked longstanding ethnic tensions in Sri Lanka, setting off a wave of violence largely directed at Muslims. How are false rumors on social media fueling real-world attacks?

On today’s episode:

• Max Fisher and Amanda Taub, who have reported on Sri Lanka for The New York Times.

Background reading:

• Fraudulent claims of a Muslim plot to wipe out Sri Lanka’s Buddhist majority, widely circulated on Facebook and WhatsApp, have led to attacks on mosques and Muslim-owned homes and shops in the country.

• Facebook’s algorithm-driven news feed promotes whatever content draws the most engagement — which tend to be the posts that provoke negative, primal emotions like fear and anger. The platform has allowed misinformation to run rampant in countries with weak institutions and a history of deep social distrust.

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👓 A New Facebook Feature Shows Which Pro-Trump Facebook Pages Are Run From Overseas | BuzzFeed

Read A New Facebook Feature Shows Which Pro-Trump Facebook Pages Are Run From Overseas by Jane Lytvynenko, Craig Silverman (BuzzFeed)
The feature is called "Page History" but now it's gone.
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👓 The Google News Initiative: Building a stronger future for news | Google

This article is even more interesting in light of the other Google blog post I read earlier today entitled Introducing Subscribe with Google. Was today’s roll out pre-planned or is Google taking an earlier advantage of Facebook’s poor position this week after the “non-data breach” stories that have been running this past week?

There’s a lot of puffery rhetoric here to make Google look more like an arriving hero, but I’d recommend taking with more than a few grains of salt.

Highlights, Quotes, & Marginalia

It’s becoming increasingly difficult to distinguish what’s true (and not true) online.

we’re committing $300 million toward meeting these goals.

I’m curious what their internal projections are for ROI?


People come to Google looking for information they can trust, and that information often comes from the reporting of journalists and news organizations around the world.

Heavy hit in light of the Facebook data scandal this week on top of accusations about fake news spreading.


That’s why it’s so important to us that we help you drive sustainable revenue and businesses.

Compared to Facebook which just uses your content to drive you out of business like it did for Funny or Die.
Reference: How Facebook is Killing Comedy


we drove 10 billion clicks a month to publishers’ websites for free.

Really free? Or was this served against ads in search?


We worked with the industry to launch the open-source Accelerated Mobile Pages Project to improve the mobile web

There was some collaborative outreach, but AMP is really a Google-driven spec without significant outside input.

See also: http://ampletter.org/


We’re now in the early stages of testing a “Propensity to Subscribe” signal based on machine learning models in DoubleClick to make it easier for publishers to recognize potential subscribers, and to present them the right offer at the right time.

Interestingly the technology here isn’t that different than the Facebook Data that Cambridge Analytica was using, the difference is that they’re not using it to directly impact politics, but to drive sales. Does this mean they’re more “ethical”?


With AMP Stories, which is now in beta, publishers can combine the speed of AMP with the rich, immersive storytelling of the open web.

Is this sentence’s structure explicitly saying that AMP is not “open web”?!

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🔖 [1803.03443] Fake news propagate differently from real news even at early stages of spreading

Bookmarked Fake news propagate differently from real news even at early stages of spreading by Zilong Zhao, Jichang Zhao, Yukie Sano, Orr Levy, Hideki Takayasu, Misako Takayasu, Daqing Li, Shlomo Havlin (arxiv.org)
Social media can be a double-edged sword for modern communications, either a convenient channel exchanging ideas or an unexpected conduit circulating fake news through a large population. Existing studies of fake news focus on efforts on theoretical modelling of propagation or identification methods based on black-box machine learning, neglecting the possibility of identifying fake news using only structural features of propagation of fake news compared to those of real news and in particular the ability to identify fake news at early stages of propagation. Here we track large databases of fake news and real news in both, Twitter in Japan and its counterpart Weibo in China, and accumulate their complete traces of re-posting. It is consistently revealed in both media that fake news spreads distinctively, even at early stages of spreading, in a structure that resembles multiple broadcasters, while real news circulates with a dominant source. A novel predictability feature emerges from this difference in their propagation networks, offering new paths of early detection of fake news in social media. Instead of commonly used features like texts or users for fake news identification, our finding demonstrates collective structural signals that could be useful for filtering out fake news at early stages of their propagation evolution.
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Quote from Mastodon, Twitter and publics 2017-04-24

Quoted Mastodon, Twitter and publics 2017-04-24 by Kevin Marks (kevinmarks.com)
The furore over Fake News is really about the seizures caused by overactivity in these synapses - confabulation and hallucination in the global brain of mutual media. With popularity always following a power law, runaway memetic outbreaks can become endemic, especially when the platform is doing what it can to accelerate them without any sense of their context or meaning.

One might think that Facebook (and others) could easily analyze the things within their network that are getting above average reach and filter out or tamp down the network effects of the most damaging things which in the long run I suspect are going to damage their network overall.

Our synapses have the ability to minimize feedback loops and incoming signals which have deleterious effects–certainly our social networks could (and should) have these features as well.

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How the ‘Alt-Right’ Came to Dominate the Comments on Trump’s Facebook Page | The Atlantic

Read How the 'Alt-Right' Came to Dominate the Comments on Trump's Facebook Page (The Atlantic)
Over the course of the campaign, the comments left on the president’s official Facebook page increasingly employed the rhetoric of white nationalism.

Continue reading “How the ‘Alt-Right’ Came to Dominate the Comments on Trump’s Facebook Page | The Atlantic”

Plagiarism charges against Monica Crowley put her publishing house on stage | PressThink

Read Plagiarism charges against Monica Crowley put her publishing house on stage (PressThink)
These mettle tests are going to come more quickly than we thought, I guess. HarperCollins: you're up!

Continue reading “Plagiarism charges against Monica Crowley put her publishing house on stage | PressThink”

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🎧 This Week in Google 379: Ixnay on the Eet-tway

Listened to This Week in Google 379: Ixnay on the Eet-tway from twit.tv
Does Facebook have a responsibility to weed out fake news stories? Google releases PhotoScan to digitize your old pictures. Google Translate gets some machine learning improvements. Twitter kicks out alt-right users. BLU phones sending user info to China. Snapchat Spectacles will be available in Tulsa next - and Snapchat files a secret IPO. Stacey's Thing: June oven Jeff's Number: Facebook's new measurement strategies Leo's Thing: 2016 MacBook Pro

A great episode as usual. The discussion at the beginning on the fake news issue in the media recently was particularly good.

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Chris Aldrich is reading “Facebook is asking users to judge the truthfulness of news headlines”

Read Facebook is asking users to judge the truthfulness of news headlines (The Verge)
Facebook is apparently asking users to rate the quality of news stories on its service, after facing criticism for allowing fake or misleading news. At least three people on Twitter have posted surveys that ask whether a headline “uses misleading language” or “withholds key details of the story.” The earliest one we’ve seen was posted on December 2nd, and asked about a story from UK comedy site Chortle. Two others reference stories by Rolling Stone and The Philadelphia Inquirer.
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Chris Aldrich is reading “PolitEcho”

Read PolitEcho (politecho.org)
PolitEcho shows you the political biases of your Facebook friends and news feed. The app assigns each of your friends a score based on our prediction of their political leanings then displays a graph of your friend list. Then it calculates the political bias in the content of your news feed and compares it with the bias of your friends list to highlight possible differences between the two.
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