Poynter Media Ethics Workshop to explore fake news

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas laughs during a Q&A session after his keynote speech at the Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop at Kent State last year.

Lauren Garczynski

Fake news, a topic heavily publicized during the 2016 presidential election, will serve as the theme of the 13th annual Poynter KSU Media Ethics Workshop on Thursday, Sept. 21 in Room 340 in Franklin Hall.

From 8:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m., the day-long training program will dig into the idea of what fake news is, and explore significant issues in media ethics.

“A lot of people are tossing around the term ‘fake news,’ but there’s actually quite a difference. There’s real fake news, which is made-up stuff that can be proven to be either true or false, and then there’s the term fake news, that some people use to disparage the media and what we do,” said Jan Leach, an associate professor and the director for Kent’s Media Law Center for Ethics and Access.

Leach has been coordinating the workshop since its 2004 start at Kent State’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and is looking forward to what she calls a literacy session that focuses on how to identify fake news.

“If you go to that, you’d be able to say, ‘Here’s how I can figure out if something is fake, how I can authenticate it, how I can verify it, here’s what happens when there’s a fake photo,’” Leach said.

According to a university press release, the workshop will feature other sessions discussing fake news and media credibility, the impact of fake news on the 2016 election and the consequences of fake news for public relations professionals.

Attendees will hear from keynote speaker David Folkenflik, NPR’s media correspondent, who was recently featured in the Netflix documentary “Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press.”

Leach said she believes it’s important for people to understand fake news and be able to identify it.

“We are a democracy so your citizenship depends on you being informed,” Leach said. “You should care about being truthfully informed.”

The event is $25 for professionals, $20 for educators and free for Kent State students.

For more information and to register for the event, visit the workshop’s website.

Lauren Garczynski is the CCI reporter. Contact her at [email protected]