A two-day conference later this month is part of a Media Literacy Initiative the College of Communication is spearheading. Courtesy of College of Communication
A two-day conference later this month is part of a Media Literacy Initiative the College of Communication is spearheading. Courtesy of College of Communication

More than one media outlet in China fell for a recent New Yorker satire that depicted President Trump, in his bathrobe, ordering aides to wrap White House phones in pry-proof tinfoil. Michelle Amazeen can testify that discerning fact from fiction isn’t just a foreign problem—as a College of Communication assistant professor, she says, she has a front-row seat in the theater of news illiteracy.

Amazeen, who teaches mass communication, advertising, and public relations, says she has seen students turn in papers citing sober-sounding sources—educational or official groups, seemingly—“but that are in reality industry or front groups with an agenda.” She says media literacy must go beyond being able to distinguish fake news from legitimate news to include an awareness of propaganda efforts.

Starting this afternoon, COM is spearheading a Media Literacy Initiative consisting of public events to boost the BU community’s ability to tell the differences between legitimate news, opinion, and plain old lying.


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